Wetland Plant Walk

Story Submitted (mtfrontdesk@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Aug. 16, 2012 | Modified: Aug. 29, 2012
Wetland Plant Walk

The fragrant water lily is just one inhabitant of the stormwater wetland at Clawson-Burnley Park in Boone.

Photo submitted

It’s been four years since the 1.4-acre stormwater wetland was installed along the Greenway Trail in Boone.

During those four years, volunteers and town employees have planted hundreds of native plants that are now thriving and providing water treatment and habitat for wildlife.

A free Wetland Plant Walk led by Wendy Patoprsty with the Watauga County Cooperative Extension will take place at 6 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Clawson-Burnley Park off Hunting Hills Lane, Boone. The tour will last one to two hours.

“All ages are welcome to join us, as Wendy will provide some hands-on activities to view the flora and fauna of the wetland,” according to event organizers.

“A wide variety of wetland, flood plain and upland plants are blooming,” Patoprsty said, “and all those plants play a specific role in the wetlands and for the wildlife in the wetland.”

A constructed stormwater wetland is different from a natural wetland in that it captures runoff from the streets, parking lots and rooftops and cleans it before entering the river, she said.

This “ecosystem service” to clean the water is the first of three primary goals of a constructed stormwater wetland. “Not only does it help filter the water, it also provides a unique ecosystem for lots of different species of plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects and mammals” Patoprsty said.
Waterfowl and migratory songbirds find a resting place here in Boone in the constructed stormwater wetland on the Greenway Trail, she said. The Greenway is part of the North Carolina Birding Trail and one can find diverse species along the river, fields and woods that make up the path. Wetlands are important bird habitats because birds use them for breeding, nesting, rearing young, a source of drinking water, resting and social interactions. Wetland vegetation also provides shelter from predators and from the weather.

Lastly, this wetland park within the town is an area for the community to enjoy, she said. The trail around the wetland provides a great view to observe what’s going on in the wetland. During the tour, participants will walk around the wetland, identify plants and birds and learn about how the wetland contributes to the health of the New River. The trail is ADA accessible, so that all may enjoy the sounds and surroundings of nature.

This is a rain or shine event, so participants should bring either an umbrella or rain gear if the weather looks wet, as well as binoculars, something to drink and any nature guides that may be appropriate.

For more information contact Patoprsty at (828) 264-3061 or email wendy_patoprsty@ncsu.edu.

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