Naturalist’s Corner: Vernal Equinox and Vernal Pools
Posted March 18, 2020
Written by Kyla Isakson
Tomorrow is the first day of spring! Also known as the Vernal Equinox, the first day of spring marks a time for longer and sunnier days. This is a time for new life and awakening as many birds start to return to their summer breeding grounds, many small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians come out of hibernation, and plants start to emerge and flower.
Vernal pools, which are depressions in the ground, start to thaw out and fill with water, creating a unique habitat for organisms like fairy shrimp, wood frogs, spotted salamanders, Jefferson salamanders, blue-spotted salamanders, and marbled salamanders. These species are known as indicator species, which help identify a wetland as a vernal pool. If you see these organisms in a wetland, then you’re looking at a vernal pool.
Since vernal pools have a wet and dry season, the area is not suitable for many organisms that require water year round. This makes vernal pools a safe place for many insects and amphibians to lay their eggs because they do not have to worry about larger predators. When a spring rain creates loose, moist soil, salamanders stir and migrate towards the vernal pool where they were born and breed. After laying their eggs in the pool, they travel back to the forest. Keep an eye out for these little critters!
Itching to get outside and enjoy the nicer weather? Visit our website to find a trail to explore on your own and enjoy what nature has to offer!
Check out our website and Facebook page to learn more about our properties, events, programs, and volunteer opportunities! http://warehamlandtrust.org/
*Please remember that during this time of concern about the spread of COVID-19, it is critical to limit your contact with others and practice good hygiene.*