Salamander Crossing Brigades
Join a Salamander Crossing Brigade
Each year, spotted salamanders and other amphibians will once again head to the pools they have used for hundreds, or perhaps thousands of years. Superimposed upon this ancient world, however, is a new world of houses, shopping centers, and cars. In areas where salamanders, frogs, and toads are forced to cross wide, busy roads, populations of these animals are likely to disappear. What about amphibian populations that must cross even moderately traveled rural roads? Studies suggest they are also in jeopardy. As traffic has markedly increased on area roadways in recent years, and as new commercial and residential development continues to replace open and wooded lands along the county’s roadways, grassroots interest in and concern for the plight of spotted salamanders and other amphibians has grown sharply. In response, many volunteers have grabbed their flashlights and rain gear and have taken to the streets to help amphibians reach their breeding pools.
You can help, too, by becoming a Crossing Guard volunteer. Most of the known sites have a volunteer Site Coordinator (it could be you!). BEEC will notify Site Coordinators and other volunteers when conditions seem to be right for the migration. The Coordinators will then make sure there will be Crossing Guard volunteers to cover the site.
You will probably be encouraged to go out on multiple nights to be sure migrations aren’t missed.
To join a Salamander Crossing Brigade, call BEEC at 257-5785 or email Patti Smith
Become a Salamander Crossing Guard Volunteer
You can help, too, by becoming a Crossing Guard volunteer. Most of the known
sites have a volunteer Site Coordinator (it could be you!). If you’re
interested in participating, we’ll help you figure out which site to
Click for more information...
The Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) has mobilized teams of local volunteers to help facilitate the safe passage of amphibians across busy roadways during the springtime amphibian migration season—what we call “Big Night.” Spurred by keen interest in the plight of the charismatic spotted salamander, hundreds of volunteers have safely helped thousands of salamanders and frogs reach their breeding pools at sites throughout Windham County.
In the fall of 2002, BEEC received a grant from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program to support the expansion and enhancement of this initiative, including the preparation of a volunteer handbook, purchase of safety equipment, development and application of new scientific data collection methods, recruitment and training of citizen volunteers, implementation of a school-based Vernal Pool Program, and the facilitation of “Big Night” events in the spring of 2003 and 2004.
Over time, data generated by this project will be used to identify long-term trends in amphibian populations, optimal conditions that may trigger mass springtime migrations of amphibians to breeding pools, and amphibian mortality by vehicles. This information will be made available to local, regional, and state land use planning and wildlife conservation organizations and agencies throughout Vermont.
The volunteer handbook was also developed to assist other grassroots groups in launching similar amphibian conservation and monitoring programs. The staff, board and volunteers of the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center are pleased to be able to share the knowledge and experience we have gained in our work over the years, and are grateful to the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife for giving us the opportunity to do so.
To learn more about BEEC’s Salamander Crossing Brigades Project, or to receive a copy of the Volunteer Handbook, email Patti Smith
|Download Salameandering, a newsletter devoted
to salamanders (pdf).
Crossing Site Maps
*Sites with official crossing brigades.
Link to the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas:
Link to the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program: