As the earth thaws and spring rains drench New Hampshire, thousands of amphibians make their way to vernal pools to breed. Many are killed when their journeys take them across busy roads. Each spring, the citizen science arm of the Harris Center for Conservation Education (www.aveo.org) trains volunteers to serve on Salamander Crossing Brigades at amphibian road crossings throughout the Monadnock Region of southwestern New Hampshire. These citizen scientists move migrating amphibians across roads by hand during one or more “Big Nights,” keeping count as they go.
Since the program’s inception in 2007, more than 900 volunteers have helped nearly 35,000 amphibians survive the most dangerous journeys of their lives. In addition, the City of Keene purchased land – previously slated for development – to protect a migratory amphibian corridor that was documented by our volunteers. As our efforts grow, the data our citizen scientists collect could be used for land conservation or road improvements that protect amphibians in other places, too.