Heritage Conservancy recently had the opportunity to share the organization’s mission with fourth graders at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, PA. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his devotion to civic engagement and helping others, Heritage Conservancy’s Senior Land Conservationist Laura Baird and Conservancy board member Judy Chang Cody gave a talk to over 50 students about protecting historic heritage, land, and more specifically—the habitats of little critters known as amphibians.
While highlighting the importance of protecting land to save our wildlife, Laura Baird shared with the students a lively presentation about the Conservancy’s Quakertown Swamp Amphibian Rescue Partnership (QSARP). QSARP is a group of staff members and volunteers who, with the help of local police departments, close off busy roads on rainy nights to allow safe passage for salamanders, frogs and other amphibians coming out of hibernation. Amphibians are bioindicators, which means that they are sensitive to changes in their surrounding environment and any dropoff in population could mean a decline in the ecosystem. It is paramount to pay close attention to these “canaries in the coal mine.”
The students were enthralled by what they learned and enthusiastic about getting involved in Heritage Conservancy’s volunteer efforts.
After Ms. Baird’s presentation, the group went outside for a literal “field” trip: they walked over to the 6-acre nature preserve on Germantown Academy’s grounds to explore the area and look for amphibian habitats.
When Ms. Baird made the call of a spring peeper frog, the outlandish sound was met with laughter and wonderment from the children.
The students were so inspired by their morning spent learning about Heritage Conservancy’s efforts in rescuing amphibians that they got right to work putting together a creative skit about salamanders!
“The children were genuinely interested and stimulated by what Laura and Judy shared on behalf of Heritage Conservancy,” said David Nagel, 4th grade teacher at Germantown Academy. “The work that the Conservancy does is so important as it opens the childrens’ minds to the idea of conservation, an idea that I’m pretty certain they hadn’t known or thought much about before. We look forward to April, after the rains have come, to go looking for salamanders.”