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Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team Inc.

 Get Outside Center, 186 Main Street
 Gloucester, MA 01930
[P] (978) 281-3480
[F] --
[email protected]
Victoria Rolf
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 20-2678120

LAST UPDATED: 03/09/2017
Organization DBA Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team is a non-profit organization dedicated to vernal pond conservation and education since 1990. Our focus is vernal ponds, the issue is preservation of wildlife habitat, which is ultimately about the health of the planet.

Mission Statement

The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team is a non-profit organization dedicated to vernal pond conservation and education since 1990. Our focus is vernal ponds, the issue is preservation of wildlife habitat, which is ultimately about the health of the planet.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2014 to Dec 31, 2014
Projected Income $69,000.00
Projected Expense $67,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Community Educational Programs and Exhibits
  • Vernal Pond Certification
  • Vernal Pond Field Trips

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2010 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team is a non-profit organization dedicated to vernal pond conservation and education since 1990. Our focus is vernal ponds, the issue is preservation of wildlife habitat, which is ultimately about the health of the planet.

Background Statement

Formed in 1990, the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team (CAVPT) is a non-profit, mainly volunteer organization dedicated to vernal pond conservation and education in the Cape Ann/North Shore area of Massachusetts. CAVPT’s goals are to protect vernal ponds throughout the area and spread awareness about the importance of preserving these vital habitats. 

CAVPT has a number of programs to approach vernal pond protection from multiple angles. We have approximately 50 team members dedicated to our programs that are targeted to the community as a whole.

Impact Statement

Since its inception, the Cape Ann Vernal Pond team has done more to preserve vanishing vernal ponds than has any other local group. Our work has given wetlands protection to over 150 vulnerable habitats; protecting both the ponds themselves as well as the species that rely on them for their survival. In conjunction with our conservation work, we have engaged and mobilized the local community to become active and responsible stewards of their wild places through the more than 50 engaging and hands on educational programs and exhibits we hold each year.

Needs Statement

As vital pieces of the larger forest ecosystem, vernal ponds are critical wetland habitats for countless species. Amphibians such as spotted salamanders and wood frogs are obligate species to ponds, which means they require vernal ponds for the survival of their species. In the spring, these animals migrate to the ponds to breed. Obligate species will return to the same pond every year to breed and if the pond has been destroyed or disturbed, that specific population will cease to breed. In addition to the species that depend on the specific ponds for survival, there are numerous other mammals, reptiles, and birds that depend on the pond species for food. Vernal pools provide more food for forest wildlife than any other wetland. Because vernal ponds are often small pools of water that dry up in the summer, their significance is sometimes passed over. It is estimated that there are hundreds of vernal ponds on Cape Ann alone that are at risk because of development and human encroachment.


CAVPT fills a niche in the environmental community on the North Shore. We are one of the few voices that are speaking up for these small, yet vitally important habitats. Without funding, endangered and threatened wildlife would be unrepresented as private citizens and developers unknowingly encroached on their habitat. Without funding, environmentally minded citizens would lack an outlet for their concerns and efforts, and lose an integral connection to their natural landscapes.

CEO Statement

Born in Illinois in 1952, by the time I was five, I was spending my time, summers and after school, in the woods, fields and wetlands.  Anything wild interested me: turtles, frogs, snakes, crayfish, dragonflies, butterflies, raccoons, skunks, birds.  Without realizing it I was leading field trips to local wild areas at a very young age, as friends and schoolmates would join me to see where I was finding all these cool animals. Twenty three years ago a few friends and I founded the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team (CAVPT).  We began by leading nighttime field trips to see the spring breeding activity of spotted salamanders, wood frogs and spring peepers. 

Most people had never seen this, or had any idea it was happening.  Most of our field trippers grew up with the sound of the spring peeper indicating the true beginning of the season.  But, most had never seen one.  Let alone one expanding its throat like a balloon to make the peeping sound.  And they can't believe such a tiny frog can make such a loud noise. I'm all for saving the rain forest.  But I think our local wildlife is interesting and important as well.  Nature is wonderful.  And also necessary.  All those open spaces and wildlife habitats are filters for our air and water, and giant oxygen producers.  Their significance cannot be overstated. 

