Wetlands are often called 'keystone natural communities' because of the important role many wetlands play in biogeochemical cycling, the control of flooding, the support of extensive and rich food chains, the prevention of shore line erosion, and a host of other ecological functions. Northern Vermont has a rich diversity of freshwater wetland natural communities.
The objective of this course is to provide each student with an understanding of the plant and animal life found in wetlands. We will investigate the biogeochemical processes and various ecological functions that benefit all the Earth's inhabitants. Combining classroom and field-based learning activities the class will study the varieties of wetland natural communities, soils, plants, animals, and the adaptations and ecological functions found in wetlands. The topographic, geomorphic, climatic, geologic, and floristic diversity of northern Vermont provide extensive opportunities to study first-hand a large variety of wetland types including: floodplain forests, hardwood and softwood swamps, alpine peatlands, bogs and fens, vernal pools, seeps, marshes, wet shores, and meadows.