This handy dandy info-graphic pretty much says it all. The end.
I suppose I can elaborate a little. World Wetlands Day was established in 1971 and occurs annually on February 2. This year’s theme, if you will, is about wetlands in urban areas. While Missaukee County is quite rural, growth and expansion is still happening in our towns and before you know it, Lake City will be a suburb of Traverse City. More and more people are moving to Northern Michigan, and Traverse City is a pretty hopping town. I don’t have statistics on how fast it is growing, but as property values increase there more and more people are looking to the surrounding areas to live and grow their businesses. Being surrounded by the Great Lakes, Michigan is home to a great number of wetlands. They definitely shouldn’t be on the bottom of the list of items to consider during city expansion.
Most feelings aside about urban sprawl, what does this mean for our precious wetlands? First, did you know that ‘Wetland’ is an over-arching term that encompasses many different types? The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) divides wetlands into four categories: Swamps, Marshes, Fens, Bogs. Each of these categories is further divided bringing the total wetland types to around 12, each unique and truly beautiful and ecologically important. Okay, you caught me, with an environmental background I suppose you could say I’m a “bunny-hugger.” Probably, I can never get close enough to a bunny to give it a hug. Wetlands are not only significant to scientists who understand their ecological importance and people who give a hoot about them (fellow bunny-huggers). They are important for all of us, and as urbanization continues to grow everyone should be aware of them and what they can do for us. See info-graphic. I really don’t think that I could explain it better. I guess one item that is worth mentioning is: as wetlands decrease so does plant and animal diversity.
World Wetland Day could boil down to one idea: respect. As we continue to abuse the Earth we live on, eventually it will get tired of supporting us. The end of the first month of 2018 is coming to a close, and you may have broken all of the resolutions you promised yourself but no one ever said you can’t make new resolutions throughout the year! Try this–a resolution to explore at least one type of wetland this year. Simple with plenty of room to grow.