The professionals at Environmental Concern work every day to advance wetland restoration and education in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. One of the many ways these professionals accomplish this is by raising awareness of the importance of wetlands for water quality and natural habitat within the watershed community.
On February 2, Environmental Concern (EC) joined more than 2,000 Wetlands of International Importance in 171 countries, as well as National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, Wetland Centers and environmental facilities across the U.S., to celebrate World Wetlands Day.
World Wetlands Day commemorates the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. The Convention on Wetlands is a global treaty supporting the conservation and wise use of wetlands, and the designation of ‘Wetlands of International Importance’ (“Ramsar Sites”). The Sites are recognized for rare and unique habitat, wildlife, and biological diversity. The United States has designated 41 Ramsar Sites since 1986, covering more than five million acres of wetland habitat.
The World Wetland Theme this year is Inseparable: Wetlands, Water and Life, which shines a spotlight on wetlands as a source of freshwater and encourages actions to restore wetlands.
“We are fortunate to have a Ramsar site here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” said EC president Suzanne Pittenger-Slear. The Chesapeake Bay Estuarine Complex, which includes Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, was designated as a ‘Wetland of International Importance’ in 1986. The refuge consists of more than 30,000 acres of tidal marsh, loblolly pine forests, and freshwater wetlands, and serves as an essential stopover for migrating and wintering waterfowl. The Wildlife Drive, which includes access to four trails, is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
“The winter season offers amazing views of the vast wetland ecosystems and natural habitats,” said Suzanne. Learn about the importance of wetlands by planning a family outing to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. World Wetlands Day events continue through the month of February. The U.S. activities are posted at www.worldwetlandsday.org/events.
Each year, Suzanne coordinates an annual trip to Blackwater NWR on World Wetlands Day with Refuge Manager, Marcia Pradines. The trip offered EC staff the opportunity to see firsthand the impact of their work for wetlands.