Today is considered to be World Wetlands Day; I love these unofficial holidays especially the ones that directly relate to nature and wildlife. Even though today in Mid-Michigan; the entire area pretty much had a snow day. Some areas actually received 18.7 inches of snow last night. Mother Nature just wanted to remind us who really is in charge.
Wetlands provide habitat for various types of wildlife and plants. Here in Michigan, we have wetland areas. I will often refer to them as river flats; the name everyone in the area calls them.
Wetlands have various benefits. The areas reduce flooding by absorbing the rain or snow melt off. At the same time, wetlands act as a filter getting rid of pollutants and other contaminants by breaking down the material. In Michigan, there are actually three different types of major wetlands: marsh, swamp, and bogs.
The river flats are more like marshes. Depending on the time of year, they can an inch of water to several feet deep or completely froze solid. I like these areas; I can grab my camera and photograph all types of wildlife. I have spent hours photographing herons, cranes, ducks, geese, and much more.
Swamps are more wooded. They are usually home to various types of little creatures including frogs, owls, and raccoons. The plant life in the swaps can also be beautiful.
Bogs are a result of decaying vegetation. Bogs have different type of animal species including turtles.
Watching the wildlife in the wetland areas is fascinating. I can spend hours outdoors during the warmer months. Not today, when the temp is about 3˚F right now. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the winter months too. I just don’t get outdoors as much.
According to the Michigan DNR website, these are the plant and animals that frequent the wetland areas:
Dragon’s Mouth, Wild Pink
Great Blue Heron
So, the next time you see a wetland area on the side of the road while you are zooming down a freeway; take a moment to think about all the wildlife the area has to offer.
Michigan DNR (2015). Wetlands. Retrieved from: