Yolo Basin Foundation
Vernal pools are seasonal wetlands that can fill with water during winter and spring rains. As the water slowly evaporates from these shallow depressions in the land, rings of endemic and rare flowers grow around the depressions out of the clay packed soils below. They are home to a variety of rare and endemic animals that are threatened and endangered. Very few vernal pool habitats exist in California today, and they are a natural treasure that Federal laws and the community help to protect.
Yolo Basin Foundation is excited to continue bringing vernal pool programs to the community in partnership with Yolo County Parks and funded by a California Department of Parks and Recreation Habitat Conservation Fund grant. Throughout April and May, Yolo Basin Foundation is offering vernal pool field trips for students through our Discover the Flyway school program, and tours with vernal pool experts for the community.
The Yolo Basin Foundation’s Discover the Flyway school program brings the vernal pools into the classroom both virtually and in person. The Critter Caper STEAM student activity focuses on vernal pool natural history and science as well as a closer look at a specific species, either vernal pool tadpole shrimp or fairy shrimp. The activity adapted for kindergarten through 12th grade students. Both virtual and field trip based vernal pool programs are free to schools and have availability. Teachers can register online at www.yolobasin.org/schoolprograms/.
The foundation will host tours of the restored vernal pool habitats at Grasslands Regional Park. The community can explore these crucial habitats with Yolo Basin Foundation staff and volunteers through a small group tour experience. These areas are protected and off limits to the public due to multiple plants and animals present retaining endangered or threatened status. They can discover how vernal pools are naturally created and restored, and look closely at amazing wildflowers and small creatures that call the vernal pools home.
Registration is free, required, and limited to 20 people per tour. The dates and times are as follows: 4 p.m.–5 p.m. on March 13, March 26, April 3, April 10, April 16, April 17, April 24 and May 8. Register for Vernal Pool Tours at www.yolobasin.org/vernalpooltours/. Donations are appreciated.
Interested in volunteering for these programs?
The foundation is training new volunteers on how to lead and assist with vernal pool tours for both the public and for students on Saturday, Feb. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon and Saturday, March 5, from 10 a.m. noon. To become a volunteer with Yolo Basin Foundation, please apply to volunteer at www.yolobasin.org/volunteer/.