Close to a year in the making, Heritage Conservancy completed its wildlife-crossing signage project in Quakertown Swamp at the end of August. Along with help from East Rockhill and Richland Townships, Heritage Conservancy installed three wildlife-crossing signs along busy roads in the Quakertown Swamp to bring awareness to drivers about the delicate dance of our amphibian friends in the area. These signs will help to protect our important wildlife.
Each year, hundreds of salamanders, frogs, and other small amphibians come out of hibernation and embark on a dangerous trek through the night to get to the vernal pools on the other side of the road in order to breed. Until a few years ago, the salamanders were going it alone and putting their lives at risk at the fate of an untimely car passing by.
Heritage Conservancy, Richland Township and their local police department, East Rockhill Township and their road crew, and a group of concerned citizens joined together to rally behind these critical critters and help provide them with safe passage. Annually, the Quakertown Swamp Amphibian Rescue Partnership (QSARP) helps hundreds of amphibians cross the road by keeping cars at bay.
Since there are usually a few stragglers during this mass exodus and QSARP members can’t be there to serve as crossing guards to every last salamander, the wildlife-crossing signs will help to remind drivers to keep alert and mind the amphibians on their journey through the night.
Getting these signs installed to keep our wildlife safe was a large undertaking. It required a great deal of Heritage Conservancy’s staff time to apply for the grants to help fund the project, and it involved staff time to help manage it. When the organization installed the signs at the end of August, staff members were thrilled that these signs would serve as a continuous bolster for QSARP and wildlife protection, and they were pleased to have this tangible symbol of the fruits of their labor and the community support behind it.
Unfortunately, less than two weeks after the signs were installed, one of the three signs was stolen. Non-profit organizations in our community are constantly in need of resources, and they all work hard to obtain funding through grant applications, donations, and membership. Because the successes of Heritage Conservancy benefit everyone and because community support helps to achieve them, this act of vandalism doesn’t just affect Heritage Conservancy–it affects all of us.
With so much wonderful community support for its mission, it would be hard to be deterred by the misconduct of a lone individual or small group. Heritage Conservancy has hopes to eventually reinstall the sign to continue protecting the important wildlife of the Quakertown Swamp. If you happen to drive by one of the wildlife signs, think about the hard work that went into putting that sign into the ground, and give yourself a pat on the back for helping to put it there. Oh, and watch out for crossing salamanders!