Woodland pools are small, seasonal wetlands. In the Northeast, they are typically covered with ice and snow in the winter. In the heat of summer they dry up. And in the spring and late fall they contain standing water. Now is a great time for exploring the diversity of life in woodland pools.
Woodland pools are temporary wetlands that provide important habitat to forest wildlife. They also help mitigate floods. While land development is a major threat to woodland pools, there are also subtle changes that undermine their health.
One of the first signs of spring in the Northeast is the unmistakable calling of the spring peeper. The peeper is a small frog, weighing only a few grams, but its mating call is louder than many songbirds weighing 10 times as much.
Drive by a local wetland on an early spring evening, and if you're lucky you'll hear a harbinger of the changing season - the clear chirping chorus of tiny frogs known as spring peepers, classified by biologists as Pseudacris crucifer.
In early spring, shortly after the snow melts, vernal pools dot the landscape. Isolated from larger water bodies, these small wetlands are usually only wet for a few months out of the year. If you are not paying attention, you just might miss them. And that would be a shame, because these oft-overlooked wetlands are valuable and interesting ecosystems.