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What are Wetlands?
Like riparian forests, wetlands are critical for containing flood waters and they support a diverse array of wildlife year round. A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with moisture either permanently or seasonally. Such areas may also be covered partially or completely by shallow pools of water. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas. The Florida Everglades are the largest wetlands in the United States.
Paul and Sigrund Lynch Wetland
The Paul and Sigrund Lynch Wetland, located a half mile west of the barn, is an ideal site for students doing water studies. Follow Wood Duck Way (by foot) or Otis Rd (by vehicle). A small parking area is available for vehicles. A handicapped-accessible trail winds through the site. Several docks and interpretive panels help visitors explore the area.
In 1998 and 1999, the Nature Center restored this wetland which had been drained in 1859 during railroad construction. Restoration involved removing thousands of tons of dirt, rerouting Bena Brook to its original course and bringing back hundreds of species of plants and wildlife. The two acre-wetland is separated into two ponds. The larger pond features a windmill-driven aerator. Dozens of species of terrestrial and aquatic plants and wildlife have been introduced and flourish, including a population of state-threatened grass pickerel and a pair of Canada geese that return annually to the island to nest.