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Vernal Ponds -The Other Universe

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” 

Margaret Atwood

Vernal Pond definition:

A water filled basin of varying depth and size that comes into existence in late winter and early spring gradually drying up by summer

I’ve always said that you don’t have to go to Mars to look for alien life forms. Just put on a pair of hip boots, grab a flash light and a finely weaved fishing net and jump head first into a vernal pond. Before you know it you’ll pass through an invisible transom to a world where you’ll be seeing spots move and twigs grow legs.

Sounds like maybe I took to many drugs in the sixties – maybe so, but I’ll tell you first hand that it’s true. I’ll even prove it to you through my photographic representation of these living curios that fulfill many of their crucial life history requirements in these temporary habitats. I will emphasize the importance of these vanishing microcosms and solicit your help in their survival. New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection agrees this is so as they have  incorporated rules and regulations that direct development away from these special habitats.

I will discuss those specifics for the edification of landowners who may recognize and want to protect vernal ponds that exist on their own properties.

The program is geared for adults, ecology students, environmental consultants, township planners and environmental committeesA simplified version of the program can be designed for middle-school and high school level environmental science curriculums.

American Toad

Dispersing Sperm

(A 11)

Wood Frog in Vernal Pond

(S 4)


Spotted Salamander from the Ether

(A 9)


Grey Tree Frog over Vernal Pond
(A 10)

Northern Water Snake

(R 10)