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Audubon workshop on vernal pools set for Mar. 11

By Staff | Mar 3, 2017

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society will offer a one-day workshop on vernal pools on Saturday, Mar. 11. The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. It will begin with a classroom session in the Fish Health Laboratory building of the US Geological Survey’s Leetown Science Center and include a visit to a vernal pool in the area.

The workshop instructors will be local Master Naturalist Clark Dixon and Kevin Oxenrider, a wildlife biologist with the WV Division of Natural Resources.

The workshop is intended primarily for Master Naturalists but it is open to anyone with an interest on a space-available basis. Space is limited to 20 people and pre-registration and a fee will be required. Register on the PVAS website at www.potomacaudubon.org. The fee will be $20 for PVAS members and $25 for the general public.

Vernal Pools are small, seasonal bodies of water that provide valuable seasonal habitat for many creatures, including frogs and salamanders. Typically, they are at their peak size and depth in the spring, and then dwindle greatly or disappear entirely during hot weather. They are quite common in this area.

The workshop will focus on a need for citizen involvement in monitoring of vernal pools in West Virginia. Oxenrider is engaged in a WVDNR pilot project intended to assess the extent of amphibian diseases throughout the state. He will outline the project’s goals, needs, and methods, which include developing a statewide database of ponds other wetland areas that have breeding populations of spotted salamanders and wood frogs. This monitoring effort will rely heavily on Master Naturalists and other citizens to cover local areas, so this is a good opportunity to become involved in a meaningful citizen science project.

The Fish Health Laboratory building is located at 407 Reservoir Road, just off Leetown Road in Leetown. To search for it on Internet mapping sites, enter “407 Reservoir Road, Kearneysville, WV.”

This workshop is part of PVAS’s “Natural History Workshop” series. These sessions are intended for people who are interested in learning about particular natural history topics in considerable depth but cannot commit to pursue the much more comprehensive natural history education available through PVAS’s Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program. That program can take a year or more to complete. For more information, contact Krista Hawley at 703-303-1026 or adultprograms@ potomacaudubon.org.