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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Wetlands Park Marks Anniversaries with Feb. 2 Open House

January 27, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The public is invited to an open house at Ohio State University's Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

The occasion celebrates World Wetland Day, which this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Wetland Convention, the major international agreement for protecting the world’s wetlands, rivers, lakes and coastal ecosystems.

The open house also marks the beginning of a year-long-plus celebration of the 20th anniversary of the inception of Ohio State's wetland research park, a 50-acre complex of created and restored freshwater riverine wetlands, located north of campus off Dodridge Street. The creation of the wetlands was announced in early 1991 as a teaching and research tool for the Ohio State campus. By 1994, water started pumping into the park's signature kidney wetlands. The 20-year-anniversary celebration will culminate in October 2012 when Ohio State University and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission host EcoSummit 2012, expected to attract 2,000 of the world's ecologists to Columbus.

Wednesday's event will include displays of wetlands history and research, videos, international food and wetland tours, said Bill Mitsch, professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources and director of the wetland park since its inception.

"Our impact has been global over the past 20 years," Mitsch said. "We've had a dramatic impact on the whole field of wetlands mitigation, and I think we've had an astronomical impact on improving the environment."

The importance of Ohio State's wetland was recognized in 2008 when it was named Ohio's first and the nation's 24th Wetland of International Importance by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ramsar Convention. Ramsar was established in 1971 as an international treaty that provides a framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

No reservations for the open house are necessary, but to arrange a multi-person tour of the wetlands park, contact Li Zhang, assistant director, at 614-292-1098 or

For more information, see the wetlands web site at

Martha Filipic
Bill Mitsch