April Showers bring Critter Count and Critter Events to Vancouver's Water Center

Press Release Date:
Monday, April 4, 2016
Come join in Critter fun, 9 a.m.-noon & 1-3 p.m., Saturday, April 9

Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 9, when Vancouver’s Water Resources Education Center celebrates its 16th annual Critter Count with critter-finding and critter-watching. Start Saturday morning counting critters in their natural habitat. Then, see more critters up close at a live show with snakes, lizards and other reptiles at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way. Join in one or both events:

CRITTER COUNT (9 a.m. - noon) – The Water Center is seeking the public’s help in field surveys of amphibians and reptiles. Critter Count begins at 9 a.m. with a brief training session conducted by a wildlife biologist for a quick overview of the identification of frogs, snakes, salamanders, lizards and other local amphibians and reptiles. Find out how you can be a “herp hero” and take simple actions that protect water and critters. Next, participants will venture out into the field 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 with the search and critter identification. 

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, and children must be accompanied throughout the count by adults. At least one adult chaperone is required for every three students in grades 3-8. For younger ages, please have one adult chaperone per child. 

Frogs and other amphibians are extremely sensitive to changing water quality and other environmental conditions. Keeping track of the numbers provides a better understanding of the conditions they are facing. Critter Count is a partnership of the City of Vancouver’s Water Resources Education Center; Columbia Springs; CASEE Center, a program of the Battle Ground School District; US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Northwest Ecological Research Institute.  

SECOND SATURDAY (1 - 3 p.m.) – Critter fun continues at the Water Center at 1 p.m., when visitors have an opportunity to view snakes, lizards and other reptiles up close. The Water Center welcomes Creature Features with two live critter shows, starting at 1 p.m. and again at 2:00 p.m. Learn fascinating facts about all sorts of reptiles and the challenges in bringing them into your home as pets. Families are especially encouraged to join in these Earth month celebrations. Note: Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Admission is free!

For additional information, please 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.

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 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Friday, 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.


Cory Samia, Educator, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver Public Works, 360-487-7111 or cory.samia@cityofvancouver.us

Brooke Porter, Outreach Coordinator, Vancouver Public Works, 360-487-7116 or brooke.porter@cityofvancouver.us