Hero of the Week: Brett Amy Thelen

Image: Harris Center

When spring comes to Keene, NH thousands of amphibians like salamanders and frogs begin to emerge from their frozen states to return to the vernal pools where they were born. Unfortunately reaching the vernal pools requires crossing a busy road where frogs and salamanders are no match for cars. As the Washington Post explained, “Keene’s City Council unanimously voted to set up road closures and barriers on nights of major amphibian migration.” A small army of volunteers coordinated and trained by Brett Amy Thelen, science director of Harris Center for Conservation Education helps the amphibians make it to safety. Thelen obsessively monitors the weather and keeps a Five-Day Salamander Forecast on the center’s website to ready volunteers to help the animals cross the road. Since 2007, volunteers trained by the Harris Center have succefully helped about 43,000 creatures get across roads in the Monadnock Region of southwestern New Hampshire.

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