2015 # 1 NatureWILD

Page 1

NatureWILD Magazine for Young Naturalists in British Columbia

Volume 16 Issue 1 2015

The Amphibian Issue



“Young Naturalists Observe and Conserve”


3 A&R Crossword 4 AmPHIBIANS 8 Amphibian Q & A 9 10 What’s Special About... 12 Amphibians in Trouble 13 Amphibian Road Survey Project FROG Facts, Myths, Jokes and Riddles

14 15 NatureWILD NEWS 16 A&R Wordsearch Ask Al/Nature Champions

Questions? Comments? Vanessa Lee, President info@ync.ca Kristine Webber, Executive Director kristinewebber@ync.ca Tammy Keetch, Clubs Coordinator coordinator@ync.ca Karina Russell, Membership and Office Coordinator info@ync.ca Daniel Kell communicatons@ync.ca NatureWILD Editorial Committee Content Editor: Daphne Solecki Production Editor: Monica Belko Editorial Assistants: Ruth Foster, Tricia Edgar Contributor: Al Grass

Hello, young naturalists! I want to tell you about those wonderful and amazing animals that need your help – the Amphibians of British Columbia. There are 19 native amphibians in BC: 11 frogs and toads, and 9 salamanders.You will read about them all through this issue of NatureWILD. The number of amphibians living around the world, including BC, is going down. More than half of our amphibians in BC are considered to be of ‘conservation concern’, which means we are worried about their survival. The main threat is habitat loss. By cutting down Purnima and a snake. Photo by Jim Forster. forests and filling wetlands, we leave them homeless. Roads cutting through their habitat means that amphibians often get killed crossing them. Amphibians are also very sensitive to pollution and chemicals. The chemicals that we use to kill pests and weeds not only kill insects (food for amphibians) but also harm amphibians through their sensitive skin. To add to all these problems, there are new diseases showing up in many parts of the world, like Chytridiomycosis, that are killing amphibians. What can we do to protect amphibians? One of the difficulties in protecting amphibians is lack of knowledge. We don’t know enough about where they live; how many there are; what dangers are threatening them; and how what we do from day-to-day may affect their home and food. Most importantly, sometimes people don’t even know that they are harming amphibians. This is where you come in! You can help amphibians by joining one of the amphibian conservation programs we’ll tell you about or talk to B.C. Frogwatch – you can even start an amphibian project in your school! You can talk to people in your community and help increase awareness of amphibians and of activities that are harming them. Be an Amphibian Champion! I’ll be so interested to hear what you do.

1620 Mt. Seymour Rd. North Vancouver, BC V7G 2R9


Dr. Purnima Govindarajulu, Amphibian and Reptile and Small Mammal Specialist, Ministry of Environment, Province of British Columbia COVER PHOTO - “Bufo boreas (Western Toad) 10565” by Walter Siegmund - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bufo_boreas_10565.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Bufo_boreas_10565.JPG


ISSN: 1492-7241 NatureWILD is printed on SFI certified paper by Benwell Atkins an RR Donnelley Company,Vancouver.




A&R d r o w s s o Cr Test your mphibian and eptile knowledge with this crossword!







5 15

(answers on page 15)

Do you know? A group of frogs is called an ‘army’

ACROSS 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15


Why are frogs so happy? They eat whatever bugs them!

9 12 11

Type of amphibian that goes “ribbet, ribbet” Which has gills when it’s young - amphibian or reptile? Which is not an amphibian - frog, salamander, snail or newt? Retiles and amphibians both lay _ _ _ _. Amphibians live on land and in _ _ _ _ _.. Newts and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ are similar amphibians. Amphibians have wet, slimy _ _ _ _. Many types of reptiles are _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (hint: they don’t exist on the Earth anymore).

DOWN 2 4 6 8 10 12



What do you call a lying frog? An amFIBian!


Which has scales - an amphibian or a reptile? A reptile that has no limbs. Crocodiles and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ are similar reptiles. Type of reptile that can hide in its shell. Reptiles breathe air using their _ _ _ _ _. Crocodiles, turtles, snakes, tuatara and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ are all reptiles.

Do you know? Frogs can’t live in salt water.


