National Capital Commission (NCC) students Karine Labelle (left) and Valerie Bertrand were assessing the population of Western Chorus frogs along Ch. Pilon in Luskville this week. The two University of Ottawa biology students have the enviable task of travelling around the region to visit known breeding grounds, listening for the calls of 10 types of amphibians, including the Wood frog and American toad. GPS devices, maps and audio equipment are used to record the estimated amount of frogs in an area. Population is rated on a scale from 'zero' to 'three': 'zero' indicates no frog calls at all. 'One' means a few calls, 'two' means the calls are frequent enough to overlap and 'three' means the calls are deafening, making conversation difficult.
You will all be pleased to know Ch. Pilon is rocking out with a rating of three... and up. On a walk later that week, I noticed several beautiful spheres of frog spawn suspended in the warm stagnant water along the road sides. Frogs are considered 'indicator' species: if frog populations disappear, something bad is happening to the environment: they are truly 'canaries in the coal mine'. So it's incredibly encouraging to know that natural health and life can still proliferate in the disregarded and unkempt corners of our rural world.