May 2017 Most of the time, the staff of Michael House homeless hostel in Boscombe, try to keep their residents off the streets. But on Tuesday nights between January and May, they take them back- to save endangered wildlife.
They’re working a shift on the Ringwood and Poulner Toad Patrol. Teresa Baker started this 28 years ago, when she saw how many toads were killed on Gorley Road as they made their way from Ringwood Forest to spawn in Blashwood Lakes. Teresa thinks the patrol, now registered with Frog Life, may be the oldest in the county.
So far this year, the whole patrol has saved over 720 toads. The Michael House residents have been a big part of this.
“People criticise homeless people,” says Teresa, “but it’s amazing they are coming all the way from Boscombe to do this. It’s very important work. The toads play a big part in the local ecosystem.”
Apparently, it’s one of the most popular activities arranged by the house. “There are always more volunteers than spaces in the car,” says CEO Mark Horsford. “We hope to do it next year too.”