So through my internship with the Metroparks, I got to spend some time in s swamp. I was helping another student with her project of trapping turtles in the wetlands around the Ohio Erie Canal. We would catch turtles weigh them, measure them, draw blood and swab their mouths. It was a really good time, and I got to learn how to draw blood on a turtle. We all got a pair of chest waders, so we were able to go pretty much everywhere through the swamp. I am really sad that I do not trust myself with a camera out there because I do not have any pictures.
There would be two of us at a time. We would wade around from trap to trap and check them. While walking, I got to bask in the untamed nature all around me. The entire swamp is throbbing with life from the mud at the bottom to the tops of the trees. I had never spent any time in any kind of swamp or marsh habitat before this, and I learned how much I love them. Animals are all over the place. We caught 5 different species of turtles, and there were herons all over the place. I never saw any water snakes, but I know that they are common there. Raccoons and muskrats were ever-present, and messing with the traps. I watched bullfrog tadpoles leap out of the water to get at insects, and crayfish scurry off of the lillypads when we waded their way. I learned so much about the wildlife in the area, and I am really glad that I had the opportunity.
I also had the chance to learn some of the local plant life. A big patch of nightshade grew on a floating log. Stinging nettles really liked the edges of the water. A lot of cottonwood trees grew around and in the water. I wish that I would have been able to get out there a little bit on my own to further explore and maybe harvest some of the things that grow out there and to learn a lot more of what is out there. There were dozens of species that I couldn’t even identify.
I always knew that swamps were amazing environments, but this internship taught me just how amazing they are. I would love to do some swamp workings in future and learn more about the spirits there. I am sure there is so much that the swamp can hide.