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Vernal Ponds

Posted: February 21, 2012

Vernal ponds are a significant component of Pennsylvania's natural heritage and provide critical habitat for a unique set of species adapted to seasonal wet and dry periods such as salamanders, frogs, and fairy shrimp.

On Thursday, March 8th at the Cumberland Woodland Owners’ Association meeting, Gene Wingert, Environmental Science Instructor at Dickinson College, will give a presentation on Pennsylvania’s vernal ponds and the important role they play in our ecosystem. The meeting will be held at 7:00 P.M. at the Cumberland County Extension Office which is located at 310 Allen Road in Carlisle.  You do not have to be a member and there is no cost to attend.

Seasonal pool wetland ecosystems, known commonly as "vernal ponds," are isolated from streams, rivers, and other bodies of water and characterized by a seasonally fluctuating water level, often drying out completely for some part of the year. Vernal ponds are often small, seemingly "minor" waterbodies that are particularly important to amphibian populations.  Amphibians that breed in vernal ponds produce the greatest vertebrate biomass in the forest. Seasonal pools are beginning to gain recognition as important habitats because of their unique role in the landscape, their valuable wetland function, and the critical habitat they provide for plants and animals of special concern.  

The Cumberland Woodland Owners Association is an organization of forestland owners and others interested in forestry issues in south central Pennsylvania.  For more information about the meeting or the Cumberland Woodland Owners Association, contact Fred Peabody at 717/776-3565 (email: fredp5@earthlink.net).