CORTLAND - Wanting to educate the public about various aspects of nature, the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District hosted ''Wetland Day,'' so that families could learn about the wildlife of vernal ponds and pools.
Mantua resident Ron Etling, district conservation educator for Geauga SWCD and 38-year educator and naturalist, shared examples of the various wildlife found in vernal ponds including turtles, salamanders and frogs.
Etling teaches part time at Kent State University and provides schools, scout groups and home school students with hands-on programs relating to the conservation of our natural resources.
Etling said vernal pools, which are spring pools, need to dry out during the year or every few years. He noted certain animals and birds will not go there because of the fish eggs which they can smell.
One creature that doesn't mind the eggs is the spotted salamander, Ohio's state amphibian, which eats 98 percent of the mosquito larvae and pupa found in the pool.
He said during the mild winter of 2012 the spotted salamander were out and about in early March.
"Their eggs get as large as a softball,'' he said. ''The spotted salamander and Jefferson salamander are indicator species which let people know of a vernal pond.''
He said if a salamander is bright yellow or red, it indicates it is poisonous.
Other species that are good indicator of vernal pools are spade-foot toad and wood frog.
"Frogs are the best indicators of vernal pools. A frog's body produces a lot of glucose which allows for living at bottom of ponds in winter,'' Etling said.
The TSWCD's next program is on skunks and will be at 6:30 p.m. March 8 at Agriculture Center with guests from Skunk Haven.