Soon after we started, CAVPT members began to certify pools, a process by which these misunderstood and undervalued wetlands, and some of the adjacent upland habitat, are protected by the state. 

I have always had a special interest in snakes since I caught one (10" northern brown snake) on my way home from kindergarten.  I have offered educational programs about snakes for over 40 years. Likely among the most misunderstood animals, snakes are beautiful and fascinating creatures, and thousands of people have changed their outlook about them after attending our presentations. It was always CAVPT members who volunteered to help with the shows- so I made Snakes of New England and the World (live animal presentation) one of the programs that CAVPT offers. 

After 23 years we are now an incorporated, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with overhead and an office.  In 2012, 57 different people volunteered for us in one capacity or another.  Even though we have more expenses and administrative work to do, we have more people who share the passion to do the work and raise the money.  And it allows us to do more educational outreach than we ever could before.

Board Chair Statement

My name is Nick Taormina, I am President of the Board for the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team (CAVPT). I have been involved with the organization for over tens years. My first introduction happened to be a nighttime field trip that amazed me. It was a classic “big night” event where there was some great wildlife activity. My involvement with the organization has been a rewarding and educational experience. My experience has coupled my desire for volunteerism along with a passion and respect for the natural world. I have gained in-sight to the growth of a grass-roots organization and participated in the maturation process, as slow and painstaking as it sometimes seems. 


The success of CAVPT can be measured in many ways. Public awareness and support through participation in community events has increased. We have developed relationships with other local non-profits we work collaboratively with. We are also continuing to expand our programs and continue to emphasize our certification process, necessary for gaining protection for vernal pools.


CAVPT does have it’s challenges. Because the organization is built on volunteers, things often move slowly and sometimes haltingly. Available capital also drives decisions. To do more of what your passionate about you need to have more capital, which involves committees and meetings and action. We have continued to meet our challenges and establish new goals.

Geographic Area Served

The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team work primarily in Essex County, MA. However, we have provided programming throughout New England and are connected with conservation groups throughout the region.

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Land Resources Conservation
  2. Environment - Environmental Education
  3. Education -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Community Educational Programs and Exhibits

Held throughout New England, our exciting programs educate the community about vernal ponds and the complex web of life they support. Currently our two main programs offerings are: Snakes of New England and the World and our Vernal Pool Study Program. Both programs focus on educating participants and community members about local habitats and the wildlife they support using a multi-media approach including video, lecture, and live animal presentation.


In the past, CAVPT has held exhibits and presentations at community events, schools, libraries, girl and boy scout meetings, State Parks, and local fairs. We have worked with many local organizations such as Essex County Greenbelt Association, Trustees of Reservations, Gloucester Sawyer Free Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Kestrel Educational Adventures, and many more, offering programs to their constituents and staff. In addition, CAVPT is a registered presenter for the Massachusetts State Parks. CAVPT holds approximately 30 programs, reaching hundreds of community members, each year.

Budget  $27,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 

Strong attendance at events with engaged and excited participants.


Program Long-Term Success 

More informed citizens in the area speaking out for the health of their local ecosystems.

Program Success Monitored By 

Because our team members are continually engaged with community members at events and presentations, we get direct feedback on the effectiveness of our programs as they are happening. We provide programs at many of the same venues annually because the response from the community is so overwhelmingly positive we are asked back year after year. This allows us to evaluate long-term program partnerships and continually improve upon our efforts.

Examples of Program Success 

CAVPT is asked back continually at venues to provide programming. All of our events are packed with excited and engaged participants who ask questions and stay in touch. Our volunteer base has grown as a result with more citizens inspired in contributing to the environmental education efforts throughout Cape Ann.

Vernal Pond Certification

Since its inception, CAVPT has worked to certify over 100 vernal ponds in the Cape Ann area. Massachusetts was the first state to offer protection for ponds and through the state’s program, vernal ponds, once certified, are offered the same protection as other wetlands. Pond certifications are registered through the National Heritage and Endangered Species Program, an agency of the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Staff and volunteers work on mapping, data collection, and all necessary paperwork to give ponds certification status.


