CTL students investigate vernal pools

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:30am

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) in Edgecomb has found that outdoor education is more important now than ever before. Daily or weekly outdoor time is imperative to mental and physical health during this time of indoor remote learning and work. Students in kindergarten through 8th grade are studying vernal or spring pool ecosystems in their own backyards and collecting data for the University of Maine.

Each week Annie Nixon (PE and outdoor educator) and kindergarten class teacher Caroline Bond, provide fun and interactive mini lessons for the kindergarten students. Last week the kindergartners learned about vernal pools and how this important environment is action-packed in the spring, containing species that exist nowhere else on earth.  With chalkboard drawings, frog call recordings, songs, home videos, and movement, the students explored important aspects of vernal pools. The students and families were inspired to go out in their own backyards and nature preserves in search of vernal pools, and then observe and document their findings.

Students in the older grades at CTL, under the direction of science teacher Glenn Powers, assisted scientists from the University of Maine in collecting information on the presence or absence of a few small but important species—caddisflies and fairy shrimp. They learned how to identify vernal pools, and then how to identify the two target species. Students then learned how to upload data they found throughout the week to the Ecosystem Investigation Network. The Network hosts citizen science projects all designed to increase current understanding of the impacts of climate change on ecosystems in the Gulf of Maine. 

Contact Katy Inman, Head of School, katyctlkto8@gmail.com, to find out more about the school. Current openings exist in middle school for fall 2020-21.