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Notes, comments and observations from the Lifestyle and Entertainment desk by Lifestyle Editor Aixa Torregrosa-Vazquez.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Philly Toadlets Are Hoppin’!

This just in!

I have never heard about this. Kind of cool. They're asking for volunteers.
Here's the press release from Toad Detour

Thousands of Toadlets Migrate Across Port Royal Road Back to the Woods

PHILADELPHIA – Thousands of toadlets started their annual migration from the Roxborough Reservoir to their new woodland homes. On May 21st, toadlets were sighted hopping along the path at the Reservoir, where their parents mated in March. Since then, toadlets were seen moving en masse across Port Royal towards the woods. Volunteers set up road barricades to detour traffic from 7-9pm, when most of the toadlets cross. Migrating toadlets were impossible to count, but numbers were estimated at a couple thousand each night.

It is quite a sight to see them swarming around your feet. They are the size of a spider and look more like insects than toads from a distance. Up close, they are perfectly formed toads, like miniature adults. They can sit comfortably on a fingernail. Very cute to toad enthusiasts and children alike! Rich Giordano, Vice President of the Upper Roxborough Civic Association, was the first to report toadlet sightings, “The numbers have increased dramatically since this morning. I had to be careful not to step on several with each stride.”

The Philadelphia Streets Department issued a permit to close Eva Street and part of Port Royal for the toadlet migration. Although the permit is from May 21st-June 30th, roads will only be detoured during the migration. Selected streets in the area around the Reservoir will be closed, depending on where the toadlets are migrating. From now until approximately June 3rd, Port Royal will be closed from Hagy’s Mill Road to Eva Street and Eva Street will be closed from Port Royal to Summit Street. The road will remain open to drivers traveling to the Schuylkill Wildlife Rehab Center and the Worship Center. (Drivers will be asked to enter these locations from Eva Street to avoid killing toads on Port Royal.) From June 3rd to the 20th, Summit Road will be the only road closed, based on predictions from last year’s migration data. Signs will alert drivers of these detours.

Detour locations are subject to change, depending on the travel patterns of the toadlets. Please consult our website or contact Lisa Levinson at 215-620-2130 or for updated detour locations.

Watch for other toad migrations in the Philly area (sightings reported on Wise’s Mill Road, Rt. 23 through Valley Forge Park). Please drive slowly and carefully on rainy nights near parks and waterways. Please check for toadlets before mowing lawns, which can be deadly for toadlets. Pool covers can also be emptied to avoid toad and toadlet populations from forming there.

Volunteers Needed
To sign up for a volunteer shift, please visit the website: Volunteers are needed to place barricades and signs, distribute Toad Migration leaflets to commuters, count migrating toads, and help toads safely cross the road. You will automatically be added to the “on call” email/phone list to be contacted during the nights of heavy migration. If you have additional questions, please contact DETOUR Coordinator, Lisa Levinson: 215-620-2130,

Toad Detour Background
Each spring, between mid-March and late-April, hundreds of toads migrate from the forest at the Schuylkill Center For Environmental Education (SCEE) across Hagy’s Mill and Port Royal roads. They also migrate from the surrounding woods across Eva Street. These toads are headed towards the Roxborough Reservoir to mate. Their journey is a dangerous one, since they cross at night and must evade oncoming traffic. Hundreds of commuters who seek to avoid lights on Ridge Avenue travel these roads daily. Before the Toad Detour, the toad population was steadily decreasing due to traffic fatalities. With community help, toads can safely cross the road again. Toads are very important members of the food chain in our area. The entire ecosystem depends on their survival.

The DETOUR Project (Detour for Emerging Toads Of Upper Roxborough) is an effort to protect toads as they migrate to and from their breeding ground each year and to raise public awareness about the migration. The DETOUR Committee is composed of local citizens and officials from various agencies (Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Mobilization For Animals Pennsylvania, Fairmount Park, Applied Ecological Services, Residents of Shawmont Valley Association, Philadelphia Police Department 5th District, Philadelphia Streets Department).

The Committee initiates new policies improving migration safety for local toads, such as road detours and public education programs. During the migration, community volunteers man the barricades and erect signs to detour oncoming traffic towards alternate routes. Students from local schools learn about the toad life cycle and participate in activities to help educate the public about the migration.

Photo by Doug Wechsler


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