The Toads of Mt. Saint Helens When Mount Saint Helens erupted 19 years ago, it wiped out all life over a huge swath of mountainside. Or so people thought. NPR's Howard Berkes travels with a team of scientists to a remarkable scene, a mating frenzy of toads that survived the debacle and now thrives. Scientists say the toads' progress is a lesson in how ecosystems recover from environmental cataclysms.