On warm, wet spring evenings, bands of head-lamped heroes stand guard on various New Jersey roadways. Their mission? To assist the mating-minded amphibians across the road, as they make their annual migration to vernal breeding pools.
To earn your head lamp and right to a roadside post, participants must join the Mercer County Park Commission and the Sourland Conservancy at the Amphibian Crossing Project Volunteer Training on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Hopewell Train Station.
Amphibians that survive the harsh winters have a myriad of obstacles to overcome during their more active portion of the year, beginning with their migration to breeding pools. Many long-running migratory routes have been bisected by country roads and county highways and the folks driving on these wet and warm spring nights have no idea who they are sharing the road with. Amphibian crossing crews will work to mitigate amphibian mortality while also collecting data for the Amphibian Crossing Project, a partnership between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. In a baseline study, biologists learned that as little as one car every four minutes killed as many as 75 percent of the amphibians that attempted crossing the road.
The Mercer County Park Commission and Sourland Conservancy have joined forces to organize the Amphibian Crossing Project for the Sourland region. Named “Remember the Rain,” the initiative includes this project and outreach to inform area residents of migration activity. During the volunteer training, they will cover all the information needed to turn you into a safe and effective amphibian “crossing guard.”
To sign up or to receive more information, please contact the Sourland Conservancy by calling (609) 309-5155 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hopewell Train Station is located at 2 Railroad Place, Hopewell, NJ 08525.