Why I Go Out on Warm, Rainy Nights

Spotted Salamander Dave Huth photo

I’ve been thinking about why I go out on warm, rainy nights in the spring to help salamanders and frogs cross the road. Do I do it to make a difference in the lives of these little creatures? Yes, I suppose I do. I do it to know them, to help them fulfill their purpose in life, to see what is beautiful and amazing in these tiny creatures that most people never know, never see. I also do this, this crazy thing, to help others to be aware of our impact on these creatures. I do it to encourage others to slow down a little, to let life happen, in all its glorious forms, to see what’s right in front of them, and to care.

I do it because I love these amphibians − the peepers; the wood frogs; the spotties; the dusky, red-backed, red eft, two-lined, four-toed, and spring salamanders; the toads; the gray tree frogs; the pickerel, green, and bull frogs. I love them all. I love their music: the wall of sound that is a chorus of peepers and wood frogs, and the silent song that is a congress of spotted salamanders.

When I am outside in the dark and in the rain, helping them live, I feel alive, too. And happy and grateful and full. By helping these lovely amphibians fill the measure of their creation, I am filling the measure of my creation, too. And perhaps they, like I, feel joy!

Kathy is a member of the Salamander Crossing Brigades, a citizen science volunteer project hosted by the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, NH. She has been shepherding salamanders in Nelson, NH since before there were Crossing Brigades!

This story was originally published in the Harris Center for Conservation Education’s 2015 Fall "Hearsay" newsletter and has been republished with express permission of the Harris Center and Kathy Schillemat. Photo credit: Dave Huth