Wet, wet, wetlands (Apr. 5)

April 1, 2008

My father’s second career is in watershed management, a field that I’d never really thought much about.  But it stands to reason that rivers and streams, like other ecosystems, have been so influenced by man that they need man’s help to return to their natural state.  In his case, that has involved working with ranchers and farmers in western Nebraska to restore a trout-fishing stream by removing invasive species (which suck up an amazing amount of water every day) and returning the habitat along the banks to a healthy state.  Now that his first stream, Nine Mile Creek, is well on its way, he is moving on to larger waterways (and bigger grants to accomplish the work).

When he comes to visit us, every drive is a little nature lesson — for example, he often points out which wetlands are healthy and which are full of invasive species, whether we’re in eastern Illinois or Forest Park — and I find myself intrigued, especially because around here there are so many major waterways and so many wetlands surrounding them.

That brings us to this weekend’s Missouri Department of Conservation and Ducks Unlimited program, Wetlands for Kids, Saturday (Apr. 5) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the August A. Busch Memorial  Conservation Area off Highway D in St. Charles.  It’s less about the “big picture,” which admittedly is hard sometimes for even adults to grasp, than about the things kids find fascinating: beaver dams; live snakes and turtles and birds of prey; retriever dogs and air rifles; scavenger hunts and mazes.  There will be fish from the river (and hopefully an explanation of why it’s safe to eat!) along with other food and beverages.  In total, there are 15 educational stations.

Admission and parking are free and no reservations are required.  For info, call 636.441.4554.

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