Spring 2023 Vernal Pool Community Science Challenge

9 AM–5 PM | Online | Public

Join youth, educators, and professional scientists working together to understand impacts of climate change on key vernal pool species

Spring 2023 Vernal Pool Community Science Challenge

Vernal pools are unique ecosystems that are critical to maintaining healthy and biodiverse forests. They are also highly affected by changes in temperature and precipitation. So how are vernal pool species and ecosystems affected by our warming climate? We need your help finding out! Participate in the Vernal Pool Community Science Challenge this spring and join the growing network of thousands of youth, educators, and community members across the Northeast working to understand impacts of climate change on these remarkable ecosystems.

The Vernal Pool Community Science Challenge will kick off with live virtual meetings with the project’s lead scientists, Aram Calhoun and Hamish Greig from the University of Maine. Students will begin by building background knowledge on vernal pools and then will head out into the field to collect data. As the results come in, the GMRI team will share project updates and emerging questions. The challenge will wrap up with a virtual gathering in which students and lead scientists share observations and questions and work to make sense of their findings. Students that are not able to join the live session may contribute comments or video clips ahead of time to be shared with the community.

Supports for educators in the Vernal Pool Community Science Challenge include:

  • A virtual educator information session on March 21st offered from 11:30 to 12:30 and again from 3:30 - 4:30. We will discuss the research project, how students can get involved, and curriculum resources to support educators.
  • In-person field experiences for educators to practice the protocol and nerd out at a vernal pool near you.
  • Ready-to-use, NGSS-aligned classroom resources, including class slides, videos, games, and identification materials.
  • Materials needed for fieldwork
  • Ongoing support from the project team

Benefits to students include:

  • Opportunities to connections to professional scientists and a network of peers involved in the same project, including at virtual meetings April 25 and May 22, 10:00 to 10:45 am.
  • Experience with fieldwork
  • Real life significance for their work!

An authentic context for building STEM practices, ecosystem knowledge, and understanding of localized impacts of climate change

Feedback from the Vernal Pool Community Science Challenge

“This was just a great way for us to be real scientists. We really loved it and we’re going to do this for years and years to come.” - Vernal Pool Challenge Participating Teacher

“I think going outside and exploring the woods and the vernal pools were really fun, and there was a purpose to it, not just going outside.” - Student scientist

“We could spend years and not get anywhere near as much information as students can get by going out into the forests surrounding their schools and looking in vernal pools.” Lead Scientist, Hamish Greig, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Maine

Contact Meggie at [email protected] with questions.

Photo credit: Brenna Crothers April 5, 2022