Roxborough Reservoir toads: No longer horny?

Earth to Philly's special Toad Migration Correspondent Laurie Conrad checks in:

Some nights there seemed to be more human toad watchers than toads, but it turns out that more than 600 hoppers made their way safely across the treacherous roads in Upper Roxborough during the annual toad migration this year.

From late March through the early weeks of April, lumpy, brown American toads and greenish Pickerel frogs emerge from the wooded hillsides above the Schuylkill River and head toward the old Roxborough Reservoir. No longer in use, the stone-walled reservoir has become a wetlands. Amphibians born there return every year to mate.

About 100 volunteers were on call to blockade roadways around the reservoir and create a safe passage for the critters. "Toads are on the move" was the rallying cry.

The largest migration, about 200 toads, happened on April 6, according to project coordinator Lisa Levinson. She began the toad migration project last year after seeing how traffic on Port Royal, Hagys Mill and Eva streets was devastating amphibian populations during their crucial mating season.

The metallic trill of toad voices now hums inside the reservoir. They'll mate over the next few weeks, then gradually disburse to the woods and back yards where they spend most of the year. About five weeks after that, little toadlets will emerge.

The Toad Detour Committee includes local citizens and officials from various agencies:  Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (SCEE), Mobilization For Animals Pennsylvania, Fairmount Park, Applied Ecological Services, Upper Roxborough Civic Association, Residents of Shawmont Valley Association, Philadelphia Police Department 5th District, Philadelphia Streets Department.

To volunteer, contact Lisa Levinson at 215-620-2130 or lisa@publiceyephilly.org.

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