Press Release

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Ohio’s Vernal Pools Get Boost from Columbus Zoo

Ohio Environmental Council, July 19, 2013

Columbus Zoo Conservation Fund supports the highly successful OEC vernal pool trainings and expeditions.

The Columbus Zoo recently awarded the Ohio Environmental Council $8,198 to fund the OEC’s Vernal Pool Conservation and Education program for 2014. A vernal pool is a seasonal wetland that flourishes with life in the spring but dries out by summer’s end.

Vernal pools are essential to Ohio’s environment as they improve water quality, hold flood waters, and provide habitat to hundreds of species, including fairy shrimp, which can only be found in vernal pools.

“The Columbus Zoo continues to be a great partner in our work to protect and restore our disappearing vernal pools,” states David R. Celebrezze, Director of Air & Water Special Projects. “This grant will allow us to provide the public with resources on how to protect vernal pools in their community.”

“The Columbus Zoo Conservation Fund is pleased to support the OEC’s vernal pool program,” states Rebecca J. Rose, Field Conservation Manager for Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. “Educating citizens to learn about these unique ecosystems and conservation is central to our mission.”

The grant will fund OEC’s spring 2014 central Ohio training workshop, which is open to the public. The grant will also fund OEC’s small group expeditions out to vernal pools to gather baseline data and teach people to monitor the health of the vernal pools.  The training will include experts in vernal pool life cycle, monitoring, and wildlife and wild flora.

Since 2002, the OEC’s Vernal Pool Program has trained more than 500 citizen-scientists throughout Ohio (and beyond) about the importance of vernal pools and how to properly monitor them.

The program, which also operates the Ohio Vernal Pool Partnership, has developed several outreach materials including:

  • Ohio’s first field guide to the animals and plants of vernal pools;
  • Monitoring forms developed by state experts and scientists; and
  • Educational DVD and online videos.