Evening Sound Walk
1. Flashlight or headlamp
2. Phone or camera (for pictures or sound recordings- optional)
1. As it gets closer to dark hand out a headlamp or flashlight
to everyone and head outside.
2. Tell everyone to keep their ears and eyes open.
You might see tiny spring peeper frogs but most likely you will hear them.
Wood frogs can sound like quacking ducks. Spotted Salamanders are
silent but a very interesting sight to see.
***If you handle any creatures make sure your hands are clean and wet.
Wash your hands well with soap once you’r back home.
What sounds did you hear?
Did you see any frogs or salamanders?
What other animals did you hear?
The Secret Pool by Kimberly Ridley and illustrated by Rebekah Raye
Click the link below to hear L.E.A.'s Alanna Doughty read this springtime story
about vernal pools and the life it supports.
Vernal Pool Coloring Book
Enjoy learning more about the plants and animals supported by
vernal pools with Kristine Hoffmann's "My First Field Guide to Vernal Pools."
Click the image or link to get started!
Listen to the Vernal Pool Song
Understanding the vital connections between landowner concerns,
municipal planning, conservation activities, and the ecology of vernal pools
will be the focus of natural and social scientists from the University of Maine,
Boston University, and Bowdoin College as they embark on a multi-year
research project concerning Maine’s small natural features—vernal pools.
Each week we feature a lesser known naturalist in our Pocket Journal Series.
In this space you will find the full quote and more information about the author. Enjoy.
Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, Ph.D Botany, Professor at SUNY College
of Environmental and Forest Biology
Braiding Sweetgrass, Collatoral Damage:
“To a salamander beneath a log, the first heavy raindrops must sound like the knuckles of spring knocking hard on the door overhead. After six months of torpor, stiff limbs slowly flex, tails wiggle out of their winter immobility, and within minutes, snouts nose upward and legs push away cold earth as the salamanders crawl up into the night. The rain washes away traces of clinging soil and polishes their smooth black skin. The land is waking up, rising to the call of the rain.”
“What is it that drew us to the hollow tonight? What crazy kind of species is it that leaves a warm home on a rainy night to ferry salamanders across a road? It’s tempting to call it altruism, but it’s not. There is nothing selfless about it. This night heaps rewards on the givers as well as the recipients. We get to be there, to witness this amazing rite, and, for an evening, to enter into relationship with other beings, as different from ourselves as we can imagine.”
“Being with salamanders gives honor to otherness, offers an antidote to the poison of xenophobia. Each time we rescue slippery, spotted beings we attest to their right to be, to live in the sovereign territory of their own lives. Carrying salamanders to safety also helps us to remember the covenant of reciprocity, the mutual responsibility that we have for each other. As the perpetrators of the war zone on this road, are we not bound to heal the wounds we inflict?”
Click the links below to read more and listen to interviews with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer
Book: Braiding Sweetgrass
Book: Gathering Moss
OnBeing podcast episode, “The Intelligence In All Kinds of Life”
TEDxSitka, “Reclaiming the Honorable Harvest”
‘Returning the Gift’, Center for Humans and Nature
Week 5: Vernal Pools:
What is a Vernal Pool?
Vernal pools are shallow wetlands with still water that dry
up each year or every few years. Fish cannot persist in these
temporary wetlands, but some amphibians and fairy shrimp
can only reproduce or live in these small pools.Lets learn
more about 3 animals who begin life in vernal pools:
Animals We Will Identify:
Traits: Brown to pink with white lips
and a dark brown mask.
Size: 1-3 inches
Habitat: Wet spots in the forest;
lay eggs in vernal pools in the spring
Song: Chuckle or duck-like quack
Wood Frog egg masses are the size of softballs.
The developing tadpoles are black in a clear jelly.
Hundreds of tadpoles hatch from each mass. They
grow legs and lose their tail as they metamorphose
into young frogs.
Traits: Yellow spots on a black background;
sometimes they have tiny blue dots
Size: 5-8 inches long
Habitat: Underground in the forest;
sometimes in people’s basements;
adults lay eggs in vernal pools in the
spring and then leave.
Vernal pool amphibians lay eggs in clusters called egg masses.
Spotted Salamander egg masses have an outer jelly-like layer.
The developing salamanders look black inside the clear jelly.
Larvae hatch from the eggs. Their gills look like feathery ears.
Order: Anostraca (Fairy Shrimp)
Traits: Pink to orange; swim on their back by paddling their legs;
females carry eggs on their back.
Size: One half-inch to 2 inches
Habitat: Vernal pools
Click the PDF icon to the left. Set to print at 95% or fit
to page. Cut around the grey border before folding.
Follow the folding instructions below:
A vernal pool in western Maine.
Click any of the images below for a closer view.
Click any of the images below for a closer view.
Fairy Shrimp, credit: Jack Ray