HILLIARD TOWNSHIP – The Hilliardton Marsh Research and Education Centre will be celebrating World Wetlands Day Saturday, February 2.
The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and everyone is being encouraged to come out and enjoy some snowshoeing and time around the wood stove inside the Birdhouse.
Head bird-bander Bruce Murphy says there will be banding activities that day, and the main focus of the banders at the marsh at this time of year is on redpolls and grosbeaks, he commented in a telephone interview.
“The temperature is supposed to be -11 C, which is great,” he said of the weather.
The City of Temiskaming Shores has loaned 20 pairs of snowshoes for the day as well, so people can enjoy a hike out onto the marsh. Murphy said he would be going out in advance to pack down a trail.
Some marsh volunteers will also bring snowmobiles to the site to get to the duck boxes which will they will be cleaning out in preparation for the spring.
“Essentially it’s just to get people out and enjoying a winter day at the marsh,” said Murphy of the event.
WETLANDS BEING DRAINED
World Wetlands Day is held to help people recognize the importance of wetlands, he explained. It has been established because “wetlands are being drained around the world.”
It was established in 1971 at the Ramsar Convention in Ramsar, Iran.
Murphy commented that he sends pictures each year to counterparts in the warmer countries that also mark the day. The Hilliardton Marsh World Wetlands Day pictures of people standing on top of towering snowbanks brings some amusement to others experiencing hotter climates. When the date of February 2 was originally set, “I guess they weren’t thinking about what things would be like in North America,” he concluded.
Nevertheless, the Centre always recognizes the day with bird banding and a general invitation to come out for a visit.
Murphy noted that the preservation of wetlands is very important, particularly in some countries such as India and Israel where they are almost considered a national treasure because of the concern to continue to conserve them.