Amphibian means ‘double-life’ - an animal that lives part of its life in the water and part on land. Amphibians appeared on earth about 350 million years ago. They had two pairs of jointed limbs which evolved from the fleshy fins of their fish-like ancestors. They had to adapt to breathing air and they had to develop skin that would not dry out in the air. They were the first true tetrapods (four-foots) – that is, animals with backbones and four limbs (feet/legs). Their four legs helped them move about on land.


It is hard to imagine now, but for tens of millions of years amphibians were the dominant land animals on earth. Some of these ancient creatures grew as large as crocodiles! Then other animals took over and amphibians got smaller and smaller.

Frogs,Toads and Salamanders

Frogs, Toads and Salamanders are amphibians. In some ways they are like each other, in other ways they are different.

How Amphibians Are Like Each Other

The first part of their life-cycle - from egg to adult follows the same pattern. Frogs, toads and salamanders all start life as eggs in fresh water, hatch out into tadpoles then metamorphose into adults.

“Green frog life stages” by LadyofHats - Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons - http:// commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greenfrog_life_stages. svg#mediaviewer/File:Greenfrog_life_stages.svg




Start here!





Metamorphosis:You probably

know that another very different kind of animal - invertebrates - also metamorphose (change their forms as they grow up). For example, caterpillars hatch out from eggs and pupate into butterflies, and maggots turn into flies. ‘Silhouette of water bubbles and the legs of a toad or frog’. From http://creativity103.com




Eggs (Spawn [eggs in jelly which is food for growing tadpoles]) • Spawn is laid in clumps in shallow water.

Eggs (Spawn [eggs in jelly which is food for growing tadpoles]) • Spawn is laid in strings, usually wrapped around vegetation in slightly deeper water.

Eggs • Some lay their eggs individually on submerged plant leaves and some lay them in a cluster around an underwater branch.

Tadpoles • When they hatch, tadpoles stick together in a wriggling mass. • Start out black then turn a brownish colour. • Grow their back legs first. • Lose their tails when they turn into adults. • Only eat plants. Adults Frogs have: • smooth wet skin. • long legs for jumping. • teeth on upper jaw for holding prey. • ability to eat anything they can swallow - insects, spiders, worms... which they swallow whole. • large eyes that see colour and can see in dim light. • a loud call.

“Frog spawn closeup” by Tarquin at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frogspawn_closeup. jpg#mediaviewer/File:Frogspawn_closeup.jpg

Tadpoles • On hatching, tadpoles are jet black and remain so. • Grow back legs first. • Lose their tails when they turn into adults. • Only eat plants. Adults Toads have: • dry skin with warts (they’re not really warts just bumps). • a pair of poison glands behind their eyes. • short legs for hopping. • no teeth. • little or no tendency to call.

“Long-toed Eggs” by Thompsma - Mark Thompson (www.namos.ca) photographed this image.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LongtoedEggs.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Long-toedEggs.jpg

Tadpoles • Have a frill of gills behind the head. • Grow front legs first. • Lose their gills but keep their tails when they turn into adults. • Eat plants and some ‘meat’(insects). Adults Salamanders have: • slender bodies • long tails • front and hind legs are nearly equal in size • teeth on upper and lower jaws to hold prey • some have tails that break off when a predator grabs them, then they grow a new one • no call, but can make squeaks and peeping noises.

A Western Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) tadpole.


More about AMPHIBIANs

Senses: Amphibians have eyes and ears;

they also have a larynx, or voice box, to make sounds. Frogs generally have the best vision and hearing. Amphibians have sense organs to smell and taste chemicals.


SKIN: The skin of amphibians is delicate and is not protected by scales like reptiles, or hair like mammals. Amphibian skin has mucous glands to keep it from drying out. The skin can absorb water, but this means it can also absorb chemicals and pollution that can harm the animals. That’s why you should not handle amphibians with your bare hands - the oils and salty sweat on your palms can damage their skin. Breathing: Most

amphibians breathe with gills when they are tadpoles and with lungs as adults.

