It is that time of the year again in Holland …winter has ended and amphibians are anxious to start their annual spring migration. Spring arrived quite soon after a very mild winter. We observed active amphibians throughout fall and winter. However, most of the animals snoozed during winter and are active only since a few weeks. This means that in our little nature area in the middle of an very urban environment the fences and pitfalls needed to be installed to save as much animals as possible from bikes, motor cycles and scooters. This will be our third year and we are very proud to announce that three passionate students have taken the torch from Carlijn, Jeroen and I. The new team consists of Jeff Peereboom, Sophie Ewert and Xandra Sleeuwenhoek! They have taken it on themselves to coordinate the project this season with a little help from us and a lot of help from all the volunteers!

But first things first. As soon as temperatures began to rise and amphibian activity increased we installed the transect with a lot of help from the wonderful crew of the municipality lead by Gilberto Squizzato! After two days of hard but fun labour the transect was done. During the construction work local media interviewed us, newspapers and local TV and Radio stations. A very nice opportunity for the members of both the old and new team to promote the project! As soon as the transect is installed daily surveys are needed (twice a day). After a short training lecture lead by Jeff the volunteers were up to speed and commenced surveying!

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Several things are new this year. We have a public facebook page in order to promote the project for the local community as for other interested parties as well. Messages on this page are both in Dutch and English to reach as many people as possible. Another new feature is the What’s App group created by the coordination team. Volunteers communicate with the team as well as each other in the field and/or at home. A brilliant means of communicating with each other about findings, species identification and so forth. A new website for our project is also currently being created: to be continued soon!

Education is key in our project. Most educational things are directed towards wildlife management students of our University but this year we also reach out to local people and mainly children. Carlijn and Sophie are organizing several educational days for children between six and twelve years old in our home town. These days will revolve on amphibians, their reproduction and the ecosystem they are part of. These days will take place in the field and be focused on catching amphibians and all the critters present in their aquatic habitat. More on these days later this spring! Other educational facets will consist of presentations, symposia, open days at the University and at wildlife management courses at the University.

Last new feature of our project is a small invertebrate diversity project. In our pitfalls not only frogs, toads and newts are being caught also lots op arachnids, insects and other invertebrates. Our volunteer Tristan da Graca is a true lover of everything  with six and more legs. To him to difficult task to assign the correct species name to each and every critter.

We will keep you all updated on our project throughout spring! Please check out our Facebook Page.

By: Tariq Stark