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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.

How long did it take for you to realize what was in the frog pond?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is such an important issue - and we must take action to ensure the frog habitat improves and stays safe, they are an indicator of our environmental health overall.

      I was so excited to come across a frog in my garden yesterday, I made sure it had a frog rockery and water at the spot I found it. There are so few nowadays compared to this same location 18 years ago when I moved here and frog croaking was so plentiful and loud it would keep you awake at night! Now to find one or two frogs causes me to celebrate - its just so darned sad!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      It seems nowadays no water source is safe, but there is always some Good News ot Info. that seems to break through the wall of the Media! :)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      What a relief to find out that the pond was not polluted. New England has such wonderful woods and it is a shame to see them threatened by development.

    • jp1978 profile image


      7 years ago

      Good to hear (or read) it wasn't industrial waste!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelyn Saenz 

      8 years ago from Royalton

      @JenOfChicago LM: That was exactly the way I felt as it was happening.Thank you for caring about the frogs in the frog pond.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 

      8 years ago

      Whew, you had me worried there! Glad your story turned out happy!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Delightful story with a happy ending!

    • K Linda profile image

      K Linda 

      9 years ago

      Another great informative lens. As a child, I loved to see the frog's eggs hatch into tadpoles and then develop into frogs. 5* and added to Vermont Lovers Group.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      9 years ago

      Welcome to The Nature and the Outdoors Group


    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      9 years ago

      Absolutely wonderful lens!

      Thanks for sharing


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      That story is too cute! What a relief to know the frogs pond isn't polluted after all.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent lens.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very informative lens.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm still waiting for the frogs to appear at my sister's pond! Glad your story had a "hoppy" ending :)

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 

      9 years ago

      How awful that our world and our wildlife is being destroyed by greed. Excellent lens. thank you

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      9 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Being a former frog collector, it is sad about all this toxic pollution that harm are wildlife. Very informative lens.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Evelyn, very engaging story -- my imagination was running rampant!

    • EpicFarms profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice lens - we just released a whole bunch of "rescued" tadpoles into our pond in the pasture (we've had over a foot of rain, and the poor little guys were stuck in a ditch :o)


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very informative lens!

    • hlkljgk profile image


      9 years ago from Western Mass

      even though your story has a happy ending, sadly, many of our frog are suffering from pollution. great lens!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens. I must go and check my local frog pond.


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