“Plethodon vehiculum” Western Redback Salamander by Minette Layne

- http://www.flickr.com/photos/ minette_layne/3293241193/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons. wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plethodon_vehiculum.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Plethodon_vehiculum.jpg

Poison Glands: Some

amphibians also have poison glands in their skin. – some are just nasty, others can be very dangerous. No amphibians in BC are truly poisonous to humans.

where AMPHIBIANs like to live Spring and Summer: Frogs, toads and salamanders all lay their eggs in fresh water but

they choose different kinds of wetland habitat for their tadpoles to grow in. Most frogs, toads and salamanders like shallow standing water, such as seasonal pools and puddles, roadside ditches, flooded meadows and quiet parts of streams. Once breeding activities are over, the adults migrate away from the water to drier, upland habitats to feed. They keep cool by sheltering under leaves, logs or in burrows. When the tadpoles have turned into adults, they follow their parents away from the water.

Fall and Winter: Most amphibians hibernate during


A Rough-skinned Newt underwater.

the winter, hiding in burrows they find or cavities in rocks. Wood frogs and chorus frogs can survive some degree of freezing by turning into ‘frogsicles’. As ice starts to build, the frogs fill their cells with glycerol, a natural antifreeze. This allows more than half the water in a frog to freeze, without damaging the animal. Breathing and heartbeat stop as the frogs become little blocks of ice, which can thaw and become active again in as little as an hour!


what AMPHIBIANs like to eat

Tadpoles are herbivorous - they usually graze on algae

growing on rocks and decaying plant life but sometimes they nibble on a dead fish.

Adult amphibians are ‘meat-eaters’ - they like insects, beetles, earthworms, and other invertebrates. As you might guess, small amphibians eat small prey. Chorus frogs are particularly fond of ants and spiders, but also eat flies, aphids, springtails and tiny snails. Northern Leopard Frogs eat almost anything that moves - insects, flies, pill bugs, worms, snails and slugs.

“Pacific Giant Salamander eating a worm” by Jan Tik - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Pacific_brown_salamander_eating_a_worm. jpg#mediaviewer/File:Pacific_brown_salamander_ eating_a_worm.jpg

Larger amphibians, like salamanders, go after beetles, earthworms, tadpoles, small fish, and even the occasional frog.

how AMPHIBIANs catch their food

Adult frogs, toads and salamanders mostly use the ‘sit and wait’ method to catch their prey. They stay very still until something that looks tasty wanders by, then they jump up and catch it in their big mouths. Some frogs can shoot out a sticky tongue to capture their prey.

A toad hiding in the leaves waiting for food.

AMPHIBIANs are food for other animals “Bullfrog Tadpole”

Female amphibians lay hundreds of eggs at a time, which of course hatch into hundreds of tadpoles. If every tadpole lived to become an adult the world would soon be covered with amphibians! However, most tadpoles get eaten by predators from small to large - dragonfly larvae, frogs, fish, birds such as herons and kingfishers, raccoons, and frogs. In fact, small tadpoles may even be eaten by large tadpoles. In the end only one or two tadpoles from each batch of spawn will grow into an adult.

Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/ wiki/File:Bullfrog_Tadpole.jpg#mediaviewer/ File:Bullfrog_Tadpole.jpg

Adult frogs, toads and salamanders are prey for otters, coyotes, raccoons, herons, snakes, Burrowing Owls, trout and other fish. It is not an easy life, being an amphibian!


Amphibians Questions & Answers Why do frogs pee on you when you pick them up?

Will you get warts if you touch a toad?

The Burke Museum in Seattle says “They pee to try and make you drop them so they can escape. Many animals will either urinate or defecate when handled or threatened. This is a normal defense mechanism to try and avoid being eaten. Often their urine smells and tastes bad and will make a predator drop them and they can make a quick hop away to safety.” Or maybe they are just scared!

How many amphibian species are there in the world? There are over 6,000 amphibian species known to science.

What are some of the strangest amphibians? The Olm is a blind salamander with transparent skin that lives in caves, hunts prey by smell and electrosensitivity and can survive without for food for 10 years!

No, there are no amphibians that give you warts. The wart-like bumps on the skin of many frogs and toads are glands, not warts. Sometimes the glands ooze a poison that tastes bad to predators, but will not cause warts. Warts are caused by viruses.

