Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team

Vernal Pond Field Trips

  • Members and the Public Field Trips
    Daytime and nighttime field trip participants learn about and explore these vital habitats. Operating primarily in the springtime (the peak of amphibian breeding season), these field trips allow participants to see the inextricable link woodland creatures, such as salamanders and frogs, have to these ponds. Peak nights, when ponds are teaming with thousands of salamanders and frogs, are truly a transformative experience. Other seasons also provide opportunities for experiencing pond habitat. During the summer amphibians such as froglets transition from life under water to life on land by the thousands and viewing this migration is something to behold.

    There is never a dull moment on a field trip! Over the years we have had a continued and enthusiastic base of participants who come out to watch the migration. These participants tell their friends about their adventure and through word of mouth citizens brave the cold, wet nights and are often rewarded by the experience of this rich natural event. 

  • Organizations and Corporate Field Trips
    We offer vernal pond field trips to numerous community organizations and corporations - including The Trustees of Reservations and Essex County Greenbelt. Participants are directed to a particular site where CAVPT members are on-hand to answer questions and lead a discussion on the importance of preserving these areas. Staff and Volunteers gather egg mass samples, net creatures in the vernal ponds, and investigate the shoreline and surrounding habitat for other creatures and plants inhabitants that either live there or are migrating by. This is an informative and educational experience with students doing hands on discovery and exploration. 

    The response to these trips is overwhelming and participants walk away educated and encouraged to develop their own sense of conservation. CAVPT leads numerous people through our field trips each year with many participants becoming CAVPT members and volunteers following their experience. Schedule your own group adventure because you just never know what you'll discover.


Check out our field trip photos in the Photo Gallery.

  Contact Us For More Information 


Review our guidelines to discover what to expect, what to bring and where to meet.

FIELD TRIP GUIDELINES

Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team

PLEASE READ THIS
We have a lot of new people on the email list this year, so I want to go over the field trip procedures.  For many of you this will be a review.

We have both daytime and nighttime field trips

Daytime field trips

  • happen after other amphibian egg masses start to show up in the ponds
  • we are usually searching for egg masses to photograph for certification 
  • we may see frogs, fairy shrimp, insects and leeches
  • we generally meet at the Walgreens/Dunkin Donuts parking lot on Main Street in Gloucester at the appointed time. Most people drive their own car (or buddy up) from the parking lot to the pool. That way you can leave whenever you get cold, wet, tired or bored.  Many field trippers do not care to stay out as long as I do. Which is fine.


Nighttime field trips

  • usually happen when the air temperature is 45F or above.  Usually rainy or foggy.  About 9:30pm
  • we hope to see migrating and/or breeding spotted salamanders, wood frogs and spring peepers
  • we may see some other things like fairy shrimp, water bugs and leeches
  • you'll need a flashlight.  Mag lights and 6 volt lights are good.  Some people have some of those nice LED ones. Everyone must have a flashlight so you can shine the ground in front of you as you walk to the pond. Salamanders may be walking too, and they aren't fast enough to get out of your way.  We don't want to step on any amphibians.
  • we generally meet at the Walgreens/Dunkin Donuts parking lot on Main Street in Gloucester at about 9:15pm. Most people drive their own car (or buddy up) from the parking lot to the pool.  That way you can leave whenever you get cold, wet, tired or bored.  Many field trippers do not care to stay out as long as I do. Which is fine.


You usually won't get much notice because there are lots of variables (for instance, the air temp. might be right, but the ground might still be frozen, and the amphibians may decide to stay home).  The critters don't tell us what they're going to do.  And we don't have a crystal ball here, so I'll try to give you my best guess as to when a field trip is coming up, but you may only get 2-3 hours notice.  So watch your emails.

So, anyway, put your rain gear, boots (just for a muddy walk, you won't be wading) and flashlight by the door and be ready. I would encourage you to check this out if you haven't already. If we get a good night, its an amazing spectacle and really the fun part of vernal ponding.

We'll need lots of experienced field trippers to assist in leading.  I think we'll have a lot of new people this year.

Check your emails often for the latest updates.  We will make every effort to give as much notice as possible, but sometimes it may not be until 6:30-7pm on the night of the trip.  We will try to do this whole thing by email. We used to do it by phone, but that's a real pain. 

Hope to see you out there.  

Rick 
we only have one earth, save it

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Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team    *    Get Outside Center   *   186 Main Street    *    Gloucester, MA  01930

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