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Vernal Pool Mapping and Conservation

WHEN: Saturday March 24, 2018 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

WHERE: Maine Lake Science Center, 51 Willett Road, Bridgton

Ever explored a vernal pool? Vernal pools are ephemeral bodies of water (here today, gone tomorrow) that are an important breeding habitat for a number of upland amphibians who live in the forest (like spring peepers, blue spotted salamanders and wood frogs). Vernal pools are vital breeding habitat because of their constant flux they cannot support fish species (which means fish are not eating the amphibian eggs). Unfortunately the same aspects that make it safer for the eggs make it a race against the clock for growing tadpoles- the pools might dry out before the little babies are ready! This disappearing trick also makes vernal pools challenging to identify, map and protect- but extremely valuable to do so as they are protected by law under the Natural Resources Protection Act. In this workshop, attendees will explore vernal pool ecology and research with UMO post-doc Kristine Hoffmann,  and become familiar with species and assessment data sheets during an indoor session; and then put their knowledge to practice as we head to the field to visit pools, identify egg masses, and determine significant habitat.

We hope to begin a group of vernal pool mappers who would be willing to visit local land owners and assess seasonal depressions, aiding folks in determining if pools are significant and therefore protected. We also hope to add to Maine’s vernal pool database to aid scientists in determining changes in pool size and species. Please join us if you are committed to understanding more about these special spaces, and interested in contributing to science as a citizen volunteer. A number of towns across Maine are already doing this and we hope to put Bridgton and the Lakes Region on the map! For more information please contact alanna@leamaine.org.

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