Spring Break- Vernal Pond Visit

This week I was home in Hartland, Vermont for spring break. We got a lovely snow storm with about two feet of fresh snow. I decided to visit the vernal pond in the woods up behind my house for my phenology post for this week. I walked by the vernal pond a few times snowshoeing early in the week. With the fresh snow, there was no water that I could see in the pond, in was completely covered. However, on Sunday morning when I returned, some of the snow had melted and I could see water in a few different spots. I have a lot of fond memories of this vernal pond because I was homeschooled up until 6th grade and my dad would take me to there for “science class”. We made our own wooden meter stick to put into the pond and keep track of the depth of the water throughout different seasons. My brother walked up with me on Sunday to check out the vernal pond and we found some pretty clear tracks nearby (I attached photos!). From looking at my Animal Tracking Guide, I think it might have been a grey squirrel. I was happy that we got another round of snow so I could do some tracking and snowshoeing over break! As for the history of this land, it was used as pasture for livestock. I learned this from my dad, however I could also assume that because of the tree species that surround the pond. There are many young trees, most of which are species that usually appear after disturbance such as White and Yellow Birch and Black Cherry. I also observed a variety of other trees such as Northern Red Cedar, Green Ash, and Eastern Hemlock. There are old fences that used to keep cows and sheep in the pasture. I learned from my dad that the people who owned the land before us had a farm and the vernal pond used to be a little wet spot at the bottom of the hill. However, the previous owners decided to dig it out and make it more of a pond so their animals could drink out of it when they were thirsty out at pasture. Now the pasture is gone and there are new land-owners! We live in a co-housing community that is very environmentally sustainable and we all share the land. When the community was founded, members decided to plant dogwoods and other shrubs around the vernal pond to provide shade and make it a more diverse habitat for the species that live there.

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