01/31/2023 – Carys Egan, Environmental Advisory Council
As Winter winds down and temperatures begin to warm, something special happens in West Vincent Township. The frogs, toads, and salamanders hibernating in shallow burrows begin to emerge. On dark, rainy nights when the temperature is above 40 degrees, amphibians begin a mass migration to their wetland mating grounds.
Typically, this migration happens in late February or March; and they often must cross our township roads and risk being squashed by cars to reach their vernal pools. One location that is particularly active is Hollow Road which parallels the Birch Run.
To offer protection to some of our smallest residents, Hollow Road will occasionally be closed at nightfall for a few hours with the help of the WVT Police Department and community members who would like to witness and support this migration. It can be a tricky event to predict and requires flexibility and special fortitude. Amphibians prefer dark, stormy nights to make their move - conditions most people prefer to avoid. If conditions are too windy or if there's lightning, the patrol will be canceled.
Sometimes we see a surge of amphibian activity. More often, it's a smattering of peepers, wood frogs, leopard frogs, and the occasional salamander. Either way, the spring peeper symphony is one of the most spectacular harbingers of the season and is worthwhile to hear even if few amphibians are seen.
We ALL can help our amphibian friends make it safely to their pools by driving with care along waterways during migration nights. Keep your eye out for hoppers and remember Spring is on its way!
This can be a fun and educational opportunity - especially for families with school age children. Those brave, kind souls who want to participate in an amphibian patrol should email Carys Egan (email@example.com) to receive alerts. Reflective vests are available. Participants are asked to bring their own flashlights and a plastic container to scoop up tiny travelers and help them across the road. Announcements to inform you of the night of crossing will be sent via email and posted on the West Vincent Township website and Facebook page.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." ~ Sir Winston Churchill