Vernal Pools

Vernal pool at Lincoln Woods


Learn even more about vernal pools in the Spring 2018 issue of Explore.

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At winter's end, woodland hollows and low areas flood, creating temporary isolated pools. The resulting vernal pools fill with melting snow, spring rain, runoff, and rising groundwater.

These pools provide critical breeding habitat for several amphibian and invertebrate species with life cycles that have adapted to these rich, temporary phenomena.

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Certification is one of the best ways to protect vernal pools, which are extremely vulnerable to development. They are often overlooked when wetlands are identified on development sites because in many months these areas are dry and resemble the surrounding woodland. Learn More >

Want to learn more about vernal pools and how to protect them? Check out this compilation of vernal pool information and protection resources. Learn More >

The best time to see a vernal pool is spring. Watch for tiny tadpoles swimming about, camouflaged masses of frog or salamander eggs, or delicate fairy shrimp safely sheltered under submerged leaves. You'll catch a glimpse of a magical and critical part of the seasonal cycles of New England, and come away with a better understanding of why we need to protect the nature of Massachusetts.

Many of Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries are home to vernal pools.

Sanctuaries with Vernal Pools

Greater Boston

Broadmoor, Natick

Drumlin Farm, Lincoln

Moose Hill, Sharon

Museum of American Bird Art, Canton

Stony Brook, Norfolk

North Shore

Ipswich River, Topsfield

South of Boston

Allens Pond, Westport

Attleboro Springs, Attleboro

Oak Knoll, Attleboro

Cape Cod & the Islands

Ashumet Holly, East Falmouth

Long Pasture, Barnstable

Central Massachusetts

Broad Meadow Brook, Worcester

Lincoln Woods, Leominster

Connecticut River Valley

Arcadia, Easthampton & Northampton


Pleasant Valley, Lenox