J: Fallen Tree
The roots of this fallen tree provide a unique view of the plant’s foundation. On average, a tree’s root system is several times wider than its canopy, though roots typically stay within the top 6-24 inches of soil. When big trees fall, they can pull up large amounts of soil around them, creating a depression in the ground. The depression here fills with water on a temporary basis - in the winter and spring, this small pool holds water, but in the drier months it evaporates away. This unique wetland, called a Vernal Pool, provides critical habitat for amphibians and insects to lay eggs. Without the threat of fish or other large predators, this protected pool is a great place for these aquatic species to grow and develop.
Cricket frog (genus Acris)
Marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum)