Weekend Wildcard: Groundhogs and Vital Bogs


Yesterday was Groundhogs Day in the US and Canada, and megastar (among the rodent crowd) groundhog Punxsutawney Phil purportedly did not see his shadow, which is said to be a harbinger of an early spring this year.

While not the most reliable diagnostic tool of the atmospheric sciences (the groundhog has about a 39% accuracy rate), it is nonetheless a quaint tradition from simpler (climatically speaking) times.

A bit lesser known in the US – okay, a LOT lesser known – observance on February 2nd is World Wetlands Day, a day designated to bring awareness to the importance of wetlands in balancing global ecosystems.

The house where I lived as a youth was situated on a sand hill that was basically surrounded by wetlands (back then designated simply as a swamp). The first signs of spring for me were the green shoots of skunk cabbage that emerged from the murky waters of the swamp. These quickly grew into wide, flat, shiny leaves and bright yellow flowers that emitted the musky odor of their namesake. I loved the cheery sight of them, and I actually found the earthy, slightly sweet smell to be somewhat pleasant (in small doses and from a distance).

Skunk Cabbage 2

The sounds of croaking frogs were prevalent on warm evenings, and every once in a while a beaver or nutria would find their way into our lower yard. Mosquitoes abounded. We pretty much stayed out of the swamp and let it do its thing of living and dying, sprouting and rotting, flooding and receding. I thought it was kind of cool to live within the wetland, but I had no appreciation of its importance as an ecosystem.

The last time I visited that area, I found that the swamp had been filled in and houses lined both sides of the low road that used to define where our yard ended and the swamp waters began. It was a sad sight. The adage “You never know what you have until it’s gone” comes to mind.

It’s too late for “my” swamp, but other wetlands can be restored, preserved and protected. Let’s do it!

wetland Infographic

Infographic taken from WorldWetlandsDay.org 

About Maggie C

Stained glass artist, writer, respecter of life.
This entry was posted in Animalia, nature, serious stuff, Weekend Wildcard and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Weekend Wildcard: Groundhogs and Vital Bogs

  1. Anonymous says:

    Too few people appreciate the role the wetlands play in the stability of the environment we live in and the parts we cherish. Our entire ecosystem is now in a precarious imbalance because we don’t understand the roles of each part in sustaining the whole. Thanks for pointing this out and thank you to anyone who helps in the fight to restore the balance. 🌲🌾💦. 😍

    Liked by 2 people

  2. susielindau says:

    The yellow flowers are beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Did you know? February 2nd is more than Groundhog Day. – Just Another Nature Enthusiast

  4. JANE says:

    Maggie, it’s almost as if we collaborated on how we would use this information from World Wetlands Day! It was posted as a part one for the post I placed on my blog today after going out yesterday for the photo shoot. Wouldn’t it be great if we started an ad hoc challenge?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahh. We have one right here, always welcome. The entire region of Maremma used to be one huge swamp and then Mussolini drained it. Malaria was ripe here and all sorts of maladies. They fixed most of it and planted eucalyptus trees that are obvious great for managing the humidity of soil. We still have a salt lake here and the region is a nature reserve. With indeed plenty of nutrias.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s