TOUR > The Wetlands
Welcome to the wet and wild tour
A twenty acre tract between Georgia Highlands College and the Floyd County Industrial Park has been set aside as a protected natural wetland ecosystem in effort to preserve valuable biodiversity, improve water quality through natural means, and encourage public interest and education in environmental science (continues, right).
Through cooperative efforts among public and private agencies, a 1200-foot boardwalk, including two observation platforms, has been built through previously inaccessible willow swampland. There's much more about the wetlands below, so please click "continue".
Designed and built by Georgia Highlands College plant operations personnel and funded from various public and private sources, the boardwalk was dedicated in 1996. Since then, student groups of all ages have participated in field trips, water quality studies, and species inventory.
The boardwalk also provides an extension to the popular recreational perimeter trail around Georgia Highlands College's Paris Lake, available to the public. We invite you to stroll among the wonders of wetness and discover the bounty of wildlife secluded within.
But what are wetlands? To find out, read the column on the right.
What are wetlands?
Wetlands are basically wet lands fed from two main water sources, surface water and ground water. Often thought of as wastelands, wetlands are important to us in many ways:
• Wetlands keep our environment in balance by providing habitat for many species of wildlife, including most of Georgia's threatened and endangered species.
• Wetland plant life filters and captures sedimentary particles, thereby purifying and enhancing water quality.
• Wetlands are the most productive ecosystem in Georgia, producing about three times the biomass of any terrestrial ecosystem. (Click "continue" for more.)
What is unique about the preserve?
• It has several distinct habitats adjacent to each other and easily accessible for study.
• It sets aside and protects about twenty undisturbed wetland acres, allowing natural growth and change without interference from the adjoining industrial park on one side and college campus on the other.
• It is supported by several government agencies at local, state, and federal levels as well as private industry and educational institutions, thus demonstrating a successful coalition for education in wetland ecology.
What is the preserve for? To find out, read the column on the right.
What is the purpose of the preserve?
• To bring together private, local, state and federal assets to educate the general public on the importance of wetlands as an environmental resource
• To allow organized student access and study of the delicate ecosystem to foster better public understanding of environmental science.
• To allow public access for education and enjoyment
What Habitats can you see?
• Open meadow
• Upland forest
• Willow swamp (Palustrine shrub-scrub)
• Beaver-modified cattail marsh
• Deepwater stream habitat
Without a boat or waders, you would get wet if you went into a wetlands area. The Georgia Highlands College Wetland has a raised 1200 foot boardwalk so you can go deep into the wetlands and stay dry.
Or you can take a virtual tour... Read the column on the right to find out how.
Take the virtual wetlands tour
Along the real boardwalk there are 12 viewing areas from which you can see features of particular interest.
You can take a "virtual" tour of the wetlands from the cyberswamp site, and view some of what you'd see if you were on each of the 12 viewing areas along the real boardwalk, by using the TOUR menu.
To begin your virtual wetlands tour, first click "TOP" to go back to the top of this page, and then click the word "swampmap" on the dark green TOUR menu on the right. The swampmap shows where the boardwalk goes.
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