Published on May 15, 2017

It Takes a Community to Build a Vernal Pool

Lawrence 7th graders building vernal pool

Over the Earth Day weekend (April 21-24), Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary worked in conjunction with teachers and students from the Falmouth Public Schools to build two vernal pools. One is located at Falmouth High School and the other at Lawrence Junior High School.

Vernal pools are shallow wetlands that dry up during the summer. Because they have no fish as predators, they are important breeding grounds for amphibians. In addition to benefiting wildlife by providing habitat, these two new wetlands will serve as living laboratories for students to study ecology and water quality lessons for years to come.

As part of the next phase in the project, pollinator gardens for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds will be planted adjacent to the two vernal pools. Students will also build kiosks and create educational displays about the wetlands and gardens.

Ian Ives shows student how to measure the depth

This project was a year in the making, and it was successful because of the contributions of many community organizations including: the Falmouth Public Schools Administration and School Committee who approved the project; the Falmouth Conservation Department who provided technical expertise, site review, and assistance during construction; the Falmouth Department of Public Works who helped prepare the construction sites; and Coastal Carriers, the excavator on the project. 

In addition, many organizations provided financial support to make this project possible including: the Falmouth Education Foundation; Salt Pond Area Bird Sanctuaries, Falmouth Fund; Falmouth STEM Boosters; Woods Hole Science and Technology Education Partnership; Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank Charitable Foundation; Falmouth High School Ecology Club; Friends of the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge; and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Finally, this project would not have been possible without Tom Biebighauser of Wetlands Restoration and Training, LLC, who provided wetlands engineering expertise for the wetland creation.