Fountain Creek Nature Center Audio Tour – Stop 5 – The Wetlands
Where there is water, there is life!
Listen to discover the plants and animals that depend on this unique habitat.
Look around the edges of the pond. What do you notice? Cattails grow in the saturated soil of the wetlands where the pond meets the land. Can you tell which cattails are old ones from last year and which are new growth? These wetlands provide food, water, and shelter for many wildlife. Wetlands are critical resting places for migrating birds and they provide a safe place for animals to raise young. As you’re walking listen carefully for the call of the Red Wing Blackbird. You may spot a male perched on a cat tail observing his territory and displaying his bright red shoulders. In late spring and summer female Red Wing Blackbirds weave nests of plant material in the dense cattails close to the surface of the water. Red Wing Blackbirds eat mostly seeds throughout the year and enjoy the tasty treat of insects in the summer. It’s easy to see how wetlands are important to the wildlife that live here in Cattail Marsh Wildlife Area. Wetlands are also important to people. Wetlands act as a sponge, soaking up excess water in the landscape and reducing the impacts of floods. Wetlands act as a strainer for pollutants, thus improving water quality. Wetlands even provide food for people next time you eat rice or drink some cranberry juice take a moment to be grateful for the wetlands that provided them. Can you think of any other reasons wetlands are important to people? Here’s a hint, think about why you chose to walk here today. How do you feel now compared to when you started? Wetlands bring beauty and life to the landscape. Spending time near wetlands and other bodies of water helps you feel calm and can renew your energy. Wetlands also provide important opportunities for recreation and education. Whether you’re here to sightsee exercise or make memories in nature with friends and family think about how this experience might be different without these wonderful wetlands.