World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2, but the importance of wetlands should be recognized throughout the year. Wetlands are a critical part of the watershed, these ecosystems; act as a sink for stormwater, filter and purify water, grow rice crops feeding millions, provide habitat for wildlife, help prevent coastal erosion and flooding and store vast amounts of carbon. These benefits are not widely known or appreciated, World Wetlands Day was established to help spread the word about wetlands and hopefully stem the degradation of these vital ecosystems.
The adoption of World Wetlands Day occurred on February 2, 1971 in Ramsar, Iran which has a coast on the Caspian Sea. And since 1997 the Secretariat of Ramsar has lead a campaign providing educational materials to improve public awareness and aptitude regarding water and wetlands. On January 27, 1998 the Ramsar Convention entered into a partnership with private sector stakeholders the Danone Group and Evian Water, as well as the French Department of the Environment. And thus the Danone-Evian Fund for Water was launched. This mission of this organization is to influence decision and policy makers as well as the general public regarding the importance of water resources and their current critical state. Each year the Danone Group finances the development and creation of educational pamphlets on this topic in 3 languages; English, French and Spanish.
Also collaborating in the fight against the disappearance and degradation of wetlands around the globe is the Biosphere Connections-Star Alliance organization. This is a unique initiative, formed in 2007, whose mission is to foster corporate and social responsibility with regard to environmental sustainability. Biosphere Connections-Star Alliance supports sustainability and research by flying environmental field workers, scientists and educators across its global network to improve their skills and further their knowledge and understanding of worldwide environmental issues, initiatives and unique habitats in need of conservation assistance.
You can get involved and help support these important, vital causes and resources. Make a pledge to personally take action and advocate for wetlands, help restore ecosystems and stem degradation. If you are or know someone between the ages of 15-24, enter the photo contest; take a picture in a wetland location from February 2 to March 2, 2015 and submit it here: http://www.worldwetlandsday.org/enter-the-contest. The first prize winner of the photo contest receives a free flight to a wetland location anywhere in the world courtesy of Star Alliance Biosphere Connections. Make sure to read the official contest rules and conditions http://www.worldwetlandsday.org/photo-contest/conditions.