More than 100 people attended an open house at the Kanaka Creek Stewardship Centre to get their fill of amphibians on Sunday.
Children young and old tried their hand at catching aquatic insects and tadpoles in the ponds on site and learning about their finds.
The event was held to raise awareness of native species including the Pacific tree frog and the red-legged frog and teach participants about the habitat they need to survive and prosper, in addition to some of the challenges they face including invasive species and loss of habitat due to development.
“Tree frogs often spawn in small tiny ponds and ditches,” explained Ross Davies, with the Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society.
“They’ve evolved to do that to avoid larger predators and those are usually the fist to go when there are subdivisions,” he continued.
A representative with Metro Vancouver was on hand to explain what amphibians can tell us about the environment.
Pond water collected right outside of the stewardship centre was filled with invertebrates and many species that will give information about their immediate living conditions.
Damselflies and dragonflies were some of the species collected and, the representative explained to eager listeners, the water has to be at least a medium clean in order for them to survive. And, she said, if you are lucky enough to find amphibians, which they did, it tells you that the water is beyond impeccable, because they are really sensitive to contaminants and pollution.
A bullfrog tadpole was also found in the water, but Davies explained, bullfrogs are an invasive species that were originally brought to this part of the country in the early 20th century by people wanting to farm them for their legs.
Davies is instructed to euthanize any bullfrogs that he finds, but he didn’t have the heart to kill this one.
“This guy is going to reside in an aquarium in the George Ross room here for the next foreseeable future,” he laughed.
“So we have a mascot.”
The Kanaka Creek Stewardship Centre open houses take place once a month into November. The next open house will take place on July 15 about plants.
But, Davies says, the park is open every day during daylight hours so people are free to come, look around the site, check out the ponds and have a picnic.
“It’s just a really nice place to come and relax and avoid the crowds you find at other places too,” he said.
The Kanaka Creek Stewardship Centre is located at 11450 256 Street in Maple Ridge.
For more information about KEEPS go to keeps.org.