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Arts Playlist: ‘Wetlands of Wonder: The Hidden World of Vernal Pools’

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Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is premiering a new educational outreach nature film.

DNREC and Wilmington-based production company 302 Stories produced “Wetlands of Wonder: The Hidden World of Vernal Pools,” a 54-minute film available on DNREC’s YouTube Channel.

In this week’s Arts Playlist, DNREC environmental scientist Mark Biddle talks with Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele about the film and its focus on vernal pools found in the bays around Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.

Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele talks with DNREC environmental scientist Mark Biddle about the film “Wetlands of Wonder: The Hidden World of Vernal Pools"

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has debuted a new educational outreach nature film.

DNREC and Wilmington-based production company “302 Stories” spent over a year producing “Wetlands of Wonder: The Hidden World of Vernal Pools.” 

DNREC environmental scientist Mark Biddle explains what inspired the 54-minute film available on DNREC’s YouTube Channel, “For quite a number of years now there’s been a handful of us around the State - not only DNREC but also some of the nonprofits like the Delaware Nature Society and others who work in and around wetlands and we’ve been well aware that a certain wetland type that occurs in Delaware and on Delmarva and in some other states that  although it’s small it’s very ecologically unique.” 

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Vernal pool pic featured in "Wetlands of Wonder: The Hidden World of Vernal Pools"

Biddle says vernal pools usually pop up in shallow depressions in the ground in and around forests, flooded wetlands or floodplains. They provide important habitat for amphibians and invertebrates -- and help sustain flora and fauna across the Delmarva Peninsula.

He says he realizes many people have never heard of vernal pools, “Vernal pools are a depression on the landscape and many of these occur in large forested tracts - both upland and wetland forests - and their depression on the landscape that typically doesn’t have an inlet and outlet - in other words a stream pint through it or something like that. So it really gets its water every year during the wet cycle.”

Biddle says the film also shows monitoring efforts by DNREC scientists and biologists as they track environmental changes that impact plant species in the vernal pools.

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Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.