Vernal Pool Patrol Educators and Students


In 2015, with funding from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust and the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, the Vernal Pool Patrol launched a companion program for formal and informal educators and students to get involved with vernal pool mapping and monitoring.  The program primarily targets middle and high school educators and students, but elementary educators and students are also welcome to participate in the program.  University and college-level classes also can participate in the program. 


The Vernal Pool Patrol is a citizen science and place-based education program.  The program consists of classroom instruction and data collection in the field. The classroom portion includes lessons on what vernal pools are, plants and animals associated with vernal pools, and their adaptations for surviving in them.  Students will learn about why vernal pools and wetlands are important, what they provide to surrounding ecosystems and local communities, threats facing vernal pools, and what they can do to help conserve these important wetlands.  Students also will learn about the Vernal Pool Patrol program and review the standard data collection protocols before going in the field.


Students will explore and collect actual research data on vernal pools during three field visits (one in the fall, two in the spring), using standard protocols and data collection forms or applications.  The data will be summarized and entered into an online data sharing platform so that students can view and compare data on vernal pools across the state. The students’ data will be entered into a statewide vernal pool database, which will contribute to increased knowledge and inform protection of vernal pools at local, state, and regional levels.


The Vernal Pool Patrol program provides students with real-world examples and applications of STEM concepts and practices, and is aligned with Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) and Michigan Science Standards. The program also can provide opportunities for students to design and conduct inquiry-based research projects and contribute to stewardship, education, and outreach related to vernal pools if interested.


If you are an educator (or a student) and are interested in learning more about and/or participating in the Michigan Vernal Pool Patrol, please contact Yu Man Lee with MNFI by email at to learn about how you can get involved and upcoming training workshops.