LEWISTON – The ice is melting off the ponds and vernal pools in the forests of Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary, signaling the start of the breeding season for all the amphibians.

A vernal pool is a temporary, shallow pool of water that is fish-free and has particular species of wildlife. Thorncrag has a series of nine vernal pools. Wood frogs, spotted salamanders and fairy shrimp are identified in these pools, as well as the tree frogs known as “spring peepers.”

As part of an active wildlife management plan, the Stewardship Committee of the Stanton Bird Club trains volunteers to monitor the vernal pools. The data guides the management practices such as trail development and forest thinning.

This year, the club has engaged Bates College environmental studies student, Lois St. Brice, working as an intern, to train the volunteers and develop a database for the information collected.

The club is a conservation organization offering monthly natural history programs and field trips throughout the state free. The club welcomes new members whose dues help to provide land stewardship at three sanctuaries owned and managed by the club in Lewiston and Monmouth.

For more information, call 782-5238 or visit www.stantonbirdclub.org.

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