February 2 of each year is World Wetlands Day, which marks the date that the Convention on Wetlands (also known informally as the Ramsar Convention) was signed in 1971. World Wetlands Day provides private and public entities alike with the opportunity to raise awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.
Wetlands provide vital habitat to a number of species, including (but certainly not limited to) waterfowl, wading birds, frogs and salamanders, aquatic invertebrates, turtles, and fish. They also provide a number of essential ecosystem services like purifying our water, absorbing flood waters, and protecting coastal and riparian areas against erosion. Unfortunately, 64% of the world’s wetlands have been lost since 1900.
Voluntary efforts to manage wetlands and wetland-dependent species on corporate lands are invaluable for wetland conservation efforts, as well as in promoting wetland conservation within local communities. From vernal pool and wetland construction, to frog call surveys, to structural enhancements, WHC-certified programs around the world incorporate a wide range of conservation and education tools to further wetland conservation.
World Wetlands Day provides an opportunity to highlight the wetlands conservation work your program is already doing and raise awareness about the value of wetlands in your local community. There are numerous ways to celebrate World Wetlands Day at your site, even if your facility doesn’t have wetlands. The local community could be invited to help install native wetland plantings or artificial habitat structures for wetland species, or to participate in monitoring wetland birds or water quality. Even if you don’t have a wetland on site, you could use curricula like Project WET to educate young learners about wetland-related topics.