World Wetland Day: A Splashy Affair

Each February, the global community marks World Wetland Day. Wetlands are among the planet’s most biodiverse habitats; in Toronto, wetlands are the best places to spot turtles, trumpeter swans, wood ducks, herons and muskrats, just to name a few species. Wetlands are vital for buffering floodwaters and storing carbon. But wetlands are also under intense pressure, especially in fast-growing areas like Toronto.

The Toronto area has lost more than 85% of its original wetlands, as noted by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority.  Unfortunately, threats to our wetlands are still growing, worsened by the anti-environment agenda at Queen’s Park. The government of Ontario passed legislation in 2021 dangerously undermining wetland protection in our province, as reported by Ontario Nature.

Your voice can help draw attention to local wetlands:

The City of Toronto has good intentions for natural lands, but protections on the ground are very slow and patchy. You can email your municipal councillor, to ask for stronger protections for local wetlands. You can also ask what progress the city has made on its Biodiversity Strategy, adopted in 2019. Five years on, the public deserves an update; which of the city’s 23 biodiversity commitments have had substantial action?

Your support for TFN can help wetlands:

TFN was one of the first nature groups in Ontario to secure land as nature reserves for future generations – starting its land purchases in the 1970s. Thanks to substantial bequests generously donated over the years, TFN owns and maintains 170+ hectares of natural lands including environmentally sensitive wetlands just north of Toronto, protecting habitat for many at-risk species. TFN welcomes donations to a trust fund for maintaining our nature reserves. Read more

To celebrate World Wetland Day, TFN recently hosted a talk on urban wetland restoration at Tommy Thompson Park. Our speaker was Ralph Toninger, Associate Director of Restoration and Resource Management at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.  Enjoy his inspiring talk here on our youtube page.

Toronto Field Naturalists wishes to acknowledge this Land through which we walk. For thousands of years, the Land has been shared by the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe. Toronto is situated on the Land within the Toronto Purchase, Treaty 13, the traditional and treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is also part of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum, a covenant agreement between Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Wendat peoples and allied nations to peaceably share the land and all its resources. Today, the Land is home to peoples of numerous nations. We are all grateful to have the opportunity to continue to care for and share the beauty of this Land.