Saturday, April 25, 2015

Critter Count

Pacific chorus frog.
Every spring, the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver hosts the Critter Count.  It's all about herps- amphibians and reptiles.  The day began with a talk by the awesome Laura Guderyahn, a conservation biologist who is definitely a friend to herps.  She showed us all the most common amphibians and reptiles we would be likely to see.  Then everyone was asked to pick one of four locations to head off to, to help in an annual census.  This year we picked Columbia Springs.  There is a trout hatchery at this site, and they host environmental education classes in their classrooms and on their 100 acre property. First we looked around in a wetland area for signs of amphibians, then headed up to the woods to look under logs for salamanders.  After each find was carefully measured and recorded, we got some lunch and headed back to the Water Resources Education Center. Ryan from Brad's World Reptiles was there to do a show.  His presentation was wonderful and he told the kids quite a lot about each animal and what makes its species special. They had lots of chances to see the animals up close and touch them. 

Jasper holds a redback salamander and Laura G. holds a chorus frog.
Great blue heron.
Western redback salamander.
Skunk cabbage.
Robert geranium.
Someone had mishandled a salamander, probably holding it by its tail.  The tail had broken off and was flopping around. This is a defense mechanism to divert attention away from the salamander as it makes its getaway.  It was a sad sight.
Baby sturgeon in the Water Resources Education Center.
Pixie frog.
Legless lizard.
Jasper greeting the legless lizard.
Gopher snake.
Burmese python.
Yes, everyone got to pet the alligator.

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