Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vernal Pools

It is now late winter-early spring and the small frozen pools have thawed out and life is returning into them.  From minute creatures all away up to frogs and salamanders, they are reappearing and restarting the life-cycle again.

On Tuesday I was photographing some of the life in the vernal pools.  The weather has been cold to cool were only a couple of warm days noted.  Two days ago, it was much warmer and at one of the pools.  There were many would frogs noted.  Today, because it was very cool last night at a.  The pools, there were no would frogs noted.  However, a wood frog was found at one of the other pools.

vernal pool

vernal pool
fairy shrimp

fairy shrimp

fairy shrimp

Predaceous  diving beetle

Predaceous  diving beetle
mosquito larvae
wood frog
wood frog

Allens Pond Massachusetts Audubon Society Wildlife Sanctuary staff, Lauren Miller, led a group of students from New Bedford Vocational Tech in learning about vernal pools.  Using dip nets, the students brought up samples from the pools and learn to identify some of the creatures that inhabit the vernal pools.  We placed some of the life into an aquarium, where I photographed them.  All life was returned to the pools where they came from so that they could continue to progress in their lifecycle.

We found mostly fairy shrimp, mosquito larvae, aquatic beetles and one wood frog.  There were also a number of just above microscopic organisms present.

The Environmental Science and Technology program at New BedfordVocational Technical provides students with the skills needed to pursue a career in a diverse range of technical areas
including: GIS mapping, environmental sciences, natural resources and
engineering. Students conduct a variety of field experiments in a diverse range
of local ecosystems. Students will learn to operate handheld GPS units (Global
Positioning Systems) and ArcGIS mapping software (Geographic Information
Systems) in order to locate, evaluate, and maintain environmental areas.
Students will maintain and conduct authentic aquaculture/hydroponics experiments
in a state of the art Aquaculture Laboratory. Upper level students will conduct
research and independent studies in the fields of Applied Water Technology,
Environmental site assessment, Environmental site remediation and Conservation
practices. Students are involved in an assortment of environmental projects on
the local, state and Federal levels. A variety of certifications and licenses
will be offered including First Aid, CPR, 40 Hour OSHA Hazardous Waste Operation
Certificate and Massachusetts Wastewater Certificate. The students will compete
in the Skills USA and Massachusetts Envirothon competition. The department has
established partnerships with higher education institutions in order to provide
our students with college credits and associations needed to make a successful
transition to college.

These students, come out to the sanctuary a few times a month to learn and to work in help maintaining the sanctuary.

I have found the students to be very energetic, and I want to congratulate New Bedford vocational tech in providing this type of education