“Bufo bufo (Common Toad) on grass2” by Korall

Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bufo_bufo_on_grass2. JPG#mediaviewer/File:Bufo_bufo_on_grass2.JPG

Which amphibians are the largest and smallest? The world’s largest salamander is the Chinese Giant Salamander which can reach 1.8 m. The largest frog is the Goliath Frog of West Africa - its body can grow to 32 cm and it can weigh up to 3 kilograms. Gardiner’s Seychelle Frog is one of the smallest - the adult is only 11 mm long, the size of a thumb tack. The smallest frog (as of 2013) is the Paedophryne amauensis frog from Papua New Guinea. This frog is also the smallest vertebrate (animal with a backbone). It averages only 7.7 mm in length! A Paedophryne amauensis frog from Papua New Guinea sitting on a US dime. "Paratype of Paedophryne amauensis (LSUMZ 95004)" by Rittmeyer EN, Allison A, Gründler MC, Thompson DK, Austin CC - E. N. Rittmeyer et al. (2012). "Ecological Guild Evolution and the Discovery of the World's Smallest Vertebrate". PLoS ONE 7: e29797. DOI:10.1371/journal. pone.0029797. Figure 2 tiff. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons. wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paratype_of_Paedophryne_amauensis_(LSUMZ_95004).png#mediaviewer/ File:Paratype_of_Paedophryne_amauensis_(LSUMZ_95004).png

What do you call someone who studies amphibians?

“P. anguinus-head” by Arne Hodalič Author’s own work. Uploaded with permission.Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P_anguinus-head. jpg#mediaviewer/File:P_anguinus-head.jpg


A batrachologist is a person who studies amphibians. “Batracho” has been used in science for over 150 years when talking about amphibians, but ‘batrachologist’ is quite new. The word herpetologist, the term most often used, is someone who studies amphibians and reptiles.



The Darwin’s Frog is indeed strange – the tadpoles develop in the male’s vocal sac and he coughs them up when they have grown into frogs, ready to survive on their own.

The Lungless salamander of Mexico has no lungs, it breathes in air through its skin and mouth lining. We have four terrestrial salamanders in BC that also lack lungs, obtaining their oxygen through their skin.


Some people believe that: If you see seven frogs at one time, you will soon be wealthy. If you kill a frog it will rain for three days. Meeting a frog in the road on the way to a game is extremely good luck.


If a frog sees your teeth, you’ll have bad luck.

The Betic Midwife Toad evolved differently from all other toads about 150 million years ago – the males carry the fertilized eggs wrapped around their hind legs.

If a frog comes into your house, you will have good luck.


“Fossilised frog” by Kevin Walsh

What do stylish frogs wear? Jumpsuits!

from Oxford, England. Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http:// commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fossilised_ frog.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Fossilised_frog.jpg


Q What happens if a frog parks in a bus stop? A He gets toad away!


What is a toad’s favorite candy? Lolli-hops!

Q What happens when two frogs catch the same fly? A They get tongue-tied! Q Why are frogs always happy? A Because they eat whatever bugs them. Q What’s a frog’s favourite game? A Hopscotch. Q Why are frogs good baseball players? A Because they always catch the flies.



How does a frog feel when he has a broken leg? Unhoppy!

What do ya call a frog’s favorite soda? Croaka-Cola!


What’s Special About ... The Chorus Frogs? There are two kinds - the Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata) which is found in northeastern BC and measures less than 4 cm, and the Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla) found in southwestern BC, which is just a bit bigger. They have tiny suction discs on their toes so they can climb anything, even glass. And are they ever noisy! They are very hard to find in spite of calling so loudly because they are little “Pseudacris maculata” ventriloquists – they can make themselves sound as if they are somewhere else! They are called Chorus Frogs because a whole group of males sing the mating call together in a chorus. Boreal Chorus Frogs call so loudly that if you stand at the edge of a large chorus, your ears will ring. They even sing from the trees in winter and no-one knows why. by Original uploader was Tnarg 12345 at en.wikipedia - Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/ wiki/File:Pseudacris_maculata.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Pseudacris_maculata.jpg

The Roughskin Newt ? Roughskin Newts (Taricha granulosa) are found along the coast of mainland BC and on Vancouver Island. Newts are a type of salamander, with dark, rough, dry skin on their backs and bright yellow or orange below. If attacked, the newt will bend its head, neck, and tail upwards to show its bright colouring and warn off predators.

