Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green

(photo courtesy of

It's not easy being green ...
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky
But green's the color of Spring ...

There are still a few decent people in this world. Check out
this heartwarming story from about Lisa Levinson, who has successfully gotten the Philadelphia Streets Department to close several streets and detour traffic in the city's Roxborough section ... for the annual toad migration.

The wha ...? Yes, the annual toad migration. Lest it be confused with some Manayunk (another nearby neighborhood) pub crawl or festival, the toad migration is, a
ccording to Philadelphia Daily News reporter Gloria Campisi, "a mating ritual during which the toads leave the woods around the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education and head for the Roxborough Reservoir to find a toad of the opposite sex. Rainy weather and a series of warm days are their siren song to burrow out from the loose soil where they have spent the winter in dormancy and kick up their heels."

The roads closed for the toads are frequently used by drivers when avoiding traffic lights on nearby busy Ridge Avenue. They're the same roads that the toads use to get to the reservoir. Being all hopped-up with the excitement of mating season (and really, can we blame the toads after this dreary, long winter?) they don't always look both ways when crossing the street ... plus, the migration occurs at night. Nor do drivers slow down.

So last year Lisa Levinson decided to do something about the fate of the toads that were routinely being run over.

According to the article, Levinson noticed the toad migration several years ago. She says, "A couple hundred toads trying to cross the road. The next year I started trying to help the toads cross," standing in the roadway asking drivers to slow down."The police were called - about me. So they came out to see if there was something wrong with me."When she tried to get the authorities involved last year, she said, "they told me to call 9-1-1. So I did."They brought two [police] cars and they just closed down [a] portion of the road for a couple of hours. They were very, very understanding."

In anticipation of this year's toad migration (expected sometime around the first week or two of April), Lisa and a team of "volunteer toad-spotters" have begun scouting out the roads at twilight for signs of the toads. Whenever the migration begins, they'll spring into action by activating a phone tree and sending text messsages and e-mail. Additional volunteers will put up temporary road-detour signs that have been issued by the Philadelphia Streets Department. All to help the toads find true love.

With all the depressing crap in the news these days, how can anyone not toad-ally love this story?

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