GrinVič frog project
Not everyone knows it but 20th March is World Frog Day. It is appropriate to mark the occasion around this time of year because, every spring, many amphibians, such as frogs and toads, leave their wintering sites in search for appropriate place to mate.
Saving amphibians is important to maintain local biodiversity as they are responsible for keeping the harmful insect population in check. Vehicles are one of the biggest threats on their journey as the frogs are forced to cross busy roads to reach a suitable lake or a pond. The warm surface of the road makes the frogs sleepy and slow which leads to high fatalities. Luckily, there are ways to minimize losses and as well as installing temporary barriers and building culverts, you can arrange for teams of volunteers to carry the frogs across the road.
Students who are part of our school’s club called “GrinVič”, which is for those with an interest in plant and animal life, made the plan to participate in such a project this year. We gathered in the evening, equipped with buckets, safety vests and a mission - to save as many amphibians as possible. Walking along the roadside, we looked for frogs hiding in the dead leaves and tall grass. We found most of them next to special amphibian fences, which are put into the soil, so the toads can’t dig under them. They are put up mid-February and are removed once toad migration comes to an end in April.
Some of the more experienced volunteers showed us how to distinguish between different amphibian species and how to carry them properly. We learned that females are usually bigger in size, while male frogs and toads make characteristic high-pitched noises.
At first, picking up and holding a live frog was a bit scary but we got used to it quite quickly. At the end of the evening, we released the frogs and toads safely on the other side of the road where they disappeared into the ditches which have been purposely built for that.
While we didn’t find a prince, as the legend goes, we certainly had a great time, and we hope to participate next year as well!