I am an optimist.
I know, I know – you would think someone as acerbic as P. Preservationist would be either a realist or a real killjoy at a party with all that negativity. All you have to do is talk to my wife. She’ll tell you. I’m always trying to look at the positive side of things. Things like, “Yes, we did have a car accident and the car is totaled– but now we can get a new one!” It really drives her nuts.
So, as an optimist, I was walking on the Little River Nature Trail roughly across from the entrance to the Crow Lane Nature Trail. (Now closed off by No Trespassing signs) I heard much commotion and hammering coming from that area and figured it was a bunch of kids building yet another ‘fort’. Instead, it was Jere Myette, the new owner of Norbyland, working hard to reach up and nail in yet one more ‘no trespassing’ sign. He was busy going through the forest putting them up periodically. After paying that inflated price for the property I was surprised he had money left over for all this sheet metal.
Now this may seem very disheartening to many who have walked that trail over the years or taken their dogs for nature’s smell fest – but there is a positive side to this.
Similar to the certified Natural Heritage Vernal Pools located further north, the land he purchased has one of the most beautiful vernal pools in the area and right next to the heavily travelled trail.
Vernal pools are temporary pools of water. They are usually devoid of fish, and thus allow the safe development of amphibians and certain insect species. Most pools are dry for at least part of the year and fill with the winter rains or snow melt. Some pools may remain at least partially filled with water over the course of a year or more, but all vernal pools dry up periodically. They are called vernal pools because they are often, but not necessarily, at their peak depth in the spring (“vernal” is Latin meaning occurring in the spring). Despite being dry at times, once filled they teem with life. The most obvious inhabitants are various species of frogs and toads. Salamanders also utilize vernal pools for reproduction, but the adults may visit the pool only briefly. Other notable inhabitants are fairy shrimp, often used as an indicator species to label correctly that it is a vernal pool. Other indicator species are the wood frog, the spadefoot toad, and some species of salamanders. Many species use the vernal pools because they can not survive in a fish-filled water environment. Therefore, without vernal pools, these animals become few in population and could even become extinct.
With no one going down these trails, this vernal pool is safe from disruption!
If you would like to learn more about vernal pools and why the Common Pasture’s share of them is so important, watch this short video: