There are a very select few spots in North Park where vernal pools can be found. Our goal at Latodami Nature Center is to restore and protect the few pools on site.
Three man-made pools are located along the Braille Trail. Built as Eagle Scout projects and through other community service groups, these pools provide important breeding habitats for multiple amphibian species.
Other flood-plain pools can be found below Latodami Pond along the Grom Run watercourse on Brown Road in the Willow Flycatcher Wetland and the Sweetflag Wetland, also along Kummer Road at Spring Peeper Wetland and Wood Frog Wetland, and below Pearce Mill Road at the new Wahdo:Gwas Wetland.
The summers of 2010 and 2011 were devoted to the new Wetlands Restoration Project created by the PA Turnpike. This restored wetland named Wahdo:Gwas, lies along the North Fork Tributary of Pine Creek and is located between Kummer and Pearce Mill Road and ends at the Ice Rink. The name, Wahdo:Gwas, is a Seneca name meaning, "rising, or coming from the water".
Grant money was provided by the PA Turnpike for the development at the site of the Dragonfly Interpretive Trail, a handicapped nature trail. Total distance for the proposed handicap accessible wetland trail is approximately 1,400 feet. This trail would travel along the sanitary line (McCandless Township Sanitary Authority) between the North Dakota Education Pavilion area (at the north end of the wetland project site) and the stream bridge crossing near the Ice Skating Rink (at the south end of the wetland project site) and would be ADA accessible from both points. A third access, although non-ADA, would be via the existing stone steps (located at the south end of the wetland project site) leading up to Pearce Mill Road opposite Miller Grove.
Handicap, non-handicap and bus parking access is located at the North Dakota Education Pavilion located off of Pearce Mill Road, and at the Ice Rink parking lot located off of Kummer Road. Non-handicap and bus parking is also available at Miller Grove located across from the wetland project site on Pearce Mill Road. The North Dakota picnic shelter will no longer be used as a fee-charged rental site but will now be designated as a free use site for the public and groups for the wetland walk.
The project includes wetter sections of the trail to be a raised boardwalk made from galvanized steel framing by Wickcraft Walkway Framing, and Lumberock, a trademarked Recycled Plastic Lumber (RPL) product. Educational Signs will be posted throughout the trail at various spots of interest and to inform visitors about wetlands in general. Possible sign themes may include: Wetland Project Information; Wetland Plants; Wetland Birds and Mammals; Aquatic Life in Wetlands; The Water Cycle/Water Shed; and, Value/How to Protect Our Wetlands.
The North Dakota Education Pavilion, butterfly/hummingbird garden, Monarch Waystation, bluebird nest boxes, wood duck nest boxes, Dragonfly Interpretive Trail and other special features of this site are being created mainly through Boy Scouts of America Eagle projects, Girl Scouts and through community volunteers. Work was started in 2010 and will continue until the trail is completed, which is estimated to be 2015.