Outdoor Journal

The perfect first date?: Help save a species without leaving the comfort of your own car. Sound too good to be true? Read on, my friend: The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is looking for volunteers to help out with the statewide Calling Amphibian Survey, a gig (pardon the expression) that involves driving along established routes and stopping to listen for the amorous croaks of frogs and toads. The program is in its second year. Anyone interested in amphibians and willing to learn their calls is encouraged to participate. A first survey runs through Feb. 28, and two more are planned: March 15-April 30 and May 15-June 30.

“Future analyses of data will enable Commission biologists to monitor population trends and direct conservation and research efforts where they’re needed most,” says organizer Kendrick Weeks. (What’s more, chicks dig a guy who knows his toads.) For more information, contact Weeks at kendrick.weeks@earthlink.net.

You go, girls: Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina has announced its “Girls on Track” programs for sixth- through eighth-grade girls, planned for Erwin, Reynolds and Owen middle schools in Buncombe County; and for third- through fifth-grade girls, offered at Fairview, Haw Creek, Oakley, Isaac Dickson, West Buncombe, Leicester, Weaverville and Candler elementary schools. (Additional programs are planned for locations in Brevard, Waynesville and Cherokee.)

The nonprofit aims to help preadolescent girls gain self-esteem, establish healthy lifestyle habits, set goals and learn teamwork. The sessions, which begin the week of Jan. 29, are crowned with a 5K community run in the spring. For more information, call organizer Molly Peeples at 713-4290 or e-mail her at girlsontherunwnc@gmail.com.

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