I love our first trip to the vernal pool each year. Our experience today will be remembered for a long time by students and teachers alike. Let’s start with the awareness and precautions that are part of our experience in the northeast US. Eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus are real and present dangers and folks are discouraged from participating in activities during the early morning and evening hours when the mosquitoes are most active.
With that precaution in mind, we covered up in our sweatshirts and jackets and hiked back to the vernal pool. The children were cautioned that if we ran into any biting bugs, we would head back. What a lovely site greeted us. The pool still had plenty of water in it. We walked around it, trying to be quiet so as to avoid scaring off any creatures. Immediately we saw a frog, then another, then several more. We checked out the fallen trees and litter as well as the smells and sounds of the vernal pool. Several children had some understanding of what a vernal pool actually is. Having water in the pool in the autumn is somewhat unusual. Vernal means spring but a few good rains this fall have added water for the woodland creatures to enjoy.
Finally we paused for my annual class photo by the big tree. That’s when I was bitten by a mosquito and the trip ended.
The children had a great time and felt good, if not excited, about walking in the woods. If you click on the group photo, it should enlarge and you can have a conversation with your child about the experience. It is a wide angle photo and meant to give you a nice idea of what the area looks like. Notice the trail on the right side of the photo. I wonder if the children can find the place again with their families. This time the children will be the guides!