On an overcast Tuesday morning in October, I visited The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. The Institute had recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Institute was closed that day, but I was still able to explore the grounds and the surrounding marshland. This was the first time I have actually been to The Wetlands Institute since the middle 1980s. It was time for a return to the Wetlands.
Childhood Memories in the Marsh
I lived near the marsh growing up. My childhood residence was four houses down from the Delaware Bay and marshes were all around the area. Besides tourism, the biggest industry in the area was commercial fishing due to the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay.
As a child during my tomboy phase, I used to go out with friends and look for frogs, salamanders and turtles. There were always people fishing and crabbing from early spring through late fall. We would designate a time and place to meet after school and look for these creatures.
A Return to the Wetlands
You take in the sights and even the scents near the marsh going in. Walking along the path, I noticed Monarch Butterflies all around. As I made my way through the marsh, I walked across the steel overpass. This is where you get a fantastic vantage point to see the wildlife in the marsh up close.
Bird Watching and Observing
I have always watched birds my whole life. There is something about the perceived (by me) tranquility of their lives that fascinates me. I had a sense of envy of these creatures for their uncomplicated lives.
The long running news show CBS Sunday Morning highlights wildlife and nature areas in the USA during the last minute of the show. This is nature in its best form recorded on film. It has no man made or other noises in the audio. In spite of the traffic in the background, I was able to capture the birds on video with little sound.
Wetlands are essential for ecology
Why are these wetlands so important for our ecology? For instance, they are a flood barrier for the shore and soak up flood water like a sponge.. These wetlands also manage to control pollution. The Wetlands are a natural filter and as a result, that reduces nitrates, phosphorus and heavy metals in the water supply. In addition, they provide an environment for many animal and plant species, many of them threatened or endangered
I grew up at the Jersey Shore, but I never fully appreciated the natural resources of the area until I came back as an adult. There are a multitude of reasons why the Wetlands of South Jersey need to be conserved. The plant life and creatures of the wetlands are vital to the environment. I now fully appreciate the time I have spent near the marsh. In the future I will plan another return to the wetlands.