4-H good works

To the Journal editor:

As the snows start the big melt, the peepers sound their chorus and Earth Day approaches, it seems fitting that our response to a Letter to the Editor of Jan. 30 entitled “Wetlands Revered?” be printed.

The 4H Teen Wetland Team will be spending a good bit of time in Upper Peninsula wetlands in the next few months. TWT, made up of six teens, Hannah Anderson, Amanda Maznick, William Pirman Jr., Callanen Ry Swaty, Aya Jane Waite, and Savannah Wood and mentor Sarah Bixby, is learning to appreciate all aspects of wetlands, including ferocious six-leggeds.

We are just beginning to understand the richness of swamps, marshes, fens and bogs. One of our mentors from Michigan Tech University typed wetlands as “keystone ecosystems.” And it makes sense to us the more we learn.

In discussions with our mentors, we all agree that we think of wetlands as the earth’s immune system. These graduate and doctoral students of the Society of Wetland Scientists have started us on a Wetlands 101 course.

These young and learned scientists can spout off lots of statistics that are astounding and worrying. Suffice to say, wetlands are disappearing and they are important!

We feel rich here in Marquette. Wetlands are just a jump away. The city of Marquette is restoring wetlands in several areas including a good sized chunk near Moosewood Nature Center.

The 4H TWT is volunteering hours to monitor this site. Come see it at the Earth Day celebration there from noon-4 p.m. Saturday.

In our research, we have found excellent on-line sites and journal articles. The EPA provides us with an on-line text entitled “A World in Our Backyard.” Ducks Unlimited has an excellent “Teacher’s Guide to Wetland Activities.”

Mentors and literature are heightening our awareness of wetland issues, and we feel inspired to action. Come to Moosewood on Earth Day to get some wetlands facts and figures and poetry.

Join the TWT and Muir, Thoreau, Carson, Leopold and Waite in celebrating our wetlands.

Take the opportunity to get lost for a day in the cedar swamps of our U.P. backyards. They are great playgrounds with their balance beam moss-furry nurse logs.

Our team wants to help these rare and sometimes ancient ecosystems to endure. We’ll all last longer if we live harmoniously with these soggy, squishy marvels, sucking in their diverse smells, sights and sounds.

We are putting on a Wetlands Roundtable with experts third week of June at Moosewood. Public invited. Look for this event!


4H Teen Wetland Team

Youth Conservation Council grantees