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Weekly Challenge for #EnviroEd # 60 World Wetland Day – Feb 2

January 28, 2015

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This February 2nd, many in North America will be paying attention to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania or Wiarton, Ontario to see what certain Woodchucks might say about how much longer we will have snow upon the ground. Groundhogs Day is a day that while we all show a slight interest in on the television before we head off to work for the day – we rarely give another thought to the rest of the day.

Well February 2nd is also another important day – It is World Wetlands Day. Even myself, as an outdoor educator used to pay little attention to wetlands in the middle of winter. I do recognize of course that as World Wetland Day that means that half the swamps, marshes, fens and bogs around the world are not frozen right now.

Whether the waters are frozen or not, they wetland is still filtering water with cattails and bulrushes soaking up chemicals. When the snow melts the wetlands will act like sponges and soak up huge amounts of run off that would otherwise be the cause of flooding.

And wetlands, even those that are winter wonderlands right now are always teaming with diversity.

This past weekend I purposely popped my head out of the ground and started to explore winter wetland activity. I went out and explored my own local wetlands and found that while I could not see the waters beneath the ice the I had no doubt that the benthic invertebrates were active.

Above the surface though there were tracks, birds, and all sorts of activity. This Red Squirrel chattered away at me in the local bog(the same bog as the photo at the top of this post is at).

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There was a magical feel almost to all the wetlands I visited. The snow upon the cattail or the tamarack with the absence of their needles stood resolute. Fox, hare, crow, rabbit and deer tracks were everywhere telling me that indeed the wetland was visited on a regular basis and I found myself reflecting if their tracks would seem an intricate connect the dots from high above.

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Have you visited the wetlands near your school this winter? While perhaps wise to stay well away from any water, frozen or otherwise – I’d love to hear about your class’s visit to neighbourhood wetland this winter for a little exploration and understanding of their value. Send some photos to showcase your finds using the hashtags #EnviroEd and #WorldWetlandDay.

 

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