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Frog Eggs, Vernal Pools and Industrial Waste!

Updated on October 16, 2014

Searching for Frog Eggs

Frog Eggs
Frog Eggs | Source

Industrial Waste in the Frog Pond! Will the Frogs Survive?

Are Vernal Pools in remote rural areas of Vermont being destroyed by industrial waste?

Come on a walk in the early spring. Walk through the cold wet mud and try not to slip on the remaining spots of ice as we go on a hunt for frog eggs and discover a very scary substance.

Come on a search for frog eggs. Get caught up in the suspense. What is happening to the pond?

What is a Vernal Pool?

Vernal Pools

Vernal pools form in the early spring when the ground is saturated with the runoff from melting snow.

As the days get longer and the temperatures start to rise, snow begins to melt. Melted snow begins to pool in the low spots forming vernal pools.

These pools are ideal places for amphibians to lay their eggs. Amphibians need a moist environment in which to live. They lay their eggs in standing water. The eggs hatch into tadpoles which have gills and live in the water. As they mature, the tadpoles develop lungs, their tails disappear and the move onto the land.

These tiny, temporary ponds are the perfect place for young amphibians to hatch, grow and develop.

The video to the right shows what my friend and I were planning on doing when we went out to look for frog eggs. What we discovered, however, appeared very disturbing.

Industrial Waste in the Frog Pond

One day my friend and I, a fellow teacher, were out looking for Frog Eggs in the early Vermont spring.

We took a long walk in the woods and came to vernal pool but found a very strange sight. At the far end of the pond, with deep mud all around was a large mass of white foamy looking stuff.

We looked in the water close to the shore but there were no frog eggs to be seen. All we could think of was some sort of industrial waste.

What could it be? We discussed it for quite a while. Were there any industrial plants nearby? What could be the source of the pollution?

We scanned the area. There were trees, dead leaves on the ground. The pool was nearly black except for this mound of fluffy, dirty looking foam piled up on the further side of the pond.

We listened and noticed that we were far enough from the road that we couldn't hear any traffic let alone trucks or factory sounds.

We wondered how far they must have piped this waste and wondered how toxic it was. There was no sign of frog eggs let alone tadpoles.

We then decided that we needed to make our way around the pond to see for ourselves what this waste looked like and maybe determine what it was made of.

It was difficult to get there but burning with curiosity we finally made it over to the stuff...

Look for the answer towards the bottom of this lens.

Industrial Waste in the Frog Pond - A Frog Pond Story

Frog Bubbles
Frog Bubbles | Source

Frog Bubble Artist

Katie O. drew this lovely picture of a frog blowing bubbles. Whenever we go for walks in the woods or down to the frog pond, we like to encourage the children to draw pictures of what they observe. Katie's illustration reminds us that we can not only draw what we see, but use our drawings to create stories and expand our imaginations while drawing on experiences in the real world.

Thank you Katie for allowing me to show your beautiful artwork and inspire children to learn about frogs through drawing and observation.

Searching for Frogs

Development of the Frog, Illustration from 'Country Days and Country Ways'
Development of the Frog, Illustration from 'Country Days and Country Ways' | Source

Foam in the Vernal Pool

We were still puzzling about the strange foamy looking, slightly dirty, yellowish mound in the frog pond.

Could there have been a large house or B&B just over the hill doing large loads of laundry? Was this the reason why we didn't see any frog eggs?

The mud was thick.

Were the frogs still hibernating down in the bottom of the pond or had this pond been so polluted that amphibians could no longer live there?

Keep reading to discover the mystery substance.

Foamy Water

Polluted water
Polluted water | Source

Foam or Industrial Waste

The foam that we saw was on the other side of the pool. All the ground was saturated with water making it difficult to get around the pond. Along the sides of the pond there was mud, old dead leaves and fallen branches.

We searched as far as we could easily see from our side but could not find any eggs. Were we too early? Was the water polluted?

We just had to get to the other side to check out this nasty looking foam. Would this be the key to our understanding?

Industrial Waste in the Frog Pond Conclusion

A black pond, Dering Wood
A black pond, Dering Wood | Source

The Laugh was on Us!

Well, it took determination to get there but we finally made it and you know what it was?

It was snow and ice that had started to melt. Leaves and other debris had leached their colors and given it an industrial waste look.

What a laugh we had that day! We never did find any frog eggs. Just too early in the spring I guess.

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