Alcona Community High School students learn about soils from Jack Guy.



The Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative could not be as successful as it is without the dedicated support from all of our partners, including schools, government agencies, non profits, and businesses. They are the people that make these projects happen! Click the link below to see a list of all the partners involved in NEMI GLSI.


Explore Your Watershed!


Home > Vernal Pool Patrol Project

Vernal Pool Patrol Project

Monitoring seasonal wetlands across northern Michigan
Watershed Studies

Across Northern Michigan, students are monitoring vernal pools to help the Michigan Natural Features Inventory better understand the status of these seasonal wetlands.  Vernal pools are seasonal wetlands which provide a unique home to both aquatic and terrestrial wildlife throughout the wet and dry periods.  With this monitoring project, students visit a vernal pool site throughout the year (including when the pool is filled and dry), and acting as citizen scientists, they collect data related to species found and the vernal pool area and characteristics.  This data will contribute to a statewide vernal pool database that will help the public, land managers, and scientists better understand and protect Michigan's vernal pools.


This effort includes many schools, community partners, and even other GLSI regional hubs across Michigan.  It demonstrates how these different partners can work together and collaborate to increase our understanding of Michigan's vernal pools!  

To get more information about field surveying, click here to access the K-12 Vernal Pool Patrol Monitoring Program outreach materials.


Project Components and Timeline

Early - Mid-April

Teachers interested in participating in the Vernal Pool Patrol Project/Program attend Vernal Pool Training Workshop. Training workshop will include both classroom and field components. Participants will learn about vernal pools and the Vernal Pool Patrol Program. Participants interested in participating in the project/program will sign up with MNFI. MNFI staff will work with interested teachers to identify a vernal pool for students to monitor.


Mid-Late April

For classes that started monitoring in the fall or are ready to start monitoring in the spring, students receive a classroom overview of spring vernal pool ecology, inhabitants and monitoring protocols. Students conduct first spring monitoring field visit to collect data about vernal pools. Students walk or are bussed to a vernal pool.  Time is weather-dependent. Students starting to monitor in the spring will complete pre-program evaluation prior o the classroom visit.


Late April/Early May

Two to three weeks later, students return to the same pool to repeat data collection (to ensure all species inhabiting the pool are documented). Timing is weather dependent.


Mid-Late May

Students enter, analyze, and summarize data from spring field visits (and fall field visit if conducted). Students enter data into online. Students prepare presentations on the importance, methods, and results of data collection. Other types or avenues for students to present and share results from vernal pool monitoring and what they learned with the broader school and/or local community are also encouraged. Student complete program evaluations to assess impact of program or knowledge and attitudes. Teachers complete evaluation to provide feedback on program.



Teachers submit vernal pool data from monitoring visits to MNFI. MFNI reviews data and enters data into statewide vernal pool database. MNFI reviews student and teacher evaluations to improve upon project.


July - September

Teachers interested in participating in the program in the fall contact MNFI. MNFI staff works with teachers to identify a vernal pool site for the class to monitor, review program, and coordinate classroom and field visits.


September - October

Students complete pre-program evaluation prior to any vernal pool instruction. Students receive a classroom of the Vernal Pool Patrol Project and fall vernal pool ecology, inhabitants, and monitoring protocols. Students conducts fall monitoring field visit to collect data about vernal pools when they are dry. Students walk or are bussed to the pool. Teachers provide feedback and adjust for spring visits.


Michigan Natural Features Inventory Contacts:

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Project Participants
Julie Crick
Tracy D'Augustino
Meaghan Gass
Daria Hyde
Jeff Kalember
Yu Man Lee
Scott Steensma
Tracy Stoldt
Community Partners
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Monday, June 1, 2015
Monday, June 1, 2015
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Created on Thursday, April 30, 2015
Contact GLSI Northeast Michigan

Northeast Michigan GLSI network programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status.

2020 NEMIGLSI Leadership Team Bar

AMA-Iosco Math Science Center Americorps U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Great Lakes Fishery Trust Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative Community Foundation Northeast Michigan Huron Pines Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle ESD Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona ESD Michigan Department of Natural Resources Northeast Michigan Council of Governments Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary 4-H MSU Extension Michigan Sea Grant NOAA