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Learning Resources

Splash is here to help you learn or teach, depending on your role.  Our expert naturalists have developed a treasure-trove of materials that can help you make science fun and build bridges to nature.

Vernal Pools

A vernal pool is a temporary wetland that fills with water during the rainy season and dries out in the spring. It remains dry for six to eight months awaiting the next winter rains. The plants and animals that are adapted to survive these annual extremes of flood and drought create a changing mosaic of life throughout the three phases of a vernal pool: wet, flowering and dry.

Geology & Hydrology
3 Phases: Wet, Flowering, Dry
Visiting Vernal Pools
Vernal pools

Critters

Although most vernal pool animals are small, their complex food webs sustain many larger species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Most of the critters in vernal pools are native to California and many survive only in vernal pools. We know little about them and less than half have been named.

Microlife
Invertebrates
Crustaceans
Insects
Other Invertebrates
Amphibians
Reptiles
Mammals
Birds
Wading Birds
Ducks & Waterfowl
Raptors (Birds of Prey)
Small Birds
Bird Flying

Plants

Over 200 plant species grow in vernal pools and the surrounding prairie.  Half of these are rarely found outside this unique habitat.  A single pool typically supports only 15 to 20 species, in an unpredictable array of combinations.  In that way, vernal pools are a lot like snowflakes – botanically speaking, no two are alike.

White Flowers
Yellow or Orange Flowers
Pink or Red Flowers
Purple or Blue Flowers
Green, Brown, or no Flowers
Flower

Teacher’s QUICK LINKS

For our more experienced teachers/parents/partners, who know just what they are looking for, here are quick-access links to our documents, forms, and videos.

Documents
Forms
Videos
Teacher's Quick Links