Wetlands Centre to take part in Russia-USA exchange program

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The Driftless Area Wetlands Centre in Marquette has been selected to participate in the Russia-USA Wetland Center Exchange Program: Linking People and Wetlands project.

The Wetlands Centre was one of three wetlands centers in the United States chosen to participate in the project, which will seek to identify shared challenges organizations in the U.S. and Russia face in regard to wetlands education and outreach.

Wetlands Centre Director Katrina Moyna said the Wetlands Centre was located and invited to submit an application to participate through a simple spelling error. When a representative from The Wetlands Institute, which organized the project, searched for wetlands centers around the country, rather than spelling “center” the common American English way, she instead accidentally typed “centre,” the form the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre uses. As a result, the Wetlands Centre in Marquette popped up on the screen.

“I’m never going to make fun of that spelling again,” Moyna joked.

For the exchange program, the Wetlands Centre and the two other participating centers, The Wetlands Institute from Stone Harbor, N.J., and John Bunker Sands Wetland Center from Seagoville, Texas, are each paired with a Russian wetlands center. In either April, May or June, representatives from each U.S. wetlands center will visit a partner wetlands center in Russia. In September, Russian representatives will, in turn, travel to their partner wetlands centers in the U.S.

Funding for the project is provided by a grant to The Wetlands Institute by the U.S. Embassy, Moscow, Public Affairs Section as part of the U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program. The Wetlands Institute is teaming with Wetland Link International (based in the United Kingdom) and Wetlands International Russia (a program of World Wildlife Fund Russia) to generate a beneficial international dialogue between wetlands centers in the U.S. and Russia to share best practices in environmental education.

The Driftless Area Wetlands Centre will be paired with Khakassky State Nature Reserve, located in Abakan, Republic of Khakasia, Russia. Khakassky State Nature Reserve has four centers dedicated to themes—like archeology, cultural history and wetlands—that connect to nature, most specifically the area’s more than 200 fresh and salt water lakes. The wetlands center conducts regular environmental education programs and camps about wetland ecology and bird migration and diversity, as the area is home to over 200 species of rare and endangered birds.

“I’m beyond excited, off the Richter scale,” shared Moyna, who will travel to Russia with MFL MarMac science teacher Dawn Colsch, who is also a Wetlands Centre board member. Although she and Colsch have yet to determine when they’ll visit Russia, Moyna said she’s hoping for June, which is Khakassky’s busiest time.

“It will be all about getting intimately familiar with what they have to offer and sharing experiences, struggles and triumphs,” Moyna said of the exchange.

After both groups have visited one anothers’ wetlands centers, all six organizations will meet at The Wetlands Institute for a conference, where they will develop a manuscript of best practices to get people involved in the U.S. and Russia.

“Hopefully, it will help other nature centers that open, as topics like the climate, habitat, endangered species and clean water come up,” she said.

Moyna said participating in the exchange is a great opportunity for the Wetlands Centre.

“The Wetlands Centre will get international exposure and make a lot of contacts,” she said, adding that it will be a link between researchers and scientists and others interested in wetlands. “It’s good to talk to others about challenges and solutions. Collaboration is always helpful.”

Participation will also help bridge the gap between cultures.

“It’s about connecting over something greater than us—nature,” Moyna said. “They have golden eagles and peregrine falcons, and we have those here too. Bonding over nature helps us educate the upcoming generations that Russia is not just about what’s in the news, and vice versa.”

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)