Environmental Concern Celebrates World Wetlands Day

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Environmental Concern (EC) will host a Shoreline Clean-Up Day in celebration of World Wetlands Day on February 2nd. Joining Environmental Concern in this celebration are National Wildlife Refuges, “Wetlands of International Importance”, and many other environmental facilities around the globe, commemorating World Wetlands Day with a variety of activities and programs all focused on wetlands. EC staff and volunteers will walk the shoreline along the San Domingo Creek in St. Michaels, picking up trash along the way. The event will be posted on the international site at www.ramsar.org, along with many other events that are planned in many countries.

World Wetlands Day marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971 in the city of Ramsar, Iran. The Convention on Wetlands is a treaty that provides the framework for international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. There are presently over 160 Countries participating in the Convention, including the United States.

Around the globe, there are over 2,250 wetland sites, totaling 557 million acres designated as “Wetlands of International Importance”. Although the treaty only requires Countries to designate at least one “Wetland of International Importance”, most have many more. The United States has designated 38 sites, covering 5 million acres. The focus of the designation is not regulation, but education about the benefits of wetlands.

Join the celebration! We are proud to have one Ramsar site in our local area. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is part of the larger Chesapeake Estuarine Complex, designated in 1986. Visit the Refuge on February 2nd, and participate in a global celebration of wetlands. There will not be a formal event at the Refuge, but the wildlife will keep you entertained.In the winter months, you will observe many species of migrating birds in their natural habitat at Blackwater NWR. This month, a ground survey totaled over 12,000 waterfowl, including approximately 7,000 Canada Geese and over 500 Wood Ducks.

You don’t have to go beyond your own backyard to participate in the World Wetlands Day events. By cleaning up trash around your neighborhood (be sure to wear gloves!), you will prevent the trash from finding its way to a local drainage area, and then into our waterways. Send a picture to sslear@wetland.org if you’re recycling, picking up trash, or visiting a local Wildlife Refuge on February 2nd, 3rd or 4th, and it will be sent to the International Ramsar office to be posted on line, along with other events taking place in the United States.

Suzanne Pittenger-Slear, EC’s President, commented that celebrating World Wetlands Day supports the mission of Environmental Concern by raising awareness of the importance of wetland resources, and encouraging the public to participate by learning about the benefits of wetlands. This year’s World Wetland Day theme is “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future” – retain, restore and manage urban wetlands. For more information about World Wetlands Day, visit: www.worldwetlandsday.org. Free posters and activities are available on the site.

To join the Shoreline Clean-Up, call 410.745.9620.

About Environmental Concern

Environmental Concern is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation established in 1972 to promote public understanding and stewardship of wetlands with the goal of improving water quality and enhancing nature’s habitat. The organization accomplishes its mission through wetland outreach and education, native species horticulture, and the restoration, construction and enhancement of wetlands. For the last 45 years, Environmental Concern has been working to restore the Bay…one wetland at a time.

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