Naturalist Perspectives Challenge: Find a Vernal Pool

Spring is a great time to find vernal pools in New England. To complete this challenge, visit a vernal pool, work through the following instructions and publish a post on your blog by May 1st. It might be helpful to see if any conservation organizations, like Mass Audubon, have vernal pool events coming up.

  1. Spend some time just observing and exploring this vernal pool.
  2. Record your observations in your notebook, once again including date, time, location and weather conditions. Try to recording information responding to these prompts:
    • How large is it?
    • How deep is it?
    • What organisms are present?
    • What kinds of interactions might the pool have with its surroundings?
  3. Optional: If you would like to conduct an observation transect here, go for it! Just make sure you’re not disrupting this ecosystem or inconveniencing other visitors.
  4. Gather more information about this vernal pool; try to find out how long it lasts, where the water came from, what animals can be found there and anything else you are interested in. If the pool is located in a wildlife sanctuary, talk with the staff there, take a look in the sanctuary’s visitor center or check out their website.
  5. Respond to at least one of the following:
    • What properties of life and water are present in this vernal pool?
    • Why can we consider the vernal pool to be an ecosystem, and what kind of interactions occur in this ecosystem? You may need to consult the textbook chapter on ecology if you choose to work on this before we discuss ecology in class.
  6. Summarize your work for steps 1 – 5 in a blog post.
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