Why We Should Save the Newts

California newts are a species of special concern.


Newts are not only cute, but they’re pretty astonishing creatures. These small salamanders can live up to 20 years, produce a strong toxin — which is only dangerous if they’re ingested — and are even fire resistant: when California newts are close to fire, their skin foams up and crusts over, creating a protective insulation from the flames.

While statewide they are not protected, they are considered a “species of special concern,” and local ones are in trouble. Every winter newts migrate from the Chileno Valley hills to Laguna Lake, where they breed, but they have to cross Chileno Valley Road in order to do so.

After seeing dozens of dead newts smashed by cars on the road, Chileno Valley residents Sally and Mike Gale decided to act, starting the Chileno Valley Newt Brigade.

The group consists of volunteer environmentalists, scientists and North Bay residents who will be helping the newts this season, ferrying them across the road during peak migration time. Similar efforts have been taking place in New York’s Hudson Valley for over 10 years.

For more information about the project please contact Sally at [email protected].

To donate, click here.


Kasia Pawlowska

Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is never-ending.