Vernal pools--seasonal ponds that dot the central Sonoma County landscape before they dry up each summer--are the product of unusual geology and home to some rare annual flowers.
The vernal pool environment turns out to be a tough place for a plant to live, says the Laguna de Santa Rosa's Hattie Brown. Part of that is the dramatic changes from winter to summer, but there are other factors, too.
Beyond establishing a baseline for the year-to-year variations observed and recorded at each of the pools being studied, Brown says they are also collecting information that will help answer some bigger, long-term questions.
As part of her work with the Laguna Foundation, Brown has been photographically documenting the endangered species found in and around the vernal pools of the Santa Rosa Plain. In order of appearance below, Sonoma Sunshine, Sebastopol Meadowfoam, and Burke's Goldseal.