Audubon Center for Birds of Prey has acted in many ways to enhance the health of our environment, and I am going to tell you how I took part in one of their thoughtful acts. On January 15th as part of a series of community volunteer projects, I helped clean up their wetland that rests at the base of the property and the edge of lake Sybelia . In addition to rehabilitating birds, Audubon hosts a variety of TogetherGreen Volunteer days with the goal of getting folks involved in conservation. This day of “weed pulling” was one of those projects.
Their on-site wetland had become over grown with weeds (invasive plants) and other pesky “non-native” wetland vegetation. Thanks to the recent freezes, however, most of those plants have died. Audubon used this opportunity to pull all of that mess out of their wetland and clean it up. With the help of Hands on Orlando (a corporate social-responsibility project that involves the community in donating time and strength to help organizations with their volunteer events), 32 volunteers showed up to help tackle the wetland. We filled dozens of trash bags and twined over 15 bundles of sticks and weeds by the end of the day.
Before this event my understanding of a wetland was that it was a swampy, mosquito filled, breeding ground of bugs, and it had a bunch of different plants growing everywhere. I honestly never thought that it had a specific purpose and necessary role in the environment.
This is what I learned: Wetlands are nature’s purification system. They reduce the amount of pollutants that enter our surface and ground water, and act as a storage system in extreme flooding conditions. The wetland at Audubon treats water runoff from the nearby roadway and helps keep Lake Sybelia healthy. The road run-off is diverted into a Continuous Deflective Separation (CDS) unit where solid pollutants including trash, debris, coarse sediments and some oil and grease are captured. All of this is regularly cleaned by the City of Maitland . So all of this trash and toxins are removed from the water and then the water is diverted into the wetland where it can percolate into Florida’s aquifer.
Now I see wetlands in a whole different light, who knew? In the upcoming months Audubon and TogetherGreen will be hosting more volunteer events just like this one to help the environment. Come take part in these events with us and do your part to help the environment too.
February 12, 2011, 9:00AM– Exotic plant removal at Audubon’s Ahhochee Hill Sanctuary in Brooksville. (We will be carpooling from the Center)
Improve historic Sand hill habitat by removing exotics at the 270 acre Ahhochee Hill Sanctuary in Brooksville. Along with the local chapter and Native Plant society we will remove invasive plants and exotic berries.
- On March 26 at 9am the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland there will be hosting Birdhouse Bonanza. Come assemble your own nest box to take home and monitor. This event will inform you of the upcoming nesters that are about to arrive this Spring.
- On April 17 at 1 pm we will be having a lakeshore cleanup at lake Sybelia . Come celebrate Earth day and help us!