CATH hosts vernal pool discussion

By Robby McKittrick
Hometown Weekly Reporter

On Monday, November 19, the Center at the Heights hosted a presentation by Mass Audubon's Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary on vernal pools.

A worker for Mass Audubon and the speaker for the presentation, Joy Marzolf, explained that a vernal pool is an area of water which serves as a home for many different species of animals.

“The vernal pool acts like a timeshare where some animals come in, but they only stay there for two or three weeks, and they leave and another set of animals [enter],” she said. “There are a lot of different animals you will find [in the vernal pools] … I have a few animals with me [today].”

Marzolf explained why bringing live animals to a presentation is important for the audience’s experience.

“Sometimes, seeing an animal up close brings it more into reality,” she said. “Sometimes the up close and personal has a whole different reaction where if people care about something, they are more likely to want to protect it.”

There were a variety of individuals in attendance, and many of them were interested in learning more about vernal pools.

“I had been to the Broadmoor [event] about 10 years ago, and I saw the vernal pools and I thought it sounded interesting,” said Needham resident Tom Harkins. “Even though the vernal pools are out of season, I will learn something.”

“It just seemed interesting,” added another Needham resident, Judy Crossman. “We had access to all this stuff in our own backyard [years ago].”

During the event, Marzolf explained the definition of a vernal pool to the audience and why it is unique.

“A lot of people haven’t [heard of vernal pools],” Marzolf explained. “[They] are seasonal pools … They are not a habitat for fish. This is what makes vernal pools special.”

Marzolf explained that vernal pools fill up in the fall, and that the only way vernal pools get water is when the rain is “falling from the sky.”

Marzolf shared a PowerPoint presentation with videos and pictures of the different animals found in the pools. For example, she discussed different types of frogs, tadpoles, turtles, salamanders, and even a shrimp. Then, she showed a few of the live animals to the audience.

This was just one of the many presentations the wildlife sanctuary holds throughout the year.

“We take a lot of our different programs out on the road,” Marzolf said. “[Our presentations are] nature-related to try to educate the public.”

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