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EarthCache

Heckrodt Wetland Reserve

A cache by wiskey33
Hidden : 3/1/2010
In Wisconsin, United States
Difficulty:
1.5 out of 5
Terrain:
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

HECKRODT WETLAND RESERVE
Located at
1305 Plank Road (HIghway 114)
Menasha, WI 54952 (920)720-9349
Here is a link to the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve Site.
www.heckrodtwetland.com


We would like to give a big Thank You to
Tracey Koenig
Heckrodt Wetland Reserve Executive Director
Who provided some of the information on the wetlands.
And for giving us permission to place this Earthcache




Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is one of the last vestiges of natural wetlands on the north shore of Lake Winnebago and the region’s only large forested wetland accessible to the general public. Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is operated by a nonprofit organization(Heckrodt Wetland Reserve, Inc.) The mission of Heckrodt Wetland Reserve, Inc. is to restore, enhance, and preserve the Reserve, to educate all people about the importance of conserving our natural resources, and to promote the Reserve’s recreational opportunities. The Reserve began with a donation of land and financial support from the Heckrodt Family. Heckrodt encompasses 72 acres and within those acres the Reserve exhibits five wetland plant communities including hardwood swamp, shrub-carr, shallow marsh, fresh(wet)meadow, and deep marsh. The Reserve is a place that struggles to survive due to the development pressures in the area. These pressures have resulted in a loss of water quantity, reduction of water quality, invasion by exotic plant species, reduction in resident wildlife and others. We must recognize the importance of this resource and ensure its existence for future generations.



Wetlands are among the most biodiverse environments in the world .meaning it supports a large variety of life forms. Wetlands are areas covered or soaked by surface or ground water usually no deeper than about 6 feet. Wetlands form the area between places always wet such as ponds and areas that are always dry like forests and grasslands. As plant life changes the wetland is constantly evolving. The process is called succession. Waste matter from floating type plants such as leaves and dead stems begin to fill up a pond. The water becomes slow moving, thick and shallow making it possible for plants that need to be anchored to grow. Plants such as reeds and grasses. As waste matter continues to increase the pond gradually becomes a wetland. As succession continues a wetland may eventually disappear and be replaced by dry ground. Several factors may contribute to the formation of a wetland. The last glaciers passing through about 10,000 years ago left depressions in the ground called kettles. Kettles were also formed from melted ice. Leaving behind the perfect place for water to accumulate. Centuries of heavy winds and landslides may also change the terrain leaving depressions for water accumulation. Wetlands are also formed by overflowing river banks, changes in water level, and heavy rains which can leave behind waterlogged areas. Soil is an important characteristic of a wetland area. The composition of the soil determines the type of wetland and what plants and animals can survive in it. The soil in a wetland is almost always saturated. Hydric is the term used to refer to wetland soil meaning it contains a lot of water but little oxygen. Plants that thrive in this sort of environment are those that can adapt to wet soils. Nutrients in the soil depend on water supply. If rain is the primary water source the soils do not receive as many nutrients as those fed by ground water. Flood plains are very rich in nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. Three main types of wetlands are swamps, marshes and peatlands. Size, type of soil, plants, type and amount of water supply determine what type of wetland it is. A swamp is a type of wetland characterized by poorly drained water, and the plant life is dominated by trees. Vegetation in the area must be able to tolerate having their root systems wet for long periods of time. Stagnant water causes the decaying plant matter to settle to the bottom an area with little oxygen. Because there is little oxygen the plant matter cannot fully decay. This gives the swamp the characteristic of brown stinky water. Marshes make up about 90% of the wetlands. Fresh water marshes are found along the edge of lakes and rivers where groundwater, streams, or springs cause flooding. Growth of reeds, rushes, grasses and other nonwoody vegetation may look like thick fields of grass. Wetlands made up of peat are referred to as peatlands. The partially decayed remains of sphagnum moss and even trees make up peat. Dead plant matter is produced and deposited faster than the rate it decomposes. Layer upon layer of partially decayed matter produce peatland. Sometimes over thousands of years the build up of plant matter could be 40 feet deep. One example of a peatland is a temperate bog. Temperate bogs are soft floating carpets mainly made up of sphagnum moss. Why protect our wetlands? Wetlands function as vast, solar-powered organic factories that trap silt washed off the land. From this runoff, wetlands extract nutrients, converting them into vital plant life that stabilizes the soil, generates oxygen, and provides a habitat for many types of animals. Wetlands act as a filter for our lakes, rivers and streams. They filter out pollutants such as sewage, fertilizer runoff composed of nitrogen and phosphorus, and heavy metals from industrial waste. Wetlands serve as large sponges temporary storage areas limiting the destruction of flood waters. They also help reduce erosion. Vegetation in the wetland areas remove phosphates and other plant nutrients from surrounding soil. This reduces the growth of aquatic weeds and algae, which can steal the oxygen that plants and animals need to survive. Wetlands provide permanent habitat to many species of plants, fish, and wildlife. They are home to many endemic and endangered species. Wetland systems are disappearing fast and with it go many plants, mammals, and waterfowl that make wetland areas their home.



Heckrodt Wetland Reserves
gate is open from 6:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.
Monday through Sunday, for their Trails within the Reserve. They also provide a very nice center with indoor pond and some live exhibits.

Center is open Tuesday - Friday 8-4:30 P.M.
Holidays - 11-4:00 P.M.
Saturday & Sunday 11-4:00 P.M.

In order to claim credit for this cache you will need to answer the following questions and e-mail the answers to wiskey33

Also take a photo of your GPS at the following Coordinates.
N 44 12.511 W 088 25.127
And tell me if you were facing North or South when you took the photo.

1. How many wetland plant communities are within the boundaries of the Reserve?
2. Pick one of the communities at the Reserve and name two plants that grow there.( A little research is needed here)
3. What term is used to refer to wetland soil?

Remember to