The highlight of this month was assisting with a great crested newt (GCN) training course with Froglife Ecological Services. GCN are rare and a European protected species, meaning it is illegal to disturb them or their habitat without a license. Being able to survey for GCN is important for identifying, monitoring and conserving their populations, but it must be carried out responsibly. Our training courses, delivered by a GCN license-holder, give people the skills and knowledge to survey for GCN responsibly, and helps participants work towards their own license.
Being involved in this training course was a fantastic opportunity for me to learn more, improve my newt identification skills, and gain practical survey experience with egg searching, netting, torching and bottle trapping. It was also a lot of fun to go out surveying and exciting to see these newts in real life for the first time.
This month I also worked with a trainee from another Froglife project to co-write an article on the role of ponds in combatting climate change for our online newsletter, Croaking Science, and present our findings to the rest of the Froglife team. We researched the ability of ponds to absorb carbon and other greenhouse gases from the surrounding environment, which they do at a remarkable rate. We found that ponds, despite their small size, play a significant role in carbon absorption comparable to much larger and better-known carbon sinks such as marine and woodland habitats. Our findings highlight the role that ponds play in combatting climate change – and this is something that we can implement from the comfort of our own gardens! You can read the article in full here: Ponds Against Climate Change (froglife.org). This was a really cool project and I love that I can spend time researching and writing about topics that I find interesting. I will be writing another article next month on how some amphibians and reptiles are adapted to survive in extreme cold-climates – check back in then to find out more!