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

The Compleat Wetlander: Wetlands Protection: It’s All About the Future

There are days that I love my job.  I have the privilege of working with fabulous people, learning so many new things and hearing so many stories.  In honor of the holiday season I want to share one of my favorite stories from 2013 with you. Actually I am going to have someone else tell it to you.

The background: It all began last year when the Association of State Wetland Managers joined others from the United States and Canada to work with Wetland Link International to put together a North American meeting on wetland education at wetland centers. We wanted to learn about how these centers are working to inspire positive action to protect wetlands.  We couldn’t quite pull together a meeting, but we did organize a half-day webinar with speakers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Can people working in wetland education inspire others to get involved?  We had a lot of discussion about what wetland centers were doing and difficulties assessing whether they were having an impact.  And then we heard this.  Please listen to the following excerpt from our webinar.

Kris Scopinich, Massachusetts Audubon describes how science apprenticeships lead to student advocacy

Did the town drain the swamp?   Would your town?

This story reminds me of another I heard the well-known author Carl Hiaasen tell a few years ago after his book “Hoot” was made into a popular movie.  The movie was about what happens when a boy and his classmates realize that a population of endangered, burrowing owls is threatened by new construction. The kids decide to try to save the little owls and their homes and eventually succeed.  What many may not realize is that the story is partly autobiographical.  Carl Hiaasen as a kid did try to prevent a developer from destroying the homes of burrowing owls. But he lost.  The owls and their habitat are long gone.

These stories remind us of the enthusiasm, determination and resilience of young people and their capacity to care about the land around them and the creatures who live there.  But they can’t do it alone.  Young people need us to conserve our natural resources for them and their children.  They need our help ensuring it is there for them as they learn to be stewards of the environment.

For more information about Wetland Link International, click here.

To see the agenda and listen to presentations from the webinar on education and communication through wetland centers, click here.

To view recorded presentations, click here.

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