New Wayside Information Helps Protect Vernal Pools
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Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly, Va. worked closely with the Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) to design and install a new wayside information sign that includes life size pictures of salamanders and frogs and includes QR codes that allow the public to hear the actual frog calls on a smartphone. It also instructs visitors on the best ways to interact with vernal pools and provides information about how residents can get involved in protecting them.
Vernal pools are temporary pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals. They are largest in the spring and go dry later in the year. However, despite being dry at times, once filled, vernal pools team with life.
Tony Bulmer, a naturalist and historian at the park has monitored vernal pools for the past 14 years and notes that these unique habitats require protection so they can continue to provide avenues for visitors to learn about amphibians who live in our forests. Spotted salamanders, wood frogs, American and fowler toads are just some of the species found breeding in these vernal pools. Bulmer believes more signs will follow and that a strong partnership between VHS and the Park Authority is just beginning.
Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is located in western Fairfax County and boasts more than 640 acres of protected habitat.