Additionally, CAVPT holds pond certification workshops to educate other organizations about pond certification and volunteers provide assistance to individuals working on certification projects on their own land.

Budget  $8,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Land Conservation
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 

Protect, on average, 15 vernal ponds a year. Working with citizens in an educational capacity, increase awareness and interest in certification projects on private land and increase our volunteer base with community members inspired to work to protect these ecosystems. See an increased interest from local organizations and surrounding communities to replicate our efforts.

Program Long-Term Success 

CAVPT’s long-term goals are to see our active and continued certification efforts result in the protection of most of the at-risk vernal ponds on Cape Ann. Additionally, we hope that more members of the community are active in conservation issues and local organizations have a greater understanding of the importance of these ecosystems. We would also like to see Team members working directly with surrounding communities in Massachusetts to educate and support them in an effort to replicate our efforts throughout the state and beyond.

Program Success Monitored By 

We look at how many pools we have protected annually and publish a Certification Report that is given to funders and interested parties. We hold quarterly Certification Committee meetings that allow us to smooth out our certification protocol and modify our efforts as the need arises. New technological developments in mapping and GIS are discussed and members are trained on an ongoing basis that assures the continued streamlining of the process.


Additionally, we hand out evaluation forms to our partner organizations after a certification workshop to get a sense of the effectiveness of our education efforts. We are particularly interested in seeing if these groups are able to replicate our efforts and if they are actively trying to do so.

Examples of Program Success 

Since our inception, CAVPT has certified over 100 ponds. We have built our volunteer base from the ground up. Today, invested and passionate citizens who are informed and committed to protect these wild lands run our certification program. We have built relationships with local conservation organizations such as Essex County Greenbelt and Parker River Wildlife Refuge and held certification workshops for their staff and constituents. Local Conservation Commissions have sought us out to provide educational programs about local vernal pools and the Wetlands Protection Act.

Vernal Pond Field Trips

Participants learn about and explore these vital habitats. Operating in the springtime (the peak of amphibian breeding season), field trips allow participants to see the inextricable link woodland creatures, such as salamanders and frogs, have to these ponds. Peak nights, when ponds are teaming with thousands of salamanders and frogs, are truly a transformative experience. CAVPT members are on-hand to answer questions and lead a discussion on the importance of preserving these areas. The community response to these trips is overwhelming and participants walk away educated and encouraged to develop their own sense of conservation. CAVPT reaches approximately 50 people per year through our field trips with many participants becoming CAVPT volunteers following their experience.

Budget  $1,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 

Hold approximately 10 field trips per season and see an increase in the number of attendees on these field trips.

Program Long-Term Success 

Our long-term goal of this program is to expose a large percentage of the local population to these dynamic and exciting ecosystems at their peak activity time.

Program Success Monitored By 

Checking in with staff and volunteers at our annual meeting to assess the success of the previous year and strategize about how to continue and strengthen the effectiveness of the program. Reaching out to program attendees to get a sense of the depth of their experience.

Examples of Program Success 

There is never a dull moment on a field trip! Over the years we have had a continued and enthusiastic base of participants who come out to watch the migration. These participants tell their friends to come and through word of mouth citizens brave the cold, wet nights and are always rewarded by the experience of this rich natural event.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Mr. Richard Roth
CEO Term Start Mar 2009
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience --
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Community Recognition Award Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church 2011
The Ecological Landscaping Award for Most Innovative Exhibit ELA Conference and Eco-Marketplace 2010
Merit Awards for Educatioanal Value, Conservation Message and Excellence in Hi-8 Photography 23rd Annual Wildlife Film Festival 2000
Marion Thompson Fuller Brown Conservation Award Garden Club of America --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


CAVPT works with numerous community organizations. Some our relationships are as follows:


Trustees of Reservations - Over the years, we have certified vernal ponds on their properties and held collaborative educational programs and presentations.


Essex County Greenbelt - We hold an annual vernal pond field trip for their constituents.


Parker River Wildlife Refuge - We have held vernal pond certification workshops.


MA State Parks – We are registered presenters.


