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In The News....

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Edgeworth Dam Removal Spurs Fish Increase

A 2015 dam removal project in Little Sewickley Creek near Woodland Road in Edgeworth has helped increase fish species living in the waterway, local environmentalists said.

“We kept finding more than 29 species below the dam, but the same nine species above the dam,” said April Claus, Fern Hollow Nature Center's environmental education director.

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Wildlife Habitat

Recreating A Breeding Ground For Salamanders

About five years ago, what are known as Jefferson salamanders returned to the pond where they laid eggs each spring. But their breeding site—the pond, was gone, filled in with dirt and rocks. So when it came time for the creatures to lay their eggs, they migrated to what must have looked to them like a nice, new wet place. Unfortunately, what they found themselves in was a sewage plant.

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Slimy or Scaly?

Youngsters Learn Differences Between Reptiles and Amphibians and Much More

Wearing a shirt that proclaimed him to be a "Gecko Explorer," Tyler Alexander looked just as comfortable holding a foot-long milk snake as most kids his age would look holding a video-game controller.

"I really like snakes," said the 6-year-old from Shaler, who also is a fan of the gecko, a lizard. "I like how snakes shed their skin."

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Nature Education

Youths learn about region's reptiles, amphibians at Alameda Park

Visitors to Alameda Park Thursday evening got the chance to learn about the reptiles and amphibians of Pennsylvania, see how they eat and move and even picked them up.

While some children were at first apprehensive to approach the creatures, by the end of the night nearly everyone in attendance got to hold a snake.

Environmental educator April Claus has captured many reptiles and amphibians in her years of studies, and been presenting ...

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Herpetologist Visits Sixth Grade Science Classes

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, herpetologist April Claus visited Matt Brunner's sixth grade science classes at the Middle School.

Claus taught the students about amphibians and reptiles in Pennsylvania. She also brought some snakes, turtles, salamanders and frogs to the classroom for the students to see.

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Bell Acres/Sewickley Heights Pond Project Helps Protect Wildlife

For these Jeffersons, new ponds along the Bell Acres/Sewickley Heights border might seem like a deluxe apartment in the sky.

The ponds were created in the fall to keep Jefferson salamanders and frogs from dying in sewage in nearby tanks at a plant near Grouse Lane.

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Summer Camps

Toads, Turtles and Snakes Delight at Alcosan Summer Camp

April Claus dangled a worm over the tank of her garter snake. The couple of dozen fourth- and fifth-graders in front of her were rapt as the thin reptile lifted itself several inches up, almost to the top. Then, in a flash, it snatched the worm.

The kids gasped and squealed and laughed. “He stole it!” Ms. Claus complained.

Josh and me
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