Studying Vernal Pools
News flash: DRWA is looking for people to monitor vernal pools in the watershed this spring and summer.
We will be studying the breeding habits of wood frogs and spotted salamanders, two species that are dependent on vernal pools for their survival. The goal of the project is to monitor vernal pools and their inhabitants on a long-term basis to gain information on their abundance, distribution and diversity in the watershed.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning about the wonderful variety of life found in these unique habitats, this project is for you. Surveys will take place at vernal pools on state and town-owned properties. Participants are required to attend training sessions to learn monitoring methods and the identification of frogs and salamanders that breed in vernal pools.
Training sessions will be held in March in Greenfield. Fieldwork begins when the amphibians initiate their breeding season, usually between the end of March and throughout April.
Please contact Pat Serrentino at (413) 772-0520 or email@example.com for more information on the project, or if interested in volunteering.
Vernal pool ecosystems are excellent subjects for study by both adults and young people. Pools are usually safe to access and explore and do not require expensive equipment for study. Potential vernal pool explorers should keep in mind a few suggestions for protecting the pool’s inhabitants:
- Do not collect salamanders, turtles, frogs, etc. from the pool (see guidelines)
- When entering the pool, be careful to avoid amphibian eggs and animals; stay only long enough to collect the necessary information
- Do not handle critters or put your hands in the water if you have chemicals such as insect repellent or sunscreen on them
- When photographing or identifying amphibians and other organisms, keep them moist or wet, handle gently (do not handle salamanders by the tail), and release animals in the same part of the pool where you found them
- Keep dogs out of vernal pools
- Supervise children and make sure they are careful with the animals
- Do not remove the eggs from the pool to photograph: place a plastic container underneath egg masses and photograph.