Searching for woodland fairies and fingernail clams

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Marie Orttenburger

Marie Orttenburger

By Marie Orttenburger

Vernal pools are awe-inspiring ecosystems, and they provide habitats for unique creatures you won’t find anywhere else.

But they’re in danger of being overlooked—most notably by land developers.

Yu Man Lee

Yu Man Lee

Yu Man Lee is a conservationist and zoologist with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory.

She spoke with Great Lakes Echo about vernal pools, and how the Michigan Natural Features Inventory is teaming up with citizen scientists to help protect them.


  • Dry Vernal Pool (before leaves have fallen). Image: Yu Man Lee.

2 thoughts on “Searching for woodland fairies and fingernail clams

  1. I have a vernal pool in my wooded backyard March-June/July in Grand Ledge. Plenty of fairy shrimp, snails and wood frogs, but no salamanders that I can see. Lots of mosquito larvae too. It’s a fascinating habitat and I’m so happy to hear others are taking an interest. Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. Nice story! An important habitat often overlooked. Vernal ponds are great outdoor laboratories for children. They are often close to homes and school grounds. The abundance and diversity of aquatic life in these ponds always gets kids excited and interested in nature and the out-of-doors.
    Dexter Twp.

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