Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Article excerpt

Community unites to rescue tadpoles

A few years ago, some of the oak trees in the northeastern section of Frick Park at the end of the Kensington Street developed oak wilt. All the trees had to be removed, leaving a barren landscape.

The area has been maintained as an open meadow and includes a small, temporary wetland. Every year since the trees were removed, spring peeper frogs have come to breed in the wetland. They can be heard calling, a sure sign of spring. A little later, toads add their melodic trill as they come to the wetland.

This year, the peeper tadpoles completed their development and left the wetland. Despite all the rain we have had, parts of the spring were dry. As a result, the toad tadpoles became crowded into a smaller and smaller area as the wetland dried up. At times, the wetland was reduced to, literally, a few cups of water.

It was amazing to see how many residents living nearby checked on the tadpoles. As the area threatened to dry up completely, a number of residents - including a neighbor who is in his 80s - started carrying water from their homes to keep the wetland going,

Other people collected some of the tadpoles and moved them to other ponds in the area. Total strangers would meet in the park and discuss how the tadpoles were doing. There was great excitement as some of them began to develop legs.

Children had the opportunity to watch the tadpoles grow and transform into tiny toadlets, each small enough to fit on the tip of a finger. Recent rains provided the wetland adequate water, and now only a few tadpoles are left, but many of us will remember the sense of community as we watched over the tadpoles.

Hopefully, some of the toads will reach maturity and help rid our gardens of insect pests and carry on the cycle of life in the wetland at the end of Kensington Street.


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