As spring approaches, we await sleeping salamanders to wake up, leave their burrows and march across forests (and sometimes roads) to vernal pools where the females will lay hundreds of eggs. (A vernal pool is like a wicked big puddle.)
Some years ago, author Jennifer Keats Curtis (JKC) accompanied (was dragged by) biologist J. Adam Frederick, Maryland Sea Grant, Assistant Director of Education at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, to one of these temporary bodies of waters in the Catoctin Mountains. He convinced her that she liked amphibians; and, after seeing the beautiful navy blue spotted salamanders and the gooey globs of eggs they deposit, she agreed. Together, they wrote Salamander Season and the talented Shennen Bersani created wonderful illustrations of a girl and her scientist dad. The artwork accompanies real pictures of the salamanders. The book is an illustrated photographic journal.
And now, there is a fabulously interesting and educational primer to accompany the book. This tool, the brainchild of Adam and his team at Maryland Sea Grant, includes numerous resources as well as instructional strategies. While the co-authors note that they’d love everyone to read their book, the primer is usable on its own.
Salamander walks (sometimes called nights) take place all over. Check with local nature centers, local parks, or Audubon groups to find one near you. While you may not have spotted salamanders in your area, you surely have some kind of salamanders nearby!
To see the primer, click here, https://www.mdsg.umd.edu/topics/k-12-lesson-plans/symbiosis-backbone. For more information about the book, Salamander Season, click here, https://www.arbordalepublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=Salamanders.
Thanks to Maryland’s Sea Grant for the use of this photo of a spotted salamander: