Vernal Pool Educational Projects

Certification project Certification
Field visit project Field Visit
Outreach project Outreach

Vern nets the world
Vernal Pool Educational Projects

The Vernal Pool Association is a student organization. As such, we like to encourage other students and their teachers to become involved in vernal pool studies, identification and protection.

We present three topics which might be of interest to educators and their students. All are being done by classes of all ages throughout Massachusetts and beyond. Certification requires an uncertified vernal pool. Field Visit requires a vernal pool which the participants are able to visit. Community Outreach can be done without access to a vernal pool (although a pool visit is encouraged). Within each project are several options to allow the project to be customized for differing abilities and interests.

CERTIFICATION. Students locate and submit for certification by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) one or more vernal pools in Massachusetts. Activities involved would include mapping, specimen collecting and identification, photography, writing and communication, and presentation. Certification can be accomplished by students of all ages. In the past, pools have been documented by elementary and middle school classes as a group project and high school students on an individual basis. This activity is also suitable environmental clubs, home schoolers, scout service projects, and so on. Note: At this time, only Massachusetts has a certification program. Other states have or are developing programs to document vernal pools. In states other than Massachusetts, you may collect the materials required for certification and submit it to your own state Natural Heritage program. Although other states do not certify vernal pools, there is an interest in collecting this type of data about rare species habitats.

FIELD VISIT. Students visit one or more vernal pools to observe the physical and biological characteristics of the pool. Activities involved would include measuring, sampling, and organism identification. Participation may range from one visit to a vernal pool to a continuing study of the pool and its organisms throughout the year. Many classes try to visit a pool in each of the seasons to observe cycles and changes.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH. Students produce vernal pool posters, slide programs, or other "outreach" items for display or viewing in their school, town, etc. Activities invovled could include research, writing, drawing, graphic design, photography, public speaking, etc. Our favorite activity is the Poster Outreach Project in which a class works with us (VPA students) to create a large format poster to distribute in their community.