Naturalist workshop explores vernal pools at Hidden Valley Nature Center

Wed, 04/17/2024 - 8:45am

Spring has sprung at Hidden Valley Nature Center. The woods are alive with the sounds, sites and smells of the awakening forest. Vernal pools, filled with the rains of spring, are just beginning to show signs of life, promises of frogs, salamanders and insects soon to hatch. Trees are adorned with swollen buds ready to burst into the first green leaves of the season. And catkins hang on the branches of willows, birches and aspens waiting for the wind to carry their pollen to other catkins.   

On Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to noon, all are invited to come learn about the amazing web of life that abounds in vernal pools with guide Bonnie Potter, who has been exploring vernal pools for decades.. 

Of all the interesting ways to observe the advance of spring, vernal pools are one of the most fascinating. A vernal pool is a temporary woodland pond or small body of water, often overlooked, which plays a central role in the life cycle of many amphibians and turtles and the organisms that rely on them. They have important implications and impacts on local wildlife, outdoor recreation, and forestry operations. Participants will  learn why vernal pools are so important to protecting Maine’s woodlands; about the species of frog, turtle, and salamander that rely on vernal pools; to identify and count egg masses; and about the complex dynamics that make vernal pools so fascinating. 

This is an all-ages event—children are welcome with adult supervision. During the event, the group will walk approximately 1.5 miles on forest trails, pausing to visit a number of vernal pools. 

There will be an additional Vernal Pool Exploration on May 4th. To learn more and to register for these workshops, go to

Midcoast Conservancy is a vibrant regional land trust that works to protect vital lands and waters on a scale that matters and to inspire wonder and action on behalf of all species and the Earth. The organization works throughout the Sheepscot River, Medomak River, and Damariscotta Lake watersheds. Midcoast Conservancy manages over 15,000 acres, including 55 preserves and 100 miles of trails; and Hidden Valley, a preserve with cabin and outdoor recreation equipment rentals and a low-impact forestry program. Community members can get involved in the organization’s work as volunteers with water quality monitoring, habitat restoration, fish passage projects, forestry and oyster farming or outdoor recreation and education. For more information, go to or call (207) 389-5150.