Thursday, January 28, 2010

World Wetlands Day February 2

World Wetlands Day is Tuesday, February 2! How will you celebrate the wonders of wetland environments on that day?

For my part, I intend to spend time outside, walking and observing how, even in the midst of damp and cold winter weather, local wetlands provide much to celebrate: protecting shorelines and streambanks from erosion; slowing the flow of water across floodplains, providing places in the landscape for sediment settling; enhancing water quality through the uptake of water-borne minerals and chemical compounds; and providing habitat for aquatic and terrestrial creatures, from the now-chirping chorus frogs to the hunting Northern Harrier (aka Marsh Hawk). We are fortunate to live in a place where the seasons change so distinctly, and these changes are reflected dramatically in our local wetlands, many of which vary from flood to drought conditions, rapid vegetative growth to dormancy, green to brown with elements of spectacular blooms mixed through much of the year. The more time one spends in this landscape, the more sensitive one becomes to the subtle (and not-so-subtle!) changes that occur.

My suggestion for February 2 is to put on your rain coat, a good hat and gloves, and as tall boots as you may possess, and go for a good hike. Take your camera because I am certain there will be something of interest!

The view of our floodplain wetlands along Coyote Creek from our gazebo