Association of State Wetland Managers - Protecting the Nation's Wetlands.

The Compleat Wetlander: “Big Night” Becomes “Big Nights”

It’s become almost common place these days for politicians, actors, and individuals to ‘re-invent’ themselves. Last month’s bad boy (or girl) image is replaced by come-from-behind stories of a remarkable make-over.

And it even happens in nature.  No longer are salamanders, frogs and turtles rendered as slimy creatures of dark corners and black water. These under-appreciated members of forests and woodlands have been transformed and reinvented into charismatic micro-fauna.

Nowadays knowledgeable grade school teachers have integrated members of the amphibian community into the classroom.  Children get the opportunity to see these remarkable animals close-up.  And it doesn’t stop there. Now each spring the call goes out recruiting children and adults to help out with big night by assisting the little animals across treacherous road crossings as they scramble for vernal pools to congregate and breed.

But wait!  There’s a slight communication problem here.  While the first warm, rainy night of spring does prompt wood frogs and salamanders to make their way to their newly melted place of birth, they don’t all make it there in one night.  Various individuals’ travel start at different times and travel varying distances to the pools; their arrivals are spread out over many nights.

So this year Big Night has become Big Nights.

What a difference a single ‘s’ can make.

WA: Making sure critters count – April 11, 2009
Volunteers spend day before Easter scouring wetlands for reptile eggs http://www.columbian.com/article/20090412/NEWS02/704129952

OH: Tiger of the vernal pool – April 13, 2009
http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/article/20090413/
NEWS01/904130310/1002

FL:  Cows create homes for tadpole shrimp – April 12, 2009
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/environment/story/996379.html

NH: Search for salamanders continues in NH – April 12, 2009
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090412/NEWS01/304129902/-1/XML15

MA: Short window for vernal pool certification
http://www.wickedlocal.com/harwich/news/x1579117674/
Short-window-for-vernal-pool-certification

Maine Audubon – Big Night walks http://habitat.maineaudubon.org/activities/A-Big-Night-Out/246/ (between April 5 & May 1st, 2009)

Big Night Notes from Lakes Environmental Association in Bridgton, ME: http://www.mainelakes.org/documents/big%20night%202009.pdf

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