Staff Report, The Recorder, Jan 20, 2022
GREENFIELD — Looking to decrease disturbances to the vernal pool in Highland Park that might adversely affect the wood frog and spotted salamander populations, members of Greening Greenfield recently installed informational signs.
Two years ago, several residents voiced their concerns to Greening Greenfield and the city’s conservation agent about the health of the vernal pool in Highland Park. After conferring with Cassie Tragert, conservation agent at the time, residents decided that because the pool is next to Bears Den Road, which is used by many people, putting up a sign about the fragile habitat would be a good idea.
With the approval of the Conservation Commission and Recreation Department, Greening Greenfield received permission to design and install two signs to highlight the sensitivity of the vernal pool and its inhabitants, with a goal of decreasing disturbances from foot traffic and pets.
In addition, Greening Greenfield sponsored monitoring of the vernal pool from March to September 2021 by volunteer biologists Patricia Serrentino and Alex Haro, who observed water levels and breeding efforts of wood frogs and spotted salamanders.
“I hope that our efforts to monitor the pool will generate greater interest in protecting the wildlife and plant communities in the pools,” Serrentino commented, “and that the signs will keep people and dogs from disturbing this important habitat.”
“We are incredibly appreciative of Patricia and Alex’s work,” said Edie Heinemann, Greening Greenfield member and organizer of their nature walks. “It has been fascinating to learn from Patricia about the role of vernal pools in our ecosystem, and about the lives of the amphibians that use them. We hope that everyone will help protect these very special places.”
Click here for Serrentino's Report.