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

The Wetland Wanderer: An Unexpected and Much-Needed Wetland Wander

by Brenda Zollitsch

At the end of a long day of meetings a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get the chance to take an unexpected wetland wander in the Bangor Forest of Maine.  Although it was springtime in a soggy Maine wood, the bugs were nowhere to be found and the wanderer062615frogs were singing their hearts out.  I love that after living in Maine for so many years, I can still walk into the forest and be amazed by what I find.

It was so rejuvenating to breathe in the warm, sunlit air and to open my senses to the cascade of sound and color around me. I had the chance to examine a variety of plants that were luxuriating in the long-awaited good weather. I continue to be in awe of the rebound that the vast majority of the trees and other vegetation made after such a harsh winter.  Even though it was the coldest and snowiest winters in recent years, seemingly every branch had every leaf return.

66It wasn’t just the big stuff either.  Along the Deer Trail, lady slippers hung their beautiful pink heads.  Different species of ferns fawned over the trail, seemingly reaching out to touch me as I passed.  Fiddleheads promised more to come.  Moss wrapped itself around fallen tree trunks.  Even the skunk cabbage was especially exuberant, fully as stinky as its name implies.

Verioes were singing to each other among the branches, their green feathers occasionally visible among the greenery.  Yellow-winged birds hopped between unfurling ferns.  I too found myself unfurling.  Weeks later I still recognize how energizing and freeing that wonderful walk was.  It is easy to let life pull you away from the things that ground you – to get swept up in one’s work conducting analysis, planning meetings, examining a new rule, or editing documents.  All of that is essential to what most of us do.  We love wetlands and we work very hard to protect them with our work.  But perhaps 99because of all that we do for this work and with life that gets in the way, some of us let a little too much time pass us by before we visit an old wetland friend.

So today there is no analysis, no proposal, and no scientific or policy-related message in this blog post.  I simply wanted to remind you how good it is for every part of you, as a human being, to find your way into a wetland and wander…just for fun. 

For More Information:

Bangor City Forest Trail Map

Listen to a podcast on “Listening for Wildlife in the Bangor City Forest” by Ryan B. Robbins

Article on the health benefits of time spent out in nature

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