“Taricha granulosa (Rough-skinned Newt)” by The High Fin Sperm Whale - Self-taken photo. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taricha_granulosa_(Rough-skinned_newt).JPG#mediaviewer/ File:Taricha_granulosa_(Rough-skinned_newt).JPG


Predators should pay attention to this warning because newts are quite poisonous. Many dead birds and fish have been found with Roughskin Newts in their stomachs – it seems that eating a newt is a big mistake a predator only makes once! (Except for gartersnakes which, amazingly, are not harmed by the poison.) In fact, the Roughskin Newt is the most poisonous amphibian in the Pacific Northwest. It contains enough poison to kill 25,000 mice! However, touching it doesn’t harm humans as our skin will not absorb the poison. Just don’t eat one!

G The Tailed Frog?

Tailed frogs are very special little frogs about 2.5 to 3 cm from nose to rump. In Canada, tailed frogs are found only in BC; there are two species the Pacific Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) and the Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog (Ascaphus montanus), the only BC species with a ‘tail’. It is different in a lot of other ways too. Tailed frogs like to live and breed in fast running water not ponds and lakes. They have flattened bodies so they can shelter under stones on the streambed. They lay their eggs in quiet side pools, so the eggs and newhatched tadpoles won’t get washed away. Tadpoles have mouth suckers to hang onto rocks. They also have mouth scrapers so they can get algae off rocks while clinging on. The tadpoles remain four to five years as tadpoles before turning into frogs! Then they may live another twenty years or more.

“Ascaphus truei web” by Mokele - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http:// commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ascaphus_truei_web.jpg#mediaviewer/ File:Ascaphus_truei_web.jpg

A Northern Red-legged Frog. Photo by John Battaso, US FWS.

Other special amphibians... • The Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora) sings under water, like a whale which also communicates underwater.

“Spadefoot pic” by National Park Service

- http://www.nps.gov/zion/naturescience/amphibians.htm. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spadefoot_pic.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Spadefoot_pic.jpg

• The Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana) is a toad, which lives in the “pocket desert” in the Okanagan and Thompson regions of BC. It uses the “spades” on its heels to dig itself backwards into the ground, which helps it keep moist underground even when it’s hot and dry outside.

An Ensatina. Photo by David Ledig, US FWS.

• Our salamanders are pretty special too. The Pacific Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) is one of the biggest salamanders in North America and lives in mountain streams. The Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii), a terrestrial salamander, can drop its tail like a lizard to get away from predators.

“Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica (Yellow-eyed Ensatina) 03” by JLAuckle - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia. org/wiki/File:Ensatina_eschscholtzii_xanthoptica_(Yellow-eyed_Ensatina)_03.jpg#mediaviewer/ File:Ensatina_eschscholtzii_xanthoptica_(Yellow-eyed_Ensatina)_03.jpg


Amphibians are in trouble in BC and around the world – Why? Loss of Habitat

Now that you know that amphibians live part of their life in water and part of their life on land, you can see that when humans build roads, houses, shopping centres, schools, and other structures, natural habitats of amphibians may be destroyed, polluted or chopped up into smaller pieces. Even when amphibians can move from one habitat to another, they may not be able to reach the habitat they need nor find each other for mating unless they cross busy roads. Hundreds of frogs, toads and salamanders get run over every year.

Other Dangers - Good Frog, Bad Frog

Young toadlets being safely moved across a road. Photo by Kayt Chambers.

In BC there are nine species of native frogs. There are also nine species of salamanders and two of toads. We could call them all ‘good frogs’ because they are native to our province. Unfortunately there are also a couple of ‘bully’ frogs – the Green Frog and the American Bullfrog. The bullfrog is the worst. It can reach 20 cm in length, not even including the legs just its body - without the legs - can measure about 20 cm - the length from wrist to elbow on a first grader! The bullfrog was introduced to BC by people wanting to farm them for eating – their big meaty legs are quite tasty. However, bullfrog farming went bust and people let the bullfrogs go into local lakes.The bullfrog will eat anything that can fit in its A size comparison - bullfrog with a toy boreal mouth and they have very big mouths. They eat insects, baby ducklings, small frog on its back. Photo by Drew Kerr. mammals, snakes and other frogs. Most of BC’s native frogs are just a bite-sized snack for bullfrogs. Green frogs probably came to BC as pets, or even fish bait. They are smaller than bullfrogs and not as harmful. However they do compete with native frogs for food and habitat, and that puts extra stress on frog populations which are having a hard time surviving anyway. “Bullfrog natures pics”.

Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons. wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bullfrog_-_ natures_pics.jpg#mediaviewer/ File:Bullfrog_-_natures_pics.jpg


Western toadlet, recently emerged from Summit Lake, near Nakusp. Photo by Angus Glass, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program.

Did the toadlet

cross the road?


the toadlet cross the road? That’s what Young Naturalists are asking as they take part in a pilot project to survey local roads where amphibians might need to cross.

Why is this important? As you have read in this NatureWILD, most of BC’s

amphibians breed in water, but overwinter on land. Every year they migrate to and from wetlands and pools. Often, as they move hundreds of metres between sites, they get killed. Road surveys are the best known way to identify road crossing ‘hot spots’. Because there are so many roads across BC, the help of citizen scientists, such as Young Naturalists, is needed to gather data. We need to find out where we can help amphibians cross roads safely (by building an underpass, for example).

The Pilot Project. This spring,

members from the Cowichan Weekend YNC and Cowichan Home Learners YNC are working with biologist and former YNC leader, Elke Wind, to carry out amphibian road surveys. They are helping test easy-to-understand survey instructions, trying out road survey kits (containing all the materials YNCs will need to do their own road surveys) and starring in a amphibian road survey training video!

Using the data.

The data collected in this project will be entered online to the BC Frogwatch website where it will be collated, mapped and archived. Contributing to the conservation of amphibians and amphibian populations is another great example of how young naturalists “observe and conserve”.

In the fall, other YNCs across BC will be able to use these training resources and, with the help of a regional biologist, have a chance to do their own local road surveys.

Get Your Club Involved! Contact coordinator@ync.ca

Young Naturalists helping salamanders! Photo by E. Wind.

Thank you to TD Friends of the Environment,Vancouver Foundation and the National Conservation Plan (Environment Canada) for helping young naturalists step up for amphibians!


Have a Nature Question?


Al Grass has worked as a career park naturalist and ranger throughout BC. Now he is a well-known nature tour leader and photographer. Al especially likes birds, insects and spiders.

We asked Al to tell us a story about being a park naturalist and here it is:

Something That Went ‘Crunch’ in the Night! It was getting dark and campers had gathered at the park’s outdoor theatre for my evening program. Soon after I started my talk, there came a ‘c-r-u-n-c-h-i-n-g’ sound from bushes nearby. “It’s a BEAR!” someone shouted. “No” I said, “It’s a toad” Again came the ‘crunch’ and again came the shout, “It’s a BEAR!” Well, there was no going on with the program with all that shouting. I went over to the leaves lying on the ground by the bushes where the crunchy sounds were coming from and - sure enough - I found a beautiful Western Toad! So I gave a little talk about the toad and put it back where I found it. No bears that night! stion. send me a que se a le “P ys sa l A n is chosen for Al Grass If your questio e-inu will win a Rit yo D IL eW ur at N and pencil! "Bufo boreas (Western Toad) Rain notebook a n to info@ync.c io st e 15061" by Walter Siegmund u q r u yo d Sen r Road - Own work. 1620 Mount Seymou V7G 2R9 North Vancouver, BC

Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http:// commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bufo_boreas_15061. JPG#mediaviewer/File:Bufo_boreas_15061.JPG

Rupert and Franny with Victoria City Council. Photo by

Rupert’s Blue Dot Adventure (Rupert Yakalashek, YNC Victoria) It all started when I went to the David Suzuki Blue Dot Tour. The Blue Dot Tour inspires everyone to ask their municipal government to make a declaration recognizing the right for a healthy environment. So that is what I decided to do. During the recent municipal election I hand delivered letters to the candidates which said, “If you promise to make Rupert and Franny with this declaration for the right to healthy environment, I’ll convince my parents to vote David Suzuki. Photo by for you.” On December 18, 2014, I held a rally outside City Hall called “Rupert’s Rally for a Healthy Environment”, then my sister Franny and I made presentations to Victoria City Council. The Council voted unanimously to make the declaration recognizing the rights for a healthy environment. Since then Franny and I have made two more presentations, hosted a Blue Dot letter writing event at the Royal BC Museum and sent letters to every municipality in Greater Victoria, hoping they will make environmental rights declarations too. My goals are to contact every municipality across BC and to make a short video to encourage other kids to get involved and make positive change in their community.



