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.”
- Vermont Vernal Pool Mapping Project
The continued success of this project depends on volunteers who “field-verify” suspected pools, most of which we have identified by viewing aerial satellite photos of Vermont and picking out spots that appear to be pools. We also encourage you to report the location of vernal pools that you know but are not yet mapped.
- VT Fish and Wildlife Dept
Vernal Pools: what are they and how you can conserve them.
- The Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas
- Learn more about the spotted salamander
- Learn more about the wood frog