Pacific Spirit Park Society volunteers. Photo: Metro Vancouver

A dedicated group of nature enthusiasts is helping protect amphibians in Pacific Spirit Regional Park by cleaning up the ponds the critters call home.

In spring, volunteers with the Pacific Spirit Park Society picked up garbage from ponds within the forest, removed invasive plant species and got rid of excess wood debris. Their efforts made the ponds more hospitable to frogs and salamanders, and will boost the creatures' survival rates, according to the Metro Vancouver federation of municipalities.

Later this fall, they're planning to plant native vegetation and make the ponds deeper. The work schedule was planned around the frog and salamander life cycle, with volunteers only working on the ponds once adults had moved into the woods.

Amphibians begin their life in water, but move on land as they grow up. The creatures are valuable to the medical and pharmaceutical industries, but they're also essential players in the local ecosystems because they eat bugs and transport nutrients from aquatic to terrestrial environments.

Several amphibian species call Pacific Spirit Park home, including northwestern salamanders, long-toed salamanders, Pacific tree frogs and red-legged frogs. The latter is one B.C. species deemed at-risk.