Midcoast Conservancy will offer two days of nature exploration. First, in Montville from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 21, local ecologists and amphibian fanatics Larkspur Morton and Buck O’Herin will lead a family friendly springtime exploration of a vernal pool and protected wetland and their amphibian residents. Bring a good flashlight/headlamp and wear footwear appropriate for wet areas, preferably tall rubber boots. Those who have an empty white plastic container, bring that too. Some will be available to share. Meet at the Bog Brook trailhead on Halldale Road in Montville off of Route 220 in South Halldale, about a mile in. No registration required.

On Earth Day, April 22, at Hidden Valley Nature Center, tour one or two spring destinations. At 10:30 a.m., participants can venture out to the bog, a special and fragile environment, via a 220-foot boardwalk. The magic of the bog should be evident with the pitcher plants showing their color, the sundews emerging and the vast array of life rebounding. Meet at the center’s gate on Egypt Road in Jefferson for a prompt 10:30 a.m. departure. The trails may be wet for the 400-yard walk to the bog, so wear appropriate footwear. At 12:30 p.m., visit several vernal pools which, though fleeting, provide valuable habitat for a number of amphibians as well as a host of other plants and animals. They provide the primary breeding habitat for four indicator species: wood frogs, spotted salamanders, blue-spotted salamanders, and fairy shrimp.

Meet at the gate or the nearby vernal pool at 12:30 p.m. The best footwear for vernal pool exploration is high rubber boots to allow access to the pools, but Bean boots, Muck boots or hiking boots are adequate. A hiking stick, polarized glasses, and binoculars are helpful; bring water and sun protection.

Space on the boardwalk is limited, so register at hvnc.org. Free to members of Midcoast Conservancy. Suggested donation is $5 for all others.