Wetlands, swamps, marshes and other wet areas are now thought to be the cradle of life on earth, as scientists are increasingly demonstrating through research. About 40% of all species of wildlife live or breed in wet areas, and wetlands contribute to our clean water supply by absorbing, storing and filtering water. About 87% of the world’s wetlands have been lost in the last 300 years, and the remaining wetlands face increasing threats.
World Wetlands Day celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with the theme “Wetlands and Water” under the leadership of the Convention on Wetlands, also known as the Ramsar Convention. In the Fort Wayne area, several local organizations have partnered to create a full day of family-friendly events for World Wetlands Day, which will be held Tuesday, February 2.
The organizations below have planned a variety of in person and virtual educational activities for the day:
• ACRES Mengerson Urban Preserve Hike, 9am to 10am at 5895 Stellhorn Road, Fort Wayne. Celebrate World Wetlands Day on the trails! Join us on a casual hike to learn about how this urban preserve absorbs stormwater runoff and provides a sanctuary for plants and animals. The trails at this forested wetland are often muddy, please dress appropriately. Space is limited. RSVP to email@example.com or 260-637-2273 by February 1.
• City of Fort Wayne, Camp Scott Hike, 11:30am at 3615 Oxford Street, Fort Wayne. Join the City of Fort Wayne at Camp Scott Wetlands for a walk through this unique inner city constructed wetlands. Learn why the City constructed this wetlands and how it treats stormwater runoff and is now home for a diversity of wildlife. RSVPs are not required for this hike!
• The Little River Wetlands Project, Eagle Marsh Hike and Seed Scatter, 1pm to 2:30pm at 6801 Engle Road, Fort Wayne. On this hike we will explore our incredible, local wetland and learn all about why wetlands are important for wildlife and the community. This year’s theme shines a spotlight on wetlands as a source of freshwater and encourages actions to restore them and stop their loss. Please dress for the weather, rubber boots are recommended. Face coverings are required. Attendance is limited. Please visit forms.gle/1s2mQA7fZfPg53eC7 to RSVP at least 24 hours in advance.
• The Environmental Resources Center at Purdue University Fort Wayne, Macroinvertebrates: Big Players in a Little Wet World, 4pm. Join Deanne Zepp from the Environmental Resources Center at Purdue University Fort Wayne for this virtual presentation. Aquatic macroinvertebrates may be small, but they play a huge role in maintaining a healthy wetland, from cycling nutrients to acting as a food source. Their presence (or absence) gives us clues to the ecological state of aquatic systems. Learn about a dragonfly nymph’s lightning-fast hunting style, how midge larvae survive in low oxygen water, and other facts about the fascinating lives of these wee creatures. Please RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Environmental Resources Center at Purdue University Fort Wayne, Wetlands: Nature’s Kidneys, 7:00pm. Listen to and chat with Bruce Kingsbury and Robert Gillespie from the Environmental Resources Center at Purdue University Fort Wayne during this virtual presentation. Wetlands are not only wildlife wonderlands, they are also important filters of nutrients and pollutants. We will celebrate wetlands in general and then focus on how they help to keep the surrounding landscape, headwaters, and streams clean. After the presentation, there will be time for Q and A and general discussion. Please RSVP by emailing email@example.com.
A nonprofit land trust, Little River Wetlands Project restores and protects wetlands in the watershed of the Little River, a tributary of the Wabash River. LRWP’s project area encompasses more than 140,000 acres in Allen and Huntington Counties, Indiana. The organization manages several preserves, including Eagle Marsh, the largest inland urban wetland restoration in the U.S.