COVID-19 UPDATE: The Harris Center building will be closed to visitors until further notice. Our trails and grounds remain open.

Field Report from the 2013 Vernal Pool Project

November 19, 2013

We’re thrilled to announce that our citizen scientists and student interns documented 50 new vernal pools in Antrim, Hancock, Marlborough, Peterborough, Stoddard, Swanzey, and Walpole this spring, bringing our project total to 130 documented vernal pools on public and conserved land in the Monadnock Region! Data and photographs from vernal pools on public land are displayed via our newly-updated online, interactive map.

Spotted salamander eggs, deposited along a twig in a vernal pool. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Spotted salamander eggs, deposited along a twig in a vernal pool. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Vernal Pool Project volunteer John Patterson documents a Peterborough vernal pool in style. (photo © Lynne Liptay)

Vernal Pool Project volunteer John Patterson documents a Peterborough vernal pool in style. (photo © Lynne Liptay)

In an exciting development, two of the pools were found on Harris Center lands that were slated for a timber harvest later this winter. When the our forester visited the site this fall, he found one of the pools but thought the other location must be an error: in October, there was simply no sign of standing water. Only after comparing fall photos of the site to the springtime pictures could we confirm the pool’s location—a strong argument for the importance of on-the-ground vernal pool documentation in spring!  Now that both vernal pools have been located and well documented, the Harris Center will be implementing forestry practices designed to protect the pools from any potential negative impacts associated with the timber harvest.

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 2014. Visit our Vernal Pool Project page for more information, then contact Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 358-2065 or by email to volunteer.