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It’s World Wetlands Day!

Hikers Across the World Celebrate World Wetlands Day

Hikers honor World Wetlands Day in Israel in 2012; their poster announces “Ramsar day — Israel 2012,” and features a recently-discovered endemic species, the Hula Painted Frog. Courtesy Wikipedia.

It’s hard not to be passionate about the celebration of  World Wetlands Day, since all of what you see on this blog, the unique landscapes and its wonderful critters — are dependent on wetland ecosystems! Officially February 2, World Wetlands Day is an international celebration of the planet’s marshes, swamps, and bogs. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, on February 2, 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997, and since then government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and citizens all over the world have aimed to raise public awareness of the critical value and intrinsic benefits of wetland ecosystems.

World Wetlands Day Poster, 2013

World Wetlands Day Poster, 2013

World Wetlands Day 2013, from the Ramsar / World Wetlands Day Website (Click to download poster)

Despite the growing awareness of this unique ecosystem, there are sobering threats facing the survival of our wetlands:

    • A 2011 federal study estimated the U.S. lost 62,300 acres of wetlands between 2004-2009 — a loss rate 140% higher than from 1998-2004
    • Wetland habitat has now been cut within the contiguous U.S. to 110 million acres…. And those surviving wetlands face dangers like hypoxia due to water pollution and invasive species. Pythons and melaleuca in the Everglades (among a host of other destructive non-native species), and nutria in New Orleans continue to ravage the structure of this ecosystem
    • Wetlands are extremely sensitive, and are counted as one of the most vulnerable ecosystems subject to climate change
    • Wetlands residents have suffered terribly due to increased habitat loss. Throughout Florida for example — just to pick one critter — we witnessed a dramatic decrease in the populations of the already-endangered Wood storks, due to the decline and destruction of their homes, as well as what many believe to be extreme weather patterns (dry winter / wet winter) in the last few years. Like so many other wetlands-dependent species, the disappearance of the Wood stork would signal the loss of a crucial component of our wetlands. But it’s not all doom-and-gloom for this gentleman stork, as he appears to have returned this year — hoorah! Fingers crossed that our healthy wetlands will maintain their nests — and that awareness and education will help other species (though perhaps not quite as handsome as my gentleman, below).
Wood Stork in the Florida Wetlands

Wood stork at home in the wetlands

Wood Stork in Flight, Rookery Trail, West Palm Beach, Florida

Wood stork returning to its nest

There’s much that can be done to restore and protect this vital habitat — check out your local resources, visit your neighboring natural areas, and above else, LOVE YOUR WETLANDS and their amazing inhabitants!

The theme for the 2013 World Wetlands Day is Wetlands Take Care of Water. Wetlands provide critical functions, including groundwater replenishment, water purification, flood control, and nutrient storage. They also offer biodiversity, if allowed to flourish. But their health depends on the quality and quantity of the water that reaches them.

For more information, visit World Wetlands Day 2013

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RamsarConventionOnWetlands

Visit Mother Nature Network’s article Happy World Wetlands Day, in which our very own Green Cay Wetlands is highlighted!

Wading Friends at the Cypress Creek Natural Area, Jupiter, Florida

Friends of flight at the Cypress Creek Natural Area in Jupiter

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. jimbey #

    … Hooray! Us “Marsh-ians” LOVE World Wetlands Day! OK, I admit I’ve never heard of it before. On the other hand, EVERY day is a good day in the marsh! And for all our sins here in Palm Beach County, we *DO* have a pretty substantial wetlands presence, and a general population that is interested in keeping it that way. Alas, global warming is going to cause a massive population migration away from the Florida shorelines – probably within 50 years. Expect a huge increase in pressure to drain more swamps and marshland. Our battle to preserve has only just begun.

    January 30, 2013
    • Yayyyy! Hee, Marsh-ians, I love it!!

      Every day is World Wetlands Day for us! And you’re absolutely right… Continued and stepped-up, proactive efforts to protect and preserve these wonderful spaces in the face of continued loss, and global warming, is CRITICAL. Such a good point.

