A Vernal Explosion of Life

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spotted salamander on leaf cover

On an early spring day, biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra stand in front of a vernal pool in Strafford. It’s noisy.

“The wood frogs are going berserk behind us,” says McFarland. “The sunlight has come down out of the clouds and warmed them up – they are ready to go.”

Zahendra adds that on top of the wonderful noise, you can see the frogs everywhere. “They are jumping all over logs, they are grabbing onto each other. There are these ice patches in the very middle of the vernal pool and they are jumping all over the ice patches. They are all here for one reason: getting ready to mate,” she says.

The Vermont Center for Ecostudies’ Steve Faccio, who specializes in vernal pools, joins the biologists at the site. “This is one of my favorite vernal pools around,” says Faccio. “It’s got a wicked big population of wood frogs, spotted salamanders, Jefferson salamanders and fairy shrimp.”

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Sara Zahendra admires a pair of Wood Frogs that are about to be placed back in the vernal pool. /© K.P. McFarland

Sara Zahendra admires a pair of Wood Frogs that are about to be placed back in the vernal pool. /© K.P. McFarland

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Comments (1)

  1. Debbie Bushey says:

    Wow, I just listen in on the program about vernal pools and hearing the wood frogs. Now I know what is the sound I’m hearing just up the road from me. I live on Hammond shore road, Franklin, Vt. I thought it was a lot of turkeys clucking in the woods.

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