Wetlands: Our Unsung Heroes
This story is an excerpt from a blog by Suma Lashof for The Nature Conservancy in Vermont, where she is serving as a Lake Champlain Sea Grant Science Communications Fellow. Her full blog can be found on The Nature Conservancy's Stories in Vermont webpage.
Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts can often be found exploring the forest, hiking a new trail, or fishing at their favorite lake or pond. But are wetlands on that list? They should be. Wetlands are teeming with life and are some of the most valuable natural communities across our globe, but they are often not perceived as such.
When most people think of wetlands—if they think of them at all—they think of mushy mosquito-breeding swamps that serve no purpose except to occupy valuable space, resulting in their significant diminishment from our landscape. In Vermont alone, we’ve lost approximately 35% of our wetlands in the past 200 years. That loss has directly impacted our water quality, wildlife habitat and flood resiliency.
Wetlands are a Recreation Destination
As some of our most important working lands, wetlands are incredible places to explore in all seasons. Paddlers float across the flooded swamps in the spring, and skiers enjoy zipping across the frozen landscape in the winter. From the marshes that provide habitat for our iconic moose, to the bogs full of peepers that create our summer soundscapes, wetlands are integral to Vermont’s natural legacy.