      January 30, 2013
      • jimbey #

        …. If anything, I have *understated* the impact global warming will have on our wetlands – and in Florida, the flatwoods as well. The lions share of our population here live east of the Atlantic Ridge (in our county, roughly east of I-95). In our children’s lifetimes, the new shore line will move west to US-1. In the meantime, the new-normal droughts in the mid-west and high plains will cause a relocation of agri-business. Weather-wise, Florida will stay fairly stable; so expect a big increase in food farming. The sugar industry will head offshore, and will be replaced by vast fields of vegetables and grains. I’ll bet wheat and soy farming becomes big business down here.
        …. So we have population pressure coming in from the east, and agricultural pressure squeezing in from the west. In between the two lies the bulk of our wetlands. And at the very least, the wetlands are essential for providing the water needed for both those pressure waves. No wetlands means no irrigation for the crops, and no drinking water for the population.
        …. The only way to deal with this situation is to start planning NOW – but nearly half our population still believes that global warming is either a hoax, or grossly overstated. Think any meaningful planning is going to happen anytime soon? IMHO, not in time.

        January 30, 2013
  2. Finally, a national day that makes sense. You’re right, very hard not to be passionate about these wonderful areas.

    January 30, 2013
    • Hoorah, exactly! I’ll be out there for SURE on Saturday…. 🙂

      January 30, 2013
  3. Hooray for wetlands and this interesting bird. We don’t want to disappear him.

    January 30, 2013
    • Hoorah, exactly!! I can’t wait to get out on Saturday to enjoy the wetlands, this beautiful weather, and all the lovely critters… 🙂

      January 30, 2013
  4. The stork photos are great.

    January 30, 2013
    • Thanks so much — it’s incredibly wonderful to see them returning in force, this year….

      January 31, 2013
  5. Love the captures of the stork – COOL!!! Very important to protect the wetlands – have a bird sanctuary by my home and love seeing the different birdlife. Have a Great One:)

    January 30, 2013
    • Thanks so much!! It’s absolutely imperative that we do so — and really kick up our efforts now, in the fact of global warming. Truly critical. They’re such beautiful lands, these swamps, marshes, bogs — I can’t imagine a world without them.

      January 31, 2013
  6. Well you know how much I enjoy the wetlands!
    Fantastic wood stork portrait!

    January 30, 2013
    • Hoorah!! I knew you would appreciate. 🙂

      Thanks so very much….

      January 31, 2013
  7. Fabulous post Feygirl ! You are truly the voice for mother earth. At this rate, you’ll be ready to be a international expert on environmentalism.

    January 30, 2013
    • Ah, what an INCREDIBLY sweet thing to say! You made my week!!

      Haaaaa…. expert? Hecks no. Lover of environmentalism, yep, but I’ll leave the details to the academia. 🙂

      January 31, 2013
  8. Great post!

    January 30, 2013
    • Thanks so much! It deserves much more honoring, but I’m out there every week, so that’s my tribute. 🙂

      January 31, 2013
  9. narhvalur #

    Reblogged this on Ann Novek–With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors.

    January 31, 2013
    • Thanks so much for sharing!! 🙂

      January 31, 2013
  10. Fabulous shots! We really need to preserve areas like these.

    January 31, 2013
    • Thank you!!

      You’re absolutely right… Now, more than ever — global warming is really beginning to impact areas like these, and will continue to do so. I can’t fathom living without them.

      January 31, 2013
  11. Oh thank you for this..Out woods are protected wetlands and I should write a post..thank you..

    January 31, 2013
    • Absolutely!! Spread the word, protect, preserve, love!! They need all the help we can muster… 🙂

      January 31, 2013
  12. Stunning photos! Yes, let’s keep wetlands protected and clean.

    January 31, 2013
    • Thanks so much! YES… They need our help, as much as we can possibly afford. The need to help will only increase with time.

      January 31, 2013

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