By Isabelle Groc
One musician’s 10-year campaign to save toads inspired a song and brought his community together
Shortly after he moved with his wife, Libby, to a small rural community in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island in 1996, Kent Ball noticed small black dots moving on the road near his house during the month of August. He soon realized they were juvenile western toads migrating from the wetland where they were born to the forest where they live the rest of their lives.
The annual summer migration was a dangerous journey for the tiny toads, as they often ended up being squished by passing cars. “I was driving like most people do in our neighbourhood,” Ball says now. “You stop and realize, ‘Oh these are living things.’ They are no competition to a tire on a vehicle.”