This year has been a wet one it seems, all over the world. With all of us well aware of the many negatives this brings, I thought this story was refreshing as it focuses on one of the very positive outcomes of a wet winter and spring. Ephemeral pools, or “vernal pools,” have appeared this year on a preserve at the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Washington. These pools are a very rare occurrence, many scientists never having seen one in their lifetime. The pools (some as large as a small lake) support unique life forms like the fairy shrimp while full of water (which is hypersaline) and as they dry out flowers ring the edges. I’ve read about the pioneers coming across low, round spots ringed with flowers on the prairie and calling them “fairy rings.” They most likely were seeing the drying-out stage of a vernal pool. If you are anywhere near this Washington refuge, go take a look and remember The Nature Conservancy and consider donating, joining, and becoming proactive in your area. Thanks to them these pools on the Marcellus Preserve are protected.

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