Aroostook County May 1, 2023

Vernal Pool Adventures: From Classroom to Field

A vernal pool learning journey putting curriculum learning into hands on practice through an immersive field experience

Student fills an ice cube tray with water from a vernal pool during a community science investigation.

In the spring of 2023, my CLE engaged in a hands-on field experience in Limestone where we visited multiple pools, honed our skills in vernal pool identification, and walked through the community science protocol. Following this experience, I bought the recommended equipment and began preparing my students for our own in-depth investigation by leading them through the GMRI vernal pool curriculum.

It was then time for us to go out in the field and put the protocol into action. The students were so excited as they made their discoveries; they found fairy shrimp, frogs, and caddisfly nymphs! Through this hands-on experience, they acquired the ability to identify vernal pools and the organisms that rely on these pools for survival. Through this experience, students discovered the critical role these pools play in supporting various organisms and came to the understanding that we need to safeguard these delicate ecosystems.

Adding to the richness of this educational journey, we were fortunate to be joined by two dedicated volunteers from The Francis Malcolm Science Center in Easton. Their invaluable expertise and assistance greatly enhanced our investigation at the vernal pool, creating a truly collaborative and rewarding partnership.

This experience underscored the importance of empowering students to become Community Scientists, enabling them to connect with and understand their local environment. This experience not only fostered a sense of responsibility, it also equipped them with the knowledge and insights needed to respond to the environmental challenges around vernal pools.