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Field Report from the 2012 Vernal Pool Project

September 19, 2012

We’ve spent the summer sorting through data collected for our Vernal Pool Project, and we’re excited to announce that our volunteers documented 49 new vernal pools this spring in Keene, Peterborough, Jaffrey, and Surry, bringing our project total to nearly 80 documented vernal pools on public and conserved land in the Monadnock Region!

Jefferson salamander eggs, documented in a vernal pool in the Greater Goose Pond Forest in Keene. (photo © Kelly Garner)

Jefferson salamander eggs, documented in a vernal pool in the Greater Goose Pond Forest in Keene. (photo © Kelly Garner)

A vernal pool on the Stearns Hill Conservation Land in Keene, documented by AUNE student Kelly Garner in 2012. (photo © Kelly Garner)

A vernal pool on the Stearns Hill Conservation Land in Keene, documented by AUNE student Kelly Garner in 2012. (photo © Kelly Garner)

Along the way, our team of intrepid vernal pool citizen scientists also discovered three previously-unknown Jefferson salamander occurrences  (a Species of Special Concern in New Hampshire) and identified nearly 20 new potential vernal pools to scope out next spring. Data and photographs from vernal pools on public land are displayed via our newly-updated online, interactive map.

This was the Vernal Pool Project’s inaugural year in Peterborough, where a crew of 20 particularly enthusiastic citizen scientists visited 50 potential vernal pools, documenting 25 as active amphibian breeding sites. In Keene, Antioch University New England graduate student Kelly Garner combed conservation land, documenting and monitoring vernal pools as potential field sites for her master’s thesis research on the impacts of foot traffic on trailside vernal pools. 6th graders from the Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School also documented their very first vernal pool in Jaffrey this spring!

Do spring-breeding amphibians pique your interest? The Peterborough Vernal Pool Project is still underway, and many potential vernal pools will need to be ground-truthed in Peterborough and on Harris Center and Monadnock Conservancy lands in 2013. Visit our Vernal Pool Project page for more information, then contact Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 358-2065 or by email to volunteer.