Conserve Wildlife Blog

Wild for Volunteers Guest Post: Amphibian Crossing

April 24th, 2020

by Annabel Weiman

About the author: Annabel is a sophomore at Indian Hills High School in Oakland, New Jersey. When not helping amphibians cross the road she enjoys photography, the beach and badminton. Thank you for volunteering and sharing your experience Annabel!

Please note: the Amphibian Crossing Project activity described here occurred before restrictions for COVID-19 were in place. At this time CWF is only performing essential wildlife monitoring and conservation duties while practicing social distancing and following all state and CDC guidelines.

In early March, my dad Rick got an email from wildlife biologist Allegra Mitchell of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ (CWF) saying tonight was the night. My dad came home from work excited, got the flashlights and rain coats out, and called my Aunt June and cousin Sarah asking if they wanted to go with us. We had all signed up to be CWF amphibian crossing volunteers. 

Helping a Spotted Salamander cross the road.

We were going to a special location near my Aunt’s house. When we arrived, we walked from the parking lot on a dark road to the location of the project and put on bright orange vests. We were instructed to walk a section of the road marked by orange cones by Allegra and be careful and watch out for cars.  

Our job was to help any amphibians we saw trying to cross the road so they would not get run over by the cars. My dad filled out the data sheet we were given as we counted all the animals we helped.  For the first hour it was pretty slow and wasn’t raining, but by 9:00 it started to rain heavily and that’s when we started seeing them move.  The first amphibian we helped was a Spotted Salamander.  I didn’t think they would be so big!  We also helped cross Wood Frogs, Spring Peepers (very small frogs and really hard to see), Jefferson’s Salamanders, and American Toads on the road as well.  We were there for about two and a half hours.

The amphibian migration in NJ happens mainly in late February and early March, when the temperature is around 40°F, and there is a hard rain at night. If people didn’t volunteer to help them cross there’s a high chance many of the animals wouldn’t have made it safely across as they are really hard for the cars to see. The amphibians come out of hibernation almost all at the same time to cross the road to get to a large vernal pool to mate and the females then lay their eggs.  

Spotted Salamanders can be up to 9.5 inches long!

My dad has been a trustee of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ for over 20 years and often volunteers to help endangered animals and raise money, so he always knows when cool things like these are going to happen. This was a really special experience for me and I felt like I was making a difference to the future of these animals, and it made me feel really good. I’m never going to forget about this and would definitely do it again.

Here is a table of all the amphibians we and the other volunteers helped safely cross the road that night:

Total amphibians saved: 603 Total for our section: 63
Spotted Salamander 179 Spotted Salamander 17
Wood Frog 64 Wood Frog 6
Spring Peeper 292 Spring Peeper 30
American Toad 13 American Toad 1
Jefferson Salamander 53 Jefferson Salamander 9
Red-Spotted Newt 2 Red-Spotted Newt 0

Please note: volunteers for the Amphibian Crossing Project must complete a training session. If you are interested in being a part of next year’s project, please contact

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11 Responses to “Wild for Volunteers Guest Post: Amphibian Crossing”

  1. Jack Weiman says:

    Proud of my little sister! I’ll be there next year if it’s anywhere above 60 degrees and preferably dry lol

  2. Carol Belansky says:

    Thanks for volunteering! It’s so important to save wildlife. Great Article!

  3. Jan Jenner says:

    What an impressive night of helping salamanders, frogs, and toads survive and get to their breeding ponds.

    Such a kind and important way to spend a wet, chilly night!

    Your account made it sound like fun, Annabel! Nicely done!

  4. Nick Jecko says:

    Great work Annabel! A big thank you from our family to you and the rest of the volunteers!

  5. Barbara Brummer says:

    Great job Annabel, those little creatures need people like you to care enough about their safety. I see a budding conservationist in you!

  6. Tony DeFina says:

    Great opportunity to make a difference in nature. CWF is a successful and dedicated organization that makes a difference – donate – it counts!

  7. Judy Brummer-Jecko says:

    Way to go Annabel! What a great way to spend a rainy, chilly evening. Glad that you were able to help these little guys on their path!

  8. Pat Weiman says:

    So proud of Annabel, for getting involved, stepping up, and making a positive difference in the world!

  9. Donna Di Santis Esquivel says:

    Annabel, what a great experience . Much thanks to you and the group who volunteer to make a difference with the environment! Job well done.

  10. Donna Di Santis esquivel says:

    Annabel, what a great experience for you. I know this is just the beginning of your volunteering to help the environment! If your like your Dad you will be dedicated to help all creatures. Job well done.

  11. Karla Risdon-Nugent says:

    I enjoyed reading your article, Annabel! Nicely written and loved the pictures. Volunteering is a wonderful thing to do for a cause that’s near and dear to your heart. I hope you continue to save wildlife and write about your experiences! It’s important to share your story and educate others.

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