The living world is a unique and spectacular marvel and the spring migration of amphibians in our northeastern woodlands offers a spectacle of special fascination. The March rains warmed the ground and brought out the Spotted and Jefferson Salamanders as well as Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers in great abundance to mate and lay eggs. Marbled salamander larvae, predacious diving and scavenger beetles, and myriad other macro and micro invertebrates also stirred the water column from top to bottom.
The cold-blooded amphibians mostly live underground over the winter and use natural anti-freeze to keep their cells from bursting. They are basically frozen solid until they warm up enough to move. When the soil temperature reaches around 41 degrees F (commonly referred to as “biologic zero” in reference to the start of the growing season) that correlates to herp activity and along with the rains allows the critters to get up and head on over the vernal pool party!
In 2010, I published “Hop Into Action”, a curriculum to help teach children about the joy of amphibians through investigations that involve scientific inquiry and knowledge building. Developed in response to a global amphibian extinction crisis, the book was written to equip children with the necessary knowledge and tools to protect amphibians and their environments.
I’m hopeful that when sharing these experiences in-person or virtually it fosters enthusiasm for the environment and encourages others to be better stewards of our natural world.
Thanks to professional photographer https://gregkkoch.com/ @gregkkoch for capturing these vernal pool party images in 2021.
David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula. He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife. You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com