Association of State Wetland Managers - Protecting the Nation's Wetlands.

The Compleat Wetlander: Another Earth Day and Another Compleat Wetlander Anniversary


It is the 2nd anniversary of the Compleat Wetlander, which has unfortunately been absent from the ASWM website since the beginning of April.  Our optimism about how easy it would be to move the blog along with the rest of the ASWM website was sadly misplaced.  The simple explanation is that the blog, unlike the rest of the site, is on WordPress and moving it to ASWM’s new website led to unforeseen and protracted complications…many, many complications.  But we’re back and we hope our regular visitors like the new look.

Today is not only our anniversary it is Earth Day. http://www.earthday.org/ It is also International Mother Earth Day http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Mother_Earth_Day

One year ago on April 22 the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank to the bottom of the ocean following an explosion two days earlier. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill .  It was a terrible tragedy for the 11 people killed in the explosion.  It would take time for the world to understand the other tragedy occurring far below the ocean’s surface, where oil was spilling into the ocean.

Over the years a number of interesting events have occurred on April 22.  In 1529 the Treaty of Saragossa was signed between Spain and Portugal dividing the eastern hemisphere.  In 1864 Congress passed legislation mandating the inscription of “In God We Trust” on all coins minted as U.S. currency.   In 1911 the Communist Party of the Soviet Union began publishing “Pravda”.  In 1964 the third and last New York World’s Fair opened for its first season.

Time moves on.  Some things change and some do not.  Spain and Portugal have long since given up their dominance of the seas.  U.S. coins still bear the inscription “In God We Trust.”   The Soviet Union is gone, but Pravda successfully morphed into the first web-based Russian  newspaper.  Structures and amusements from the New York World’s Fair are still in use around the country including “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland.

Earth Day has also changed over the years.  While the first Earth Day in 1970 was an enormous success, the celebration waned in the following years.  In 1990 however Earth Day went international mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries.  I was one.  I staffed one of the information booths on the Mall in Washington, DC during the Earth Day celebration.  Three million people visited the Mall that day pouring up out of the metro stations and spilling out to explore booths and listen to speeches and music.   I listened to John Denver on my way to my volunteer post. That day many teachers stopped by in search of information about wetlands.  But there was more.  The next day I joined other staff from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up a wetland located along Four Mile Run in Alexandria, VA.  We hauled trash for hours including tires and some large electrical appliances.  At one point the Mayor of Alexandria, Jim Moran, stopped by to encourage us.

I did a little web research to find out how that Four Mile Run wetland has changed over the years.  Apparently the trash is still there: http://www.arlandria.org/2009/12/hume-springs-cleans-up-and-teams-up.html .  But there is also a project in the works to clean up and restore the wetlands along the creek.  It is sponsored by Virginia Senators Webb and Warner and once Mayor of Alexandria now Congressman Jim Moran.  http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Factsheets/PDFs/Civil/VA-FourMileRunWatershed-GI.pdf

Earth Day is an opportunity to celebrate Earth in all its natural wonder and to commit to preserving its glorious diversity.  Time passes, things change, and opportunities emerge.  Be prepared!

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