February 2 is World Wetlands Day! This is a perfect time to reflect on how we can look after our wetlands.
We at Birds Canada work hard to restore and protect these amazing places, and with the help of our partners and supporters like you, we’ve been very successful. Thousands of wetlands, particularly those in agricultural landscapes, remain in peril of drainage. But, people in Canada are taking actions that will help reverse wetland loss and ensure these valued landscapes are protected, managed, and restored to their full splendour.
Please join us to spread the word about how taking action for wetlands contributes to the future of people and our planet, and about the ways in which wetlands support animals, plants, and other organisms.
World Wetlands Day 2022 poster Source: worldwetlandsday.org
Here are some ways to celebrate and act in support of wetland conservation across Canada:
- Visit The Boreal Forest – A Land of Birds and learn about the interconnectedness of lakes, wetlands, forests, and birds in this amazing landscape.
- Take a tour of two outstanding candidate Key Biodiversity Areas – places that are extremely important for wildlife and diversity. Both of these sites offer excellent wetland habitat and are home to a diversity of waterbird species (and more).
- Check out our Marsh Monitoring Program, which tracks the health of hundreds of wetlands and their wildlife communities across Canada. There are opportunities for you to volunteer as a Citizen Scientist to survey wetland birds (and in some cases, frogs, too) in the Great Lakes region, Québec, the Maritimes and British Columbia (new in 2021). Please visit the website for contact details.
- Read the latest edition of the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program newsletter, The Marsh Monitor, and see how this long-term monitoring program has weathered COVID-19 and browse through its most recent accomplishments.
- Take a look at the brand new way that Breeding Bird Atlases are conserving wetland birds in our first-ever Atlas Marshbird Survey in Ontario. This creative approach gathers critical information, including in remote areas never previously surveyed. Conserve wetland birds by participating in one of our atlases.
- Explore the Word Wetlands Day website to experience the importance of wetlands around the world for protecting freshwater resources and biodiversity, and post a note for all to see sharing why you value wetlands.
- Help preserve British Columbia’s Fraser River Estuary, one of the richest and most important coastal wetlands for migrant and wintering migratory birds in Canada. This estuary is desperately in need of strong public support to mitigate threats to its existence. Please write your MP and call for the protection of this critical wetland.
- Support wetland creation and restoration projects by Migratory Bird and Habitat Joint Ventures and other partners across Canada. Take a look at the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program 25-year report as an example.
- Learn to identify bird species commonly found on our waterways, such as ducks, herons, loons, and grebes. One way to start is by watching these two training videos: Ducks and Geese and “Floaters”. Apply your skills by collecting bird observations for eBird Canada or one of our Breeding Bird Atlases.
- Purchase a Habitat Conservation stamp, your dollars support habitat conservation efforts throughout Canada including some of Birds Canada’s activities.
Sunset with waterfowl, Big Creek National Wildlife Area, Ontario Photo: Tara Crewe
Take and promote these actions within your community:
Value your local wetlands, for they are biodiversity hotspots, freshwater stores, carbon sinks, storm mitigators, and sources of livelihood for many species including humans.
Manage your wetlands wisely: stop draining the life from wetlands.
Improve your wetlands – rewet, reforest, and restore.
Last but not least, love your wetlands! Take the time to visit, to connect with nature, and enjoy many species present in your local marshes, swamps, bogs, and fens.
Happy World Wetlands Day!
“The wise and sustainable use of wetlands is not only possible ― it’s critical to the future of humanity and the planet. Continued harm to these life-sustaining ecosystems will have dire consequences if we don’t act now. In many ways, wetlands are our lifeline to the future. And we must make the necessary investments of time, capital — and heart — to save them.”
Martha Rojas Urrego,
Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands