A couple of weeks ago, I shared my exploration of the vernal pools at Phoenix Park, not far from where I live; but there’s a much more expansive area of vernal pools a few miles farther down the road at the site of former Mather Air Force Base. I’ve never been out to the pools at Mather, but several years ago Huell Howeser toured the area. His visit coincided with late spring, when the pools had mostly dried up and the bloom was in full swing — likely mid to late April.
One of Huell’s guides was Eva Butler, the founder of Sacramento Splash, which is active in educating school kids on the importance of the vernal pools and conducting seasonal tours of these seriously at-risk natural resources. These days, SPLASH has set up viewing platforms so the kids can get closer to the pools without trampling the plant life. (Please feel free to fully explore their web site; it’s packed full of so much great info!)
For years Huell has been getting letters telling him he should do a show on Vernal Pools, well, now he has. Just a short drive from Sacramento, on an old Military Base Huell meets up with a couple of experts, and a bunch of school kids all eager to explore the flora and fauna that live in and around these wonderful natural pools. As they go from pool to pool, Huell learns that even if they are only a few acres away, they can be a totally different world.