This fun kid friendly four stage multi cache which will start at the Silver Brook, and take you on a quick trip along woodland trails, passing through a marsh area, and ending up at the peaceful Vernal Pond. The stages are close and creative, and will not take too much time to complete
Vernal ponds are extraordinary seasonal depressional wetlands that fill after the snowfall each spring. They are covered by shallow water for variable periods from winter to spring, but may be completely dry for most of the summer and fall.
They are fascinating to observe and essential to the lives of many woodland species. With the rapid population declines of so many amphibian species, it’s crucial that these often unnoticed habitats be recognized and protected. They become the seasonal breeding and feeding grounds for many intriguing amphibians and insects, as well as the reptiles, birds, and mammals that depend on them for food. You might witness the bustling activity of salamanders, frogs, toads, and newts that have come to breed, as well as all kinds of aquatic insects.
Vernal ponds play an important role in the lives of many amphibians, which utilize them to fulfill the reproductive end of their life cycle. Because these temporary pools dry up in the summer they lack many of the predators that one might find in permanent waters. In this killer-free environment frogs, salamanders and toads can breed and lay eggs without fear of becoming lunch to hungry fish and predatory insects. The wood frog (Rana sylvatica) is especially fond of these pools.
Many vernal ponds had their origin during the last ice age, 15,000 years ago. As the Wisconsin Glacier retreated large chunks of ice remained and bored out these depressions through sheer weight. Wetland scientists refer to these as “kettle holes.”
These wetlands range in size from small puddles to shallow lakes and are usually found in a gently sloping plain of grassland. Although generally isolated, they are sometimes connected to each other by small drainages known as vernal swales. Beneath vernal pools lies either bedrock or a hard clay layer in the soil that helps keep water in the pool.
The scenic trails throughout the WPA covers a variety of woodlands and marshes. There are a variety of boardwalks, but after a rain some parts of the trails may become wet and proper footwear is recommended.
For information on the GSWA, and the CMA, please visit their web site at www.greatswamp.org
NNJC is about promoting a quality caching experience in Northern New Jersey.