Kindling Neighborly Connections between People and Nature.

Monday, April 26, 2021

A Lot Happening Beneath the Surface

This time of year a walk in a forest can be a magical experience. Redbuds and serviceberry trees blossom with purple and white respectively while the songs of pine, yellow-rumped, and palm warblers contribute to the woodland soundscape. If that seems like a lot to take in, there’s even more happening beneath the surface. Decomposing bugs have resumed their activity in the leaf litter of the forest floor and with them red-backed salamanders are busy gobbling up decomposing bugs, voracious little predators that they are! Dusky salamanders are back at it too, on the prowl for bugs to eat mostly stream-side. Home for these salamanders is a world within worlds hidden beneath rocks, leaves, and other debris on the forest floor. 

During a recent adventure at Roundtop Park I wanted to take a peek into the secret life of salamanders. I carefully turned over some rocks, observed a few salamanders, and was careful to place those rocks just like I found them. I wanted to leave each salamander’s home in good order. After all, these tiny tailed amphibians are our neighbors and the health of the forest depends on them (more to come on that in a video I’ve got in the works!). I want to be a good neighbor to them. 

The next time you take a walk in a forest, let your curiosity lead you to discover worlds within worlds. Turn over some rocks. Make the acquaintance with some truly remarkable neighbors. In every forest, there’s a lot happening beneath the surface.

Northern dusky salamander

Red-backed salamander

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