A marsh is a type of wetland. An "inland freshwater marsh," like the one we have at IslandWood, is generally characterized by having water-saturated soil and herbacious (cattails, grasses), not woody (trees), plant life. The soil saturation can range from simply soggy in the dry season to a few feet of standing water in the rainy season. Where the water in a marsh comes from is what differentiates it from other wetlands--marshes receive their water from streams, runoff, and precipitation. A bog, on the other hand, only receives water from precipitation.
Marshes are one of our most productive and life-giving ecosystems. Resident species all along the food chain, from insects to apex predators, rely on marshes as a source of food, water, and protection all year round. Migratory birds use marshes as stopping points during their travels north and south. As humans, we rely on marshes to resupply groundwater levels, filter polluted surface water, and protect developed areas from flooding.
Likely organisms to see in an inland freshwater marsh:
- Red-winged blackbird
- Wood duck
- Great blue heron
- Bald eagle
- Virginia rail
- Hooded merganser
- Water lily
Quick facts about the IslandWood marsh:
• Kids study birds, listen and explore the adventure trail around marsh; study macroinvertebrates and water quality
• 8-10 acres (depending on season)
• Bird blind – quiet area
o Protected area
o Donated by Starbuck’s and designed by Mithūn; built by The TreeHouse Workshop (Peter Nelson and Jake Jacob); Carroll Vogel set the helical anchor system and designed bridge/boardwalk. Floor is ironwood, to prevent rot.
o Birdhouse on tree in marsh housed Wood ducks and Hooded merganser