Girls Scouts – We have held programs for the local Girl Scouts and now have a “Vernal Pond Patch” program for Scouts who complete a series of activities including finding out what a vernal pond is, identifying wildlife found in ponds, and using GPS to map out a nearby pond.


Kestrel Educational Adventures (KEA) – KEA began as CAVPT’s representation in the local schools. Eventually, they broke away and became their own organization. We have continued to stay close, sharing office space, board members and fundraising efforts.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 50
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 1
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 0
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? No
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A


Board Chair Mr. Nicolo Taormina
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Chair Term Mar 2009 - Mar 2013
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Sam Bevins Community Volunteer Voting
Tracey Bowen Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center Voting
Ron Camille Community Volunteer Voting
Stacy Interrante Community Volunteer Voting
Nicolo Taormina Community Volunteer Voting
Chris Wood Community Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 1
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 50%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Program / Program Planning
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team board is a small, motivated group of dedicated volunteers. The biggest challenge for our board is to meet the growth and demand for our work with our historically all volunteer run organization. Over the past 20 years the Board, and Executive Director Richard Roth, have grown the organization exponentially from a small group of individuals conducting a few field trips to a well-known local organization with a mailing list of over 600 people; we have certified over 100 vernal ponds and present dozens of programs annually to hundreds of people.

Our accomplishments are due to our greatest strength: the enthusiasm and dedication of our members and the larger group of volunteers. Over 50 volunteers staff our presentations, helping to educate the public about vernal ponds and the creatures that need them to survive. 

As we enter a phase of growth with new programs, increased budget, and greater associated administrative needs, demands on a small group of core volunteers are increased. The job of the Board in the next few years is to grow and strengthen the Board and the volunteer core to meet the administrative challenges and programmatic opportunities of the future.

To address these challenges, the board’s main focus is to begin to steer the organization away from an all-volunteer model, to a future where volunteers work alongside paid staff to continue to realize our goals. Recently, a dozen people attended a visioning meeting to discuss our aspirations for the growth of the organization. It is a very exciting time at CAVPT!

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2010 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2014 to Dec 31, 2014
Projected Income $69,000.00
Projected Expense $67,000.00
Form 990s --
Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Total Revenue $68,280 $58,188 $45,581
Total Expenses $69,694 $58,311 $61,421

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$5,750 $2,500 $41
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $3,408 -- $1,924
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $10,233 $3,069 --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $7 $2 --
Membership Dues $1,210 $485 --
Special Events $9,673 $14,132 $5,617
Revenue In-Kind $38,000 $38,000 $38,000
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Program Expense $51,539 $43,662 $48,287
Administration Expense $8,538 $6,465 $7,211
Fundraising Expense $9,617 $8,185 $5,923
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.98 1.00 0.74
Program Expense/Total Expenses 74% 75% 79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 51% 49% 78%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Total Assets $10,382 $1,069 $2,093
Current Assets $10,382 $1,069 $2,093
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $11,879 $11,533 $13,081
Total Net Assets $-1,497 $-10,464 $-10,988

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 0.87 0.09 0.16

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

CAVPT’s biggest asset is the dedication and ceaseless contributions of time and expertise of our volunteers. Currently 58% of our overall budget is in the form of in-kind support. Our Executive Director spends nearly 100% of his time on programs and a vast majority of this time is volunteered. Our Board of Directors oversees the operational and financial needs of the organization, which again, is all-volunteer.

As we continue to grow, and our administration and programmatic needs deepen, we are actively working to grow our funding base to begin to move the organization from an all-volunteer model to a model that includes volunteers working along side paid staff. This is essential if we are to continue to move forward and meet both our organizational needs as well as the environmental needs of our community.

To this end, over the last three years, we have implemented several new fundraising initiatives including our Annual Fund drive and Annual Benefit Concert among others. These young initiatives have already contributed to our income in a positive way. We are confident that enterprises, such as these, have the potential to grow exponentially over the years and contribute in a more robust way in the future.

Foundation Comments

There is an estimated $38,000 in inkind staffing included in the financials above.  This organization files a 990-N or postcard due to the level of monetary revenue.  As such, the organization provided internal document which formed the financials posted above.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?


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3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


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5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?