Today is World Wetlands Day, a day to celebrate and support the wonderful world of our peatlands, marshes, rivers, floodplains, estuaries and more. We've sat down with Environmental Conservationist Jake 🌍 (our very own Marketing Manager's brother!) to give us the low-down on wetlands.
Then, get out and get involved! We've selected our fave events at wetland centres across the UK, including our local London Wetlands Centre in Barnes. From family fun February half-term events to getting messy in mud fest, you can help support these brilliant places and have some fun doing it! Also, find out about how Avery Row support wetlands projects and what we are doing to celebrate this World Wetlands Day 👏
So without further ado, scroll down to get to know why our wonderful wetlands are so vital to our little ones' future, what we can do to support the brilliant charities restoring and preserving them AND what we, at Avery Row, are doing...
Hello Jake! What role do you play in protecting and restoring our wetlands?
Hey! I manage a project restoring peatlands across wales, and have over 10 years experience working in the wildlife conservation sector.
What are wetlands and why are they important?
Wetlands are a fantastic natural resource, not only are they home to some of the UK’s rarest wildlife, but in a healthy state they also provide ecosystem services that we benefit from. They can act as carbon sinks, storing atmospheric carbon and helping fight climate change, they can filter and purify our drinking water, they can hold water back in catchments to reduce flooding risks, peatlands can hold a climatic, ecological and archaeological record of the past 12,000 years, and they are often great places to explore, unwind and get some exercise!
What's the problem and what is being done to help?
Historic mis-management of wetlands, such as drainage, peat cutting, pollution, introduction of alien species and burning, has removed or degraded the huge majority of wetlands in the UK. This results in habitat loss, reduction in species and the ecosystem services mentioned above are not realised.
How can we help?
Wetlands, such as bogs, mires and swamps, are often portrayed as dangerous places to avoid in the media, such as the ‘bog of eternal stench’ in the film Labyrinth starring the late David Bowie. We need more people to value these internationally important ecosystems and celebrate the rich diversity of wildlife they support. To raise awareness and learn more, visit your local wetland nature reserve, get involved by volunteering with a nature conservation organisation, and support projects and initiatives that aim to restore wetland environments"
Thanks Jake! Now, let's get out there and support our local Wetlands! Click here to find your local WWT (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust) wetland centre and scroll down to see what's in store for the little ones this February half-term.
Event: The Big Hideout
Dates: February Half Term
Location: Multiple locations (London, Slimbridge Gloucestershire, Arundel West Sussex, Welney Norfolk, Caerlaverock Dumfries, Castle Espie Northern Ireland)
About: The charity WWT (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust) is running The Big Hideout event across its UK wetland centres. Each one is hosting exciting family activities from arctic adventuring and nature crafts to mud kitchens and binocular making! Click below to find out more information about your local Big Hideout.
London Wetlands Centre, Barnes click here to learn more.
Slimbridge Centre, Gloucestershire, click here to learn more.
Arundel Centre, West Sussex, click here to learn more.
Welney Centre, Norfolk, click here to learn more.
Caerlaverock Centre, Dumfries, click here to learn more.
Castle Espie, Northern Ireland, click here to learn more.
Event: Swans Awake
Dates: Sat 4th, 5th, 15th,18th Feb
Location: Welney Wetlands Centre, Norfolk
About: Each winter thousands of Bewick's and whooper swans make their winter migration to the UK, to escape colder countries. Join the centre's Warden before dawn to watch the stunning sight of thousands of swans waking up on the wetlands.
Click here to learn more.
Event: Puddle Jumping Championships!
Dates: Sat 11th - 19th Feb
Location: Martin Mere, Lancashire
About: Put on your wellies, get out into nature, get muddy and have a splashing time! That's right, join the family-friendly Puddle Jumping Championships once again at Martin Mere – guaranteed fun, whatever the weather!
Click here to learn more.
Dates: Sat 18th - 26th Feb
Location: Multiple locations (Llanelli South Wales, Washington Durham)
About: Come prepared to get messy and discover how there’s more to mud than meets than eye. Enjoy squelchy, sludgy and seriously fun, hands-on activities. We’re talking mud obstacle courses, muddy tug of war, barefoot trails, muddy nest-making, marvellous mud kitchens, muddy sculpture stories, mud-slinging, and a whole lot more mud.
Llanelli Centre South Wales, click here to learn more.
Washington Centre Durham, click here to learn more.
Here at Avery Row we try to go above and beyond to support Mother Earth. Already, for every order you place our sustainability partner Ecologi plants a tree - many of which have contributed towards the restoration of Mangroves in Madagascar - a vital wetlands project happening overseas.
To celebrate World Wetlands Day we have adopted a plot for a year at the London Wetland Centre! Our donation will contribute towards funding essential work by their conservation team to protect the wildlife and their habitats. Keep an eye out for the 'Avery Row' plot when you are visiting, you can spot it from the Wildside Birdhide.
We’ve adopted a plot in the Reservoir Lagoon. Stretching the entire width of the site, the Reservoir Lagoon is an area of deep water, complete with reefs (made from the broken up concrete of the original reservoirs) designed to maximise breeding habitats for fish. In turn these will provide food for Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant and Herons. When not fishing, these birds can often be seen loafing on the two small islands in front of the Wildside Hide, together with Mute Swans, Tufted Duck and the occasional flock of Lapwing. For two weeks last autumn, a rare Spotted Crake fed openly around the reedy margins, overlooked by the Wildside Hide. We are thrilled to have this plot and protect precious wildlife in the heart of London. Click here to view and even adopt your own plot!