Toads cross a Philadelphia road safely thanks to volunteers

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It can be tough for any of us to cross Philly streets so imagine what it's like if you're the size of a pebble.

The sign on Port Royal Avenue at Hagys Mill Road reads "Toad Crossing," but that warning isn't enough to protect young toads who must cross the roadway on their journey home.

"I've seen what happens when they get run over and it's horrible," said Ed Wickham, a volunteer for the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.

Wickham and other volunteers take turns each night helping toads cross the road safely. The roads are drawn from the reservoir where they recently hatched to the forest across the road.

Wickham takes great care in scooping up each toad before it makes its way to the road and the unforgiving traffic.

Wickham said sometimes there are hundreds of toads on the side of the road so the organization obtained a permit from the city that allows them to shut down the road from 7 to 9 each night.

The toads may be tiny but they're critical to the ecosystem, according to Wickham and worth his time.

Volunteers have been helping these creatures cross the road from March through June for more than a decade.

"I feel best when there is a toad and a car coming up to it and I run and stop the car and I save that toad," said Wickham. "It's a labor of love for creatures big and small."

If you're interested in volunteering, contact The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
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