W r e I D u t a N NEWS

Next issue...


Andaya with tow-headed babies. Photo by Amanda Vincent.

Andaya Vincent (YNC Vancouver), her mother and 5 year-old brother, Kian, were the lucky YNC members to be invited to camp with Nature Vancouver in Manning Park. Here are some highlights from her report. “There were so many great bits: three big hikes, canoeing, nature walks, bird watching, pond poking, swimming, story-telling, and great chats. Best of all, we saw lots of cool animals and plants. My best memory of the week was the Columbian Ground Squirrels (which we called ‘Columbies’). They were really cute. We loved playing with them. And they liked to discover us. The next day, my family went canoeing down Lightning Lake to the end. We watched some loons for ages. They were so cool because they were so fast at swimming underwater, even going under our canoe. Another time, looking for animal signs, we were looking at a bear scratch and I saw some hairs on the tree. The ranger and my mum at first thought they were part of the bark. But it turned out that I had found lynx hairs. I was so so excited! On another walk we saw amazing flowers that looked just like the truffalo trees in Dr. Seuss. Their real name was tow-headed babies. We had fun tapping the dew-y ones so they shed all their water and fluffed up into truffalo trees.”

A&R Crossword Answers

YNC Nature Champions: Passports to Nature Riley, Rita and James (YNC Victoria), Liam (YNC Cowichan Valley), Hannah and Connor (YNC Comox Valley), Heather (YNC Nicomekl) all sent in their first passports. Travis (YNC Victoria) earned his YNC Cap. Elissa (YNC Nicomekl) sent in her passport Number 10! Congratulations, Everyone!

ACROSS 1 - frog 3 - amphibian 5 - snail 7 - eggs 9 - water 11 - salamanders 13 - skin 15 - extinct

November 2014: Earth Sciences Department, SFU. Photo by Noriko Nakaya.

December 2014: Birding at Deer Lake. Photo by Noriko Nakaya.

DOWN 2 - reptile 4 - snake 6 - alligators 8 - turtle 10 - lungs 12 - lizards

Recent Burke Mountain Naturalists YNC Explorer Days.


Thank you

to our sponsors and supporters who share our vision that all children be connected with nature.

A&R WordSearch

Find some of BC’s amphibians and reptiles in this wordsearch. Remember: • frogs, toads and salamanders are amphibians • snakes, turtles and lizards are reptiles.




We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia

RR Donnelley

(Northwestern) Alligator Lizard (American) Bullfrog (Coastal) Tailed Frog Garter Snake Night Snake (Northern Pacific) Rattlesnake Pacific Tree Frog (aka Pacific Chorus Frog) Red-eared Slider (a turtle)

Roughskin Newt (a salamander) Rubber Boa Tiger Salamander (Western) Painted Turtle Western Skink (a lizard) Western Toad Wood Frog


Note: words in brackets are not part of the wordsearch.

YNC is an exciting nature discovery and environmental action program that invites young people

ages 5-12 years to have fun discovering nearby nature on Explorer Days with local experts, learn about native wildlife and plants in NatureWILD Magazine and take part in environmental actions to protect their habitat with the Action Awards program. For more information: www.ync.ca.

Find the YNC on Facebook! www.facebook.com/youngnaturalistsclubbc

b! u l C e h Join t ily per year

fam hips. $25 per ol members ur e for yo . scho in r z o a f g 5 a 4 ear or $ LD m es per y ureWI u t s a is N 4 r o . $20 fo scribe t Or sub ry or business r to ra etails o .ync.ca d e r class, lib o For m www e go to n i l n o sign up Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to YNC, 1620 Mt. Seymour Rd N.Vancouver, BC V7G 2R9

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