1 March 2012

Spotted Frogs and Toads in Cambridgeshire?

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Environmental Records Centre (CPERC) are seeking participants for their Recording Wildlife Near You project, and Froglife is, as always, on the lookout for volunteers to help toads across roads.

Have you spotted Common toads, like this beautiful animal?

“There is currently a lack of recorded wildlife data, particularly in East Peterborough and North and East Cambridgeshire, which is why we need your help,” explains Jane Andrews-Gauvain, Biodiversity Outreach Officer at CPERC. “We’re looking for people who want to learn about and record wildlife in their area, particularly protected and non-native species. You don’t need to give up lots of your spare time, we value any opportunity you can take to get out and tell us about what you see.”

CPERC hope to start with recording amphibian species in association with Froglife’s Toads on Roads project. There are currently 15 registered toad crossings in Cambridgeshire but what is actually happening at each site isn’t always clear.

“Amphibians can be very particular about where they breed, especially toads,” adds Sam Taylor, Froglife’s Communications Coordinator. “At these toad crossings hundreds of animals can be killed every year as they try to reach their pond. Some sites are lucky enough to have an active volunteer Patrol helping the toads across, but not all of them do. If there’s no Patrol we have no way of knowing if there are still toads in the area.”

Both organisations need people in the region to act as our eyes and ears, looking for amphibians and sharing what they find going on in their local patch.

Jane continues, “Whether a keen walker, angler, or just a person who enjoys spotting wildlife in your garden, we want to hear from you! The time you take enjoying wildlife can be transformed into conservation action if you let us know what you see. Equally we would love to hear from any landowner who would be happy to allow people to record wildlife on their land, even if they do not wish to survey themselves.”

• If you would like to know more abou the Recording Wildilfe Near You project, please get in touch with Jane Andrews-Gauvain, on 01954 713572 or Jane.Andrews-Gauvain@cperc.org.uk 
•  If you’re not in Cambridgeshire, all local Environmental Records Centres are interested in new records. You can look up the details of your local office and update them with your sightings.  There are recording hints and tips from CPERC here.
•  If you would like to know more about Toads on Roads and how to help, the locations of the Cambridgeshire toad crossings can be found on the Froglife website  - find your nearest Patrol and we can put you in touch.  If you know of a toad crossing that is not on the website please let us know.

Photo: Oliver Kratz

28 February 2012

Plans for Leap (Frog) Day

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel our event with embe restaurant tomorrow night. A big thanks to everyone who was helping with organisation, and we’re sorry to disappoint everyone who was planning to come.

However, there are all sorts of other things you could do to celebrate and help amphibians on the extra day of the year:

What can you do on the extra day in the year to help frogs and other amphibians?
• To coincide with Leap Day 2012, Amphibian Ark is coordinating an international event, Leaping Ahead of Extinction: A celebration of good news for amphibians in 2012. The event focuses on captive breeding programs for threatened amphibian species, by encouraging people to visit their closest zoo or public facility that is involved with amphibian conservation, on or around Leap Day 2012. Amphibians (frogs, toads, newts and salamanders) are in dire need of our help because they are one of the most imperiled groups of living organisms. Many institutions around the world have taken on the challenge of helping to preserve and breed some of the most threatened species, especially those that cannot currently be saved in the wild before they become extinct. Each institution is designing its own amphibian activities to celebrate Leap Day, and some of these are featured on the Leaping Ahead of Extinction activities web page, www.amphibianark.org/leap-day-activities/

• We are fundraising again to help develop and support Froglife’s Toads on Roads project. This is a vital project in the UK that involves coordinating a national network of volunteers who go out every spring to rescue migrating toads on busy roads. You can find out more about the project and your local Toad Patrol here, and support the Tuppence a Toad campaign here.

• It’s also the perfect time of year to keep an eye on the amphibians in your pond. There are pond management tips in Froglife's Just Add Water publication here.

• We are always looking for new volunteers to help with our projects in London, Peterborough and Glasgow, and to help us from home.  You can find out more about volunteering opportunities here.

So why not use the extra day to help some amphibians near you, or all over the world?

Photo: Sam Taylor

27 February 2012

A New Face for Froglife Scotland

Froglife has recently started an exciting one year programme in Scotland with the active volunteer conservation group the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV). Here Natural Communities placement recruit Faith Hillier provides insight into the busy year ahead of her.

“The Natural Communities programme is a yearlong apprenticeship developed by BTCV through a grant by Heritage Lottery Funding. Through this scheme I’ll receive a variety of valuable training opportunities to ensure I’m equipped with the necessary tools to engage fully with local communities. The knowledge I gain will be used to assist Froglife in increasing engagement work and volunteering opportunities with communities through the Living Waters project in North Lanarkshire. In exchange, Froglife will also provide me with many opportunities to expand my amphibian, reptile and pond creation knowledge.

Froglifers Faith and Eilidh
So far, I’ve had some really interesting of training with BTCV in Stirling, followed by a My Wild Life session held in Glasgow with Froglife. I especially enjoyed interacting with children and adults during the intergenerational session, which brought together school pupils and members of Glasgow Natural History Society to talk about their experiences with wildlife. It was an inspiring first day with Froglife!

Sharing stories on the My Wild Life project
I’ve also assisted on a volunteer day digging a pond and building a hibernacula, met with community group leaders and visited pond creation/restoration sites. In the next few weeks I will attend training on great crested newts with Froglife, community engagement with BTCV and John Muir Award leadership training.

I’m hoping to make the most of my background in education to help work on interesting events and volunteering experiences and getting Froglife out into the local community.”

• If you would like to get more involved in Froglife’s work in Scotland, please contact Faith.Hillier@froglife.org 
• You can read more from Faith at the Natural Communities Blog here