Letter: Thanks to volunteers

Published: 06-06-2024 1:49 PM

Every year, on the first warm, rainy nights of spring, thousands of amphibians migrate to wetlands to breed. Many are killed when they must cross roads. In response, the Harris Center coordinates volunteer salamander crossing brigades, who move migrating amphibians across roads by hand, keeping count as they go.

In the spring of 2024, 300 community scientists volunteered with our  project, providing safe passage for 7,536 amphibians at 35 crossing sites throughout southwest New Hampshire. They also documented a sobering 1,225 road-killed amphibians.

In Peterborough, our efforts were aided by the Conservation Commission, who provided official “Volunteers Ahead” signs for the Summer Street crossing. These signs are bigger, brighter and more visible than the signs the Harris Center is typically able to provide — improving safety for people and salamanders alike.

We’re grateful to the Conservation Commission, to the drivers who slowed down when they saw our signs, and to all our volunteers for braving the rain to make local roads a little safer for wildlife. What they do is more than science. It's heroism, repeated night after night, and we cannot thank them enough.

Brett Amy Thelen

Science director, Harris Center for Conservation Education