The amphibian monitoring project run by the Nicola Naturalist Society and our professional partners Biolinx Environmental Research is in its fifth and final year in 2015. Our volunteers are continuing to visit some new sites to check for frog and salamander breeding and also monitor some of the major breeding sites discovered in the earlier years. We are also building on our experience to help others develop similar projects and help spread the word on amphibian conservation.
Training with BC Parks and others
On May 8th 2015 our amphibian project coordinator Andrea Lawrence showed 10 BC Parks rangers our Western Toad monitoring and mitigation project at Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park, as part of their spring field training. The Nicola Naturalist Society worked closely with BC Parks to develop and monitor a culvert and tunnel system to allow Western Toad metamorphs (toadlets) to safely cross the busy campsite road. This system seems to be working well and responsibility for maintaining the system is now with BC Parks, hence the information outing with Andrea. To see more on this project click here: Kentucky-Alleyne Project
On the same day Andrea also guided three members of the Central Okanagan Land Trust to several breeding ponds in our amphibian monitoring area. They were keen to learn methods for finding, identifying and monitoring amphibians. They want to apply similar methods to their conservation lands in the Okanagan.
Merritt children learn about toadlets and species at risk
On July 28th 2015 Nicola Naturalist members Andrea Lawrence and Alan Burger guided a group of 14 Merritt children around the Kentucky-Alleyne Park toadlet project, and talked to them about frog biology and conservation. The kids were in a week-long “Species at Risk” camp run by the Royal B.C. Museum and the City of Merritt. In our area two amphibian species are considered to be at risk: Western Toads, listed as “Special Concern” and Great Basin Spadefoots listed as “Threatened.
Instead of talking about these animals in a classroom setting, the children were bussed to Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park to have a first-hand experience with Western Toads and to see the conservation program initiated by the Nicola Naturalists there. At the park, Andrea and Alan explained the lives of Western Toads and introduced the kids to the tiny thumb-nail sized toadlets. The kids got to see for themselves the toadlets moving along the guide-fence and passing safely under the road in the culvert.