Tiny Slimy Carbon Keepers

Protecting urban ecosystems maintains natural balances in the carbon cycle and reduces city contributions to climate change. Participants become salamanders and eat organisms that disrupt the carbon cycle in the forest’s leaf litter zone.

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  • Built Infrastructure
  • Ecology
  • Land Use


How to Get this Kit

If you would like to borrow a CUSP climate change education kit, contact Pat McShea at Please make requests at least one week in advance. Loans may be scheduled up to two months in advance.

Big Questions

  • What roles do plants and animals play in the carbon cycle?
  • How do salamanders regulate carbon in Pittsburgh’s forest ecosystem?

User Reviews

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Learn More

Salamanders play a mostly unrecognized role in the global carbon cycle by eating leaf-shredding invertebrates whose grazing releases carbon back into the atmosphere. Learn more: New York Times: Salamander’s Hefty Role in the Forest