Did you know that wetlands play a critical role in maintaining balance in nature? About 13% of Canada consists of bogs, marshes and swamps which not only buffer the effects of floods and act as filters for toxic substances, but support an enormous variety of insect, aquatic and terrestrial species. And, if that is not reason enough to inspire us to protect our wetlands, Ducks Unlimited has estimated that a combined total of $25 billion dollars annually is saved by the ability of wetlands to mitigate the effects of floods and rising sea levels and generated by tourism and other recreational activities.
Our Macoun design might evoke thoughts of Monet and his beautiful water lily paintings but it was actually based on a photograph taken at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary near Morrisburg, Ontario. The Sanctuary is located very near to Upper Canada Village so, if you plan to visit, consider making a day of it and taking in the natural sights at the Sanctuary and the cultural sights at the recreated 19th-century historic village!
When it came to naming our wetlands design, John Macoun (1831-1920) immediately came to mind. He was a natural scientist associated with the Geological Survey of Canada where his comparative collection of over 100,000 Canadian plants (1000 of which constituted previously unknown species) formed the basis of what is now Canada’s National Herbarium at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa. As Dominion Botanist, Assistant Director of the GSC and founding member of the Royal Society of Canada, Macoun made significant scientific and administrative contributions which have been recognized by his current standing as a National Historic Person. Youth aged 8-18 in the Ottawa area who are interested in natural history may be interested in joining the Macoun Field Club (see the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club website for details).
In the spirit of this design, and reflecting Macoun’s interest in Canada’s natural environs, you might like to consider contributing money, supplies and/or your time to a recognized wildlife sanctuary. With very few resources, these big-hearted heroes provide medical care and temporary shelter to ill, orphaned and injured wildlife.
© Joyce Wright