our neighborhood homeschool co-op visited Jug Bay again,
this time in the spring.
with our nets we scooped from the near side…
and the far side…
whatever we could coax into our nets from the sizeable vernal pool.
then pick gingerly through the leaves and other pond-ish muck
looking for signs of life.
vernal pools are of bodies water that,
rather have a water source like a stream or river,
are created by melting snow, water runoff and rains in the spring.
because of its transient nature, the vernal pools are fish-free
and are therefore fertile breeding habitats for animals like:
and LOTS of slippery, jelly-like frog eggs.
we used our tools to catch, examine
and then gently release,
like responsible nature stewards.
intermission: did you know that crawfish made castles? here’s one to prove it:
we lunched and had birthday brownies in honor one of our youngest homeschoolers,
then we went to the bay.
after trekking through the forest trails and in the dappled sunlight around vernal pools,
the view of the bay was breathtaking and quite humbling.
we then examined how the wetlands filter the water,
act as natural flood control,
provide food, shelter and nesting areas for animals,
and once provided food and medicines for local native people.
nearer to the water, the walkway looked like it was embedded in plain old mud,
but the six-foot pole our naturalist stuck into this “mud” nearly disappeared!
we saw skunk cabbage
(which did have a peculiar odor),
(it’s luminescent under water and an excellent poison ivy treatment),
we also came across
poison ivy snaking symbiotically up a tree,
witch hazel, arrowhead, marshmallow and…
some say it taste like cucumber.
others say it taste like potatoes.
we took a moment to see with our own eyes…
how this particular bay plant
— do you know what it’s called? —
acts as a sponge to clean our waters.
we left a few footprints
and headed home with our spirits revived from the majestic blessings of nature.