Sunday, February 22, 2009

Salamander School

There they were, in the dimness of an early spring morning, making their way with determination, some over long distances, from their solitary existence for most of the previous year, to this gathering place.
For just one day—to join with others of their kind.

No, not the salamanders…yet.
The pond watchers—those individuals, the citizen scientist, who will monitor vernal pools in the many counties within Ohio, identifying the creatures found within and documenting their locations.
The workshop at Stratford Ecological Center, an opportunity to learn from the experts and share findings with other watchers, before heading home for another year’s observations.

Touring the pools at Stratford

Because the percentage of wetlands lost to development and drainage in the state of Ohio ranks second only to that in California.
And the first step in preservation is an appreciation of value.

So, until that balmy spring night , ears ringing with the calls of peepers and wood frogs, feet muddied by the soft earth releasing them,
I will study my training materials carefully.

Cool stuff to read and listen to

And wait to greet them upon their return.

Do you recognize that smiling face on the cover of their brochure?
And the salamander on the Ohio Environmental Council's website?
He's my guy!!

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giggles said...

Oh, Nina!!! You had me going there!!!!!


cestoady said...

CONGRATULATIONS !! in having one of your pictures from your fine vernal pond posts of last spring make the cover of a brochure and be on a website .

Let's hope that spring gets back on track so the sallies can do their stuff and we all can follow you again in the drama of the vernal pools.

Kelly said...

..very cool...I look forward to your posts this spring!! Matty and I want to learn more about these little critters. We studied them briefly two years ago at Shawnee State Park, and it was very exciting. It's so cool you can study them on your own property!

NCmountainwoman said...

That's just great! I've always loved that smile. Waiting anxiously for the vernal pool to awaken.

Kallen305 said...

Nina, big applause for helping lesson some of the extreme impact over development has done for our wild life. I can't wait to read more about it in the spring.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there are salamanders in the wetlands behind our house. Perhaps I'll take a workshop so I'll know what to look for.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Wren--definitely DO! The difficulty for wetland preservation is that, unless you know what you're looking for and when to look, you may think the water is nothing more than a puddle worthy of being drained or filled.
And the use by amphibians, who must breed in these watery areas, is a fleeting, seasonal event. For much of the year, the area may be dry and lifeless.
Unfortunately, not having these areas to breed and metamorphose (amphibians start with gills and develop lungs) and then surrounding uplands to live as adults has caused some species to already be endangered.

Take a look! There might be something very wonderful living back there!

KatDoc said...

Oh, Nina - one of "your" babies is a cover girl! (or boy) Cool!

Will salamanders breed in a regular pond, one that's wet all year, not a vernal pool? Because I have fish and frogs there, I'm thinking the sally eggs might get eaten, so maybe it isn't the best place for them to be. I thought about looking a few nights ago, when it was wet and warm, but didn't around to it. Maybe I haven't missed my chance?


mon@rch said...

Sounds like such a fun workshop! Even better with the spotted-salamanders! :)

deejbrown said...

I've had the privilege of volunteering with our local Audubon on those dark and rainy evenings to assist salamanders on their quests. I am honored to do it but sad for the reason for it.

Susan Gets Native said...

Ack! They used that precious photo of yours!
(Quite possibly the cutest salamander pic EVAH)

*sighing and wishing I had a vernal pool*

nina at Nature Remains. said...

KatDoc--yes, you're right to worry about the fish. "No fish" is a vernal pool's requirement. Generally frogs are not such a problem. The more serious predatory frogs, Green frogs and Bull frogs, often do not live to adulthood in vernal pools, either, because the water disappears before their large tadpoles mature. (tadpoles are herbivores/ frogs, carnivores)
But take a look at standing water in ditches. Sometimes these areas with poor drainage are sufficient.

Susan--you can create one! If you build it, they will come--it's a great area for kids to watch, and can be very beautifully planted, too. Your neighbors will love it!

Q said...

Dear Nina,
Congratulations on your photograph!It is wonderful. I enjoyed following your adventure last year and will look forwatd to seeing your boots and sallies this season.
You can build a vernal pond???
I shall do some research...If salamanders are in my area I will build a vernal pond and hope they come...maybe I need some boots too.
Thank you for the inspiration.

Seabrooke said...

I was thinking it had to be still a tad early for salamanders to be out yet, but since you're a bit south of me I was willing to be drawn into that first paragraph! I would like to know better when to look for those guys, so that I might have a chance of seeing them. I don't have a lot of confidence in my odds at the moment. I'll look forward to hearing what you find when you going out to check your pools this spring, too!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

All of your papers look intersting. How exciting to think they will be arriving any time now. I hear spring peepers this week. A first for this year. Then it got cold again.