Vernal Pool Inventory and Monitoring
Vernal pools are a type of critical habitat with special properties that are important for a variety of animals in this region. Several species of amphibians and reptiles obligate some portion of their life span to vernal pools, whether it is for reproduction or survival. We conducted a vernal pool inventory on the property in 2007 so that we can accurately account for this critical habitat for subsequent biological monitoring activities on property. We assessed that White Memorial Foundation currently holds approximately 120 pools on the property. Every pool was visited periodically in 2008 to monitor the biological activity. Hank Gruner, a herpetologist affiliated with Metropolitan Conservation Alliance of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Vice President of Connecticut Science Center facilitated our workshops in 2007 and 2008. In addition to the training, participants received a field kit that will aide them during their forays on the property in search of vernal pools and the species that utilize them. To date, 25 participants have participated in our training workshops and currently help us monitor this critical habitat. The group occasionally meets throughout the winter to swap stories and share observations.
Winter Track Monitoring
Tracking mammals in the snow has long been a common way to observe mammal habits by naturalists. Recently, conservation biologists have developed techniques that allow us to monitor mammal population fluctuations and habitat associations through the use of standardized approaches. These techniques were employed at White Memorial in 2007 and 2008. Each volunteer is trained and assigned a transect that they traverse while snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or hiking just after a fresh snow fall each winter month (January - March). Training covers topics of mammal track identification in snow, data collection, and general procedures. Each participant will receive the 3rd edition (2006) of Peterson Field Guide titled "Animal Tracks" by O.J. Murie and M. Elbroch, as well as a kit that will aid in identification and data recording. The group occasionally meets throughout the winter to swap stories and share observations.