What one may dismiss as an insignificant puddle in the fields, woods, marshes or gravel pits may just prove to be a critical oasis for a multitude of life forms. There are many vernal pools teeming with life at the Tin Mountain Rockwell Sanctuary in Albany.

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Temporary vernal pools or ponds formed as a result of snowmelt, rain and/or elevated groundwater are important watering holes and foraging sites for local and traveling wildlife. Many vernal (spring) pools serve as essential breeding sites for certain amphibians including wood frogs and salamanders, as habitats for insects, invertebrates and crustaceans, and as supports for plant life such as sphagnum moss, ferns and high-bush blueberry.
Most vernal pools appear year after year in the same spot. Vernal pool indicator species, wood frogs and mole salamanders (including spotted salamanders, Jefferson salamanders and blue-spotted salamanders) migrate from nearby woodlands to the vernal pools of their birth to breed and deposit eggs. The pools are teaming with life in early spring during times of their mating courtships.

Join Dr Rick Van de Poll in the Tin Mountain Nature Course Vernal Pools on Thursday, May 9 from 6-9 PM at the Nature Learning Center on Bald Hill Road in Albany for an overview of the basic tenets of vernal pool ecology including definitions, indicator species, facultative species, and the ecosystem significance of these pools. The evening session includes both classroom time and a night time exploration of nearby pools. On Saturday, May 11 from 9 Am through 3 PM visit pools and conduct water and biological sampling. Dress appropriately for the weather, rain or shine.  Call for information and reservations at 603-447-6991. $10m/$15nm per session

Tin Mountain Nature Programs are sponsored in part thanks to L.L. Bean and the Evenor Armington Fund. Tin Mountain Conservation Center is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization with a mission to promote an appreciation of the environment among children, families, and the community through hands-on programs in the schools, at camps, and in the community; demonstrate responsible stewardship of natural resources through land protection, sustainable forestry, agriculture, and energy. For more information on Tin Mountain and upcoming nature programs visit www.tinmountain.org, or call Tin Mountain at 603-447-6991.