Slither, crawl or hop to the Water Center’s Critter Count on April 8

VANCOUVER — Clark County area residents should mark their calendars for Sat., April 8, when Vancouver’s Water Resources Education Center celebrates its 17th annual Critter Count by seeking and exploring a variety of critters.

It starts that Saturday morning, with the annual counting of critters in their natural habitat. A live show with snakes, lizards and other reptiles follows in the afternoon at the Water Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver.

Critter Count participants discover a newt during the 2016 Critter Count event. This year’s 17th annual event will be held on Sat., April 8, from 9 a.m.-noon. Photo courtesy of the city of Vancouver
Critter Count participants discover a newt during the 2016 Critter Count event. This year’s 17th annual event will be held on Sat., April 8, from 9 a.m.-noon. Photo courtesy of the city of Vancouver

Join in one or both events:
Critter Count, 9 a.m.-noon: The Water Center invites the public to help with field surveys of amphibians and reptiles. Critter Count begins at 9 a.m. with a brief training session conducted by a wildlife biologist. Participants will get a quick overview of the identification of local frogs, snakes, salamanders, lizards, and other amphibians and reptiles, then venture out to one of four sites to find and record critters in their natural habitat. A wildlife expert and a site coordinator will be on hand at each location to help.

Participants must provide their own transportation to field sites. For a great experience, please come equipped with boots, warm clothes, a lunch and, if possible, binoculars. Training, field guidebooks, equipment, snacks and water will be provided. All ages are welcome to participate, but children must be accompanied throughout the count by adults. At least one adult chaperone is required for every three students in grades third to eighth. For younger ages, please have one adult chaperone per child.

Frogs and other amphibians are extremely sensitive to water quality and changing environmental conditions. Keeping track of the numbers provides a better understanding of the challenges they are facing, and data gathered during Critter Count is available to management agencies.

Second Saturday, 1-3 p.m.: Critter fun continues in the afternoon at the Water Center, where visitors have an opportunity to get a close view of snakes, lizards and other reptiles. The Water Center welcomes Creature Feature with two live critter shows, starting at 1 p.m. and again at 2 p.m. Learn fascinating facts about reptiles and the challenges in bringing them into your home as pets. Find out how you can be a “herp hero” with simple actions that protect water and critters. Families are especially encouraged to join in this Earth month celebration. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Admission is free.

Critter Count is a partnership of the city of Vancouver’s Water Resources Education Center; US Fish and Wildlife, Ridgefield; Columbia Springs; CASEE Center, a program of the Battle Ground School District; and the Northwest Ecological Research Institute.

For additional information about Critter Count and the Critter Shows on Sat.,, April 8, call (360) 487-7111 or click here to visit the Critter Count page on the Water Center’s website. You can also learn about other events on the website at www.cityofvancouver.us/watercenter.

About the Water Resources Education Center
Overlooking the Columbia River, the city of Vancouver’s Water Resources Education Center offers exhibits, events and educational programs designed to teach us all how to be excellent stewards of water resources and how to use water wisely. The Water Center, a division of the city’s Department of Public Works, is also caretaker of one of the metropolitan area’s few remaining natural Columbia River riparian areas, nearly 50 protected acres of adjacent wetlands providing feeding, nesting and resting habitat for more than 120 species of fish and wildlife. The Water Center is part of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve.

The Water Center’s general hours are Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. From Interstate 5 or Interstate 205, take state Highway 14 to Exit 1. Turn south under the highway, then east at the Columbia Shores intersection onto Columbia Way and head east about 3 miles to the Water Center. More information is available on the Internet at www.cityofvancouver.us/watercenter or by calling (360) 487-7111.

This information was provided by the city of Vancouver.

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