SWAMPS and low-lying areas were once seen as a blot on the landscape, fit only to be drained.
But the ecological importance of wetlands is well documented and has been recognised for decades, so much so that there is an annual World Wetlands Day.
The day has been held since 1977 and marks the date of the adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971.
Activities based around the importance of wetlands are being held on Sunday 2 February at Boneo Park, on the Mornington Peninsula and the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands.
The activities at Boneo (312 Boneo Road) have been organised by Western Port Biosphere, Bunurong Land Council, Birdlife Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne Water, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Trust for Nature and Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network.
Each of the organisations will have marquees with information and activities happening from 7am to 2pm, including walks, talks and other activities. Bookings: worldwetlandsday.eventbrite.com.au
The Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands group will hold activities and displays at the bird hide in Edithvale Road, Edithvale from 1pm to 4pm while Melbourne Water will run activities at its nearby education centre.
A “kangaroo walk” around Edithvale south, which is not usually open to the public, starts at 1.30pm.
“From unwanted, smelly, plaguey, pestilent places, good only for draining, to valued, respected and useful places – swamps and wetlands have transitioned over the past 50 years,” Robin Clarey, the group’s vice-president said.
“Their place on the environmental stage and their importance has now been truly recognised and understood.”
Ms Clarey said World Wetlands Day helped raise awareness about the value of wetlands “for humanity and the planet”.