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Conserving Canada’s Wetlands

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Ducks Unlimited Canada joined by communities to celebrate World Wetlands Day

Ducks Unlimited Canada's conservation centres are great places to learn about the importance of wetlands.

Conservation Centres are the places to learn about wetlands

Ducks Unlimited Centre – Fredericton, New Brunswick

Fredericton’s wetlands may be currently covered by snow, but they were at the forefront of a lot of peoples’ minds on Saturday, January 29th, 2011.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) celebrated World Wetlands Day on Saturday with an open house at the Ducks Unlimited Conservation Centre from 1:00-4:00pm. The day held numerous family-oriented activities such as a snow sculpture contest, a colouring contest, games, activities, prizes, food and more. The many visitors enjoyed learning about wetlands via the many hands-on, interactive displays in the centre, including their new SMART Board interactive whiteboard.

“It was fantastic to see so many people come out for World Wetlands Day,” said Erin Heeney, Interpretive and Education Specialist for DUC. “We really appreciate the support we get from the people of Fredericton for our efforts to conserve wetlands, and always enjoy a chance to give something back to them.”

An additional activity that took place during the day was snowshoeing at Corbett Brook Marsh. Led by DUC volunteer Ian Smith, members of the community took an hour-long walk around the marsh, learning about the ecological diversity of wetlands, how they are under threat, and why they are so beneficial to humanity.

Wetlands provide essential environmental benefits we depend on every day. Wetlands naturally filter drinking water, moderate the effects of droughts, floods and climate change and are key to the lifecycles of waterfowl and other wildlife. Wetlands also have the potential to remove and store greenhouse gases from the Earth’s atmosphere. Unfortunately, up to 70 per cent of Canada’s wetlands have been lost in the settled areas of Canada.

Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park – Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia

It is time to celebrate the gregarious groundhog, Shubenacadie Sam’s long anticipated day in the lime light. Even though Sam thinks it is wonderful that everyone waits with baited breath for his arrival of spring prophecy at 8:00am (AST) sharp, on February 2, he also has another very important message to convey: the tremendous role wetlands play in the well being of humans and nature. To help express this point, “Forests for Water and Wetlands”, Sam will be joined at the wildlife park by representatives from Ducks Unlimited Canada, Clean Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.

All activities are free starting at 7:00am. Come enjoy our displays, hot drinks, face painting , and crafts. At 7:55, the bag piper and town crier will herald Shubenacadie Sam out of his house for his grand prediction at 8:00am sharp! If it is sunny and the groundhog sees his shadow, which makes him fearful and want to hide, we are bound for a long winter. If it is overcast and he does not see his shadow, spring will come early for man and beast.

The animal enclosure area in the wildlife park will be open from 8:00am to noon. At 9:00am, a guided nature walk of our wetland trail will be offered, with snowshoes provided, if the snow obliges. Our warm Greenwing Legacy Interpretation Centre will be waiting to receive you.

For more information, visit wildlifepark.gov.ns.ca

Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre – Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba

Today marks an important date for Oak Hammock Marsh as it is also World Wetlands Day, a celebration of the importance of wetlands around the world. The Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre will be celebrating with many activities, including a new sport called “ShuffleDuck!”.

For more information, visit www.oakhammockmarsh.ca