After many meetings and hours spent learning about clams, the day for the clam rescue finally arrived. Lake Royal did not have the number of clams that Woodglen Lake did, but we were still able to count and save at least 200 clams! We happily measure and weighed at least 100 clams ourselves and then had the pleasure of throwing them into our own lake. It was truly a moment of joy. Only a short year ago we walked the shores of Woodglen Lake knowing that there was nothing we could do to help the mussel that had been lost during the lowering of the water. It is nice to know that in a very small way we played a part of helping our local eco system.
written by Gabriel Kim
Why are salamanders important? Salamanders perform various jobs that are beneficial to humankind. These jobs include feasting upon insects that we call pests, and maintaining the health of forests all over the world. Perhaps the most important role that salamanders play in the world is that they help prevent global warming.
The simplest job that salamanders perform for humankind is ingesting insects. By feasting upon various insects salamanders help limit diseases that certain insects spread. If salamanders didn't exist, then the world would be overrun by bugs, and humankind would be suffering from agonizing bug bites and deadly diseases. By ingesting insects salamanders also maintain the delicate balance of their habitat. If there were no salamanders to eat all the insects then the salamanders' habitat would wither away. However, the most important thing that salamanders accomplish by devouring insects is that they slow down the release of carbon into the world. You see, when the insects eat the decaying leaf litter on the forest floor they release carbon, but by preying on insects salamanders limit the amount of carbon that is released. Why is the release of carbon important? It is important because if there is too much carbon, nature doesn't have time to disperse the carbon into the world. This is dangerous because too much carbon in the world leads to erratic changes in the current environment. These changes have been labeled as global warming. Although salamanders cannot stop global warming, they can hinder it's progress, and is this is what makes salamanders so valuable.
Salamanders are remarkable creatures that are worth saving. They perform necessary jobs that are beneficial to us and the world, and never once have they asked for anything in return for completing these tasks. However, now the salamanders are suffering greatly for their kindness towards humanity. We releases so much poisonous chemicals into our streams and rivers that the salamanders are now dying from it. These creatures, who help limit global warming, a problem we caused are dying. It's time for us to help them as they have helped us.
The boys and I attended Lake Royal's fish shock in hopes that Woodglen Lake may be the recipient of some of the fish. No luck. Our lake does not have the eco system to support large fish yet, so DGIF will restock fish into the lake some time this year. But we did meet some pretty cool fish up close and Sammy got to 'release' some fish back into Lake Royal.
Thank you to everyone who helped make Salamander Day a success in our corner of the world. We had over 26 visitors that came through and learned about salamanders! The boys worked for weeks gathering information, designing and printing shirts, making games and posters. They really enjoyed spending some time on Friday with our 'special guest' (the spotted salamander) that they nick-named Rodrigo. A special thanks goes out to Rachael at Long Branch Nature Center for loaning us 'Rodrigo' for the event.
We highlighted the salamanders of Woodglen Lake, but there are so many more of these amazing amphibians throughout Virginia. If you are local and craving more salamanders visit the new exhibit Jewels of Appalachia at the National Zoo. To learn more about salamander conservation visit: http://www.fcsal.org/