April 13, 2012

My readers love animals, and when you all write about Earth Day, you often write about the fact that you wish you could help animals. You can, if you look for opportunities in your own community.

  Tom and Debora Mann, who live in a small town near Jackson, Mississippi, are helping animals in their community. On most rainy nights in the spring there, dozens of salamanders try to cross a road, moving from their winter burrows to ponds on the other side, where they will mate. The salamanders can only mate once a year, so they are determined to cross that road. And unfortunately, there is traffic on that road and cars run over the salamanders in the dark.

The Manns worked with local police to be sure they could safely help the salamanders. The police department has installed two flashing lights and a lower speed limit sign at the salamander crossing, and drivers get a ticket for breaking the speed limit. On rainy spring nights you will find the Manns, along with other volunteers, scooping salamanders into plastic containers, carrying them safely across the road to their breeding pond.


Thomas Mann, who is a zoologist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, would like to see the state close this two-mile stretch of highway for the salamander breeding season each year. But until that happens, he, his wife and a handful of other volunteers are out there on rainy nights, trying to make a difference.

What kind of animals need help in your community? Could your local ASPCA use volunteers? Is there a wildlife sanctuary anywhere nearby? Or you could call your local Cooperative Extension to find out where volunteers are needed. Work with your family or your teacher, and I bet you will find a way to help!

Photos: James Patterson/The New York Times 

Be part of Seymour Simon’s celebration of Earth Day 2012 by commenting on blog stories like this one, and telling Seymour about YOUR Earth Day Promises! How are you going to make a difference for the Earth? What will you do to make it be Earth Day / every day? Each time you leave a comment between today and April 22, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free, personally autographed book from Seymour Simon. So get started by clicking "comments" below, and tell us about Your Earth Day Promises!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(12) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Conservation, Earth Day 2012   •  Permalink (link to this article)   •  Share: