AMES, Iowa - “Profiles in the Wonders of Iowa’s Wetlands” will feature 12 in-depth educational videos highlighting the diversity and benefits of wetland ecosystems throughout the state. The videos are being developed by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Nutrient Research Center.
A webinar on Tuesday, May 25, at 7-8 p.m., kicks off the series during American Wetlands Month. The webinar will introduce the project and give an overview of Iowa wetland types, their functions and ecology, and the beneficial goods and services they can provide.
Register to participate in the free virtual program online. The webinar will be recorded and available for later viewing.
A new wetland video will be unveiled each month through May 2022 and shared via the INRC and ISU Extension and Outreach websites and social media. Each short video will be created using drone and ground footage with voice-over, highlighting the wetlands’ location, history, hydrology, characteristic vegetation and wildlife, as well as other unique ecosystem benefits.
Types of wetlands to be highlighted include a fen, an oxbow, a water quality treatment wetland (e.g, created through Iowa’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program known as CREP), a riparian wetland associated with a riverine system, and a wetland created or designed in an urban setting. The series will feature natural, restored and created wetlands, as well as wetlands managed on privately owned and public lands.
“We find wetlands everywhere in Iowa, from cities to farmland, and of all shapes and sizes, on public land and private land. While many natural wetlands have been lost through the state’s history of settlement and development, we still have many that continue to serve important functions,” said Adam Janke, wildlife specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and an assistant professor of natural resource ecology and management. “We think Iowans will enjoy learning more about our diverse wetland resources. Unique and rare species will be featured at many locations. The series will be developed in collaboration with wetland and conservation professionals and landowners involved in wetland protection, restoration and development.”
“The Iowa Nutrient Research Center is excited to partner with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to showcase the important role wetlands can play in helping to improve water quality in a variety of settings across Iowa, while also providing other ecosystem services, such as wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and floodwater retention,” said Kay Stefanik, INRC assistant director.
The educational videos will be designed for diverse age groups, from middle-schoolers on up, Stefanik said. Funding comes from a grant supported by state checkoff funds and license plate sales for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Diversity Program.