Bristow Elementary School Installs a Vernal Pond on their Campus
|Author: Trish Sowell, Melissa Trent|
Date: Saturday, December 14th, 2013
Bristow Elementary's Energy Team's goal is to get students out of the classroom to have real-life experiences with scientific material through discovery learning, while saving energy by using outdoor resources. It is becoming a reality! We are excited about our newest educational addition...a vernal pond. "By November 5th the pond was already holding water! As the pond continues to fill, our team is working diligently to 'ready' the outdoor learning area, which we have named the 'disconnected classroom'," said Melissa. "We have 30 stumps placed near the pond for student seating as they observe the pond. There is an uprooted tree placed near the pond along with rocks and branches to attract wildlife".
Recently, the Energy Team was awarded a grant of $3,500 from SCA Personal Care to beautify our disconnected classroom! With the grant, we plan to build an environmentally friendly shelter for students to observe and record observations, install bird houses with a camera inside one house to record birds and babies; install bat houses and a variety of Kentucky native plants, along with a butterfly garden and rock garden. Our projected completion for this project is early Spring....and it all started with a vernal pond!", said Melissa.
On October 18th, the pond was installed with the expertise of Wildlife Biologist, Tom Biebighauser, coordinating assistance from Trish Sowell with the Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability at WKU, and the excavator operator Ken White from Scott and Ritter, Inc., along with a $2,000 grant funded from Sheltowee Environmental Education Coalitions Wetland Restoration Program (SEEC).
Tom explains, "Vernal ponds are seasonal wetlands that are usually quite small and are covered by shallow water during the wetter part of the year. Climatic changes associated with each season cause dramatic changes in the appearance of and the flora and fauna associated with vernal ponds. Common animals seen at vernal ponds include toads and frogs, salamanders and dragon flies. A variety of bird life is attracted to the pools which are used as a seasonal source of food and water. In many areas, vernal ponds are disappearing due to sprawl patterns of growth, and efforts are being made to protect and restore them, as their disappearance marks the loss of important habitat for associated plants and animals"
For more information and pictures about the vernal pond go to: http://www.wku.edu/cees/bristow_elementary_vernal_pond.php