Monday, March 31, 2008

Is This The BIG NIGHT?

It's rainy and so tonight (and maybe even tomorrow night) could be the Big Night!
Every spring, when the conditions are right (rainy and 40+ degrees), mole salamander indigenous to New England unbury themselves from underground tunnels beneath rotten logs and dead leaves, where they live for most of the year, to travel to pools of water to lay their jelly-like eggs. In Framingham, that means a road closure to protect these amphibians (frogs, newts & salamanders) as these nocturnal creatures cross the entrance road to their favorite pond within the grounds of Garden in the Woods. Typically, this event occurs in late March or Early April. Experts are predicting it could happen tonight and/or tomorrow night, due to today's rains and somewhat warmer-than-normal spring weather predicted.
Photography clubs, nature bluffs, and families typically gather on this "Big Night" with rain gear, boots, flashlights, and cameras to witness these migrating creatures. The flashlights are very important. Each family member who heads out to see the migration needs one, so they can avoid stepping on the amphibians, which include spotted salamanders, red-spotted newts, wood frogs, and spring peppers.
For about a week after the Big Night, the salamanders stay at the vernal pool to watch over their eggs during daylight hours, but afterwards, they return their nocturnal nature.
Yesterday, as part of the Garden in the Wood's Children's & Family Program, a dozen children and their parents participated in a "Salamander Celebration."
They learned about salamanders and other migrating amphibians, witnessed a puppet shows, watched slides, took a nature hike to the vernal pool, planted sticks in the water so the salamanders could lay their eggs, viewed tadpoles in the water, and made clay amphibian creatures in their own vernal pools.
Below are a few photos from yesterday's event:

Garden in the Woods offers several children's and family programs throughout the year.
The next event is Sunday, April 13 from 6: 30 to 8:30 p.m. It is a Frog Moon Night Hike.
Event Description: "What strange quacks, trills, and peeps can be heard coming from ponds and bogs on a spring evening? Who is making all of that noise and why? Come to the Garden for a slide program about some amazing amphibian singers, practice some croaky calls, then walk through the woods to experience the sounds first hand. After a snack, the kids will enjoy some "froggy" crafts. "
Admission is $7 for members and $8 for non members. Cost is for each adult and child.
The program is limit to the first 24 people.
To register call 508-877-7630 or visit

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