Pond Studies at Ferry Beach State Park

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We’ve been preparing for weeks to get out into the field for our pond studies unit, and today we finally ventured into the woods to search for vernal pools, streams, and bogs. We’ve been steadily depleting our local library of all books relating to frogs, ducks, bugs, and ecology. The following titles, a blend of story and description, poetry and prose, fed our excitement and our minds as we awaited our first day out:

Pond and River by Steve Parker
Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman
999 Tadpoles by Kim Kimura
Pond by Gordon Morrison
Pond Circle by Betsy Franco

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Ferry Beach State Park in Saco, Maine, provided the ideal place to explore a variety of habitats. We came well prepared for some science on the fly: a submersible thermometer, nets, bucket, binoculars, and observation notebooks. After heading for a few minutes on the Red Oak Trail, we came across our first vernal pool. Snow fleas and striders inhabited the shallow 54 degree water, but there were no signs of eggs or tadpoles.

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We continued to Long Pond, separated from the ocean by a series of sand dunes. The spot was perfect for a picnic and for some more measurements and observations. The nearby road was a bit of a distraction, so we soon headed back into the woods and explored a a wandering stream. To our surprise a mallard duck cruised by and was gracious enough to stick around long enough for a few pictures.

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Spring has sprung, and we couldn’t be happier. We’re eager to keep a record of the ponds we visit in the coming months and compare the results we find. But most of all, we’re glad to be outdoors in the warm sunshine once again!

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