14 June 2009

Urban Wetlands

When I was a kid I didn't really like wetlands. There was something about marshes, swamps, bogs, and ponds that made me uncomfortable. Not exactly sure why, probably something to do with fear of frogs, snakes, and muck. Then again, anything to do with nature kind of bored me when I was a little. An urban kid at heart I guess.

Now, I love wetlands. I think they are beautiful, I love the amount of wildlife they can support, and their ability to filter out nutrients and toxins before those deleterious substances reach rivers, lakes, and oceans is amazing.

These pictures are of the pond in Loring Park in downtown Minneapolis. Back when I was in college this pond was just your run of the mill water feature in an urban park. At some point since then the Minneapolis Parks Department seems to have made a conscious decision to turn that rather stagnant pond into a glittering naturalized wetland teeming with life. Two weeks ago when I was lucky enough to wander through it the weather could not have been nicer. A beautiful sunny day in the upper 70s with low humidity. Bliss. Plenty of Mallard families enjoying themselves and the red-winged blackbirds were everywhere. The song of the blackbirds was almost enough to drown out the traffic noise. (Click here to hear their song.)

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