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Learn about the importance of wetlands at EPA’s Exhibit at the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show

Release Date: 03/03/2009
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (March 3, 2009) – When you visit the Philadelphia Flower Show this year, stop by EPA’s exhibit entitled L’acqua e vita La vita e acqua in keeping with the show’s focus on Italy. Translation: Water is Life. Life is Water.

Most of us don’t give much thought to wetlands. If we do think of them at all, we conjure up squishy wet areas that you would need boots to access. We don’t realize that this squishy area is teaming with life.

Although best known for being home to water lilies, turtles, frogs, snakes, alligators, and crocodiles, wetlands also provide important habitat for waterfowl, fish and mammals. Migrating birds – the ones that still migrate – use wetlands to rest and feed during their cross-continental journeys and as nesting sites. The loss of wetlands due to construction and development has had a serious impact on all these species. And habitat degradation since the 1970s has been a leading cause of species extinction.

Visitors to EPA’s exhibit will see pitcher plants, blueberries, larch and a host of other species as they adorn a bog, while eastern redbuds, dogwoods, river birch and a plethora of other native woodland species form a buffer for the stream. EPA employees will provide information on integrating native plants and resource conservation techniques so that homeowners can do their part in managing surface water and protecting valuable aquatic resources downstream.

EPA’s exhibit won three awards this year: The Philadelphia Horticultural Society Flower Show Award – Best in Show – Nonacademic education; the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania – Special Achievement Award in Education for exhibits under 1,000 square feet; and the Garden Club of America’s Bulkley Medal given to a special exhibit of exceptional educational merit.

Wetlands Facts

An acre of wetland can store up to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater.
Two-thirds of all fish consumed worldwide are dependent on coastal wetlands at some stage in their life cycle.
As many of one-half of all North American bird species nest or feed in wetlands.
More than 50 perent of wetlands have been lost or destroyed nationwide in the past century.

Go to EPA’s Flower Show website at http://www.epa.gov/reg3esd1/garden/flower_show.htm or http://www.epa.gov/reg3esd1/garden/index.htm for environmentally-friendly landscaping advice.

Audio of Jeff Lapp and Todd Lutte, members of EPA’s flower show exhibition team, is available at: http://www.epa.gov/region03/multimedia/index.html