SALAMANDERS aren't often a topic of everyday conversations or editorials, and they're an unusual subject for a workshop.
Now, because of the work of the Belmont County and Guernsey County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, area residents -both adults and children - will have the opportunity to see spotted salamanders as they migrate to breeding pools on a farm near Bethesda.
A precise date for the salamander workshop can't be given at this time, because certain conditions are necessary before the little creatures appear. They live almost entirely underground.
The workshop will be at the end of this month or in March, and those on the reservation list will be called within a 24 -48 hour notice of the time. Accepting reservations is Joe Lehman, wildlife/forestry specialist in the Guernsey County Soil and Water Conservation District, (740) 432-5624.
Also cooperating in the workshop plans is Liza Butler, Belmont County SWCD wildlife/forestry specialist.
Authorities reveal the best time to view the salamanders is at night either after or during an early spring precipitation when the temperature is around 50 degrees. Those participating are to bring flashlights and to dress according to the weather.
The workshop will be on the farm of Rosemary and Malvern Campbell, 61121 South 26 Road, Bethesda.
OHIO HAS 26 species of salamanders, and the ones viewed during the upcoming workshop will be spotted salamanders as they migrate toward pools on the Campbell farm to lay eggs. Other types of salamanders also are on the Bethesda area farm, but they migrate at a different time of year.
Officials of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources noted these salamanders' fist-sized egg masses, each of which contain less than 100 eggs, is attached to a submerged stick or plant. The eggs aren't that large when laid, but the jelly-like substance that covers them swells when the eggs come in contact with the water.
It isn't known how many spotted salamanders will be migrating during the workshop, but it could be a couple dozen to several hundred, according to Lehman.
Regardless, it'll be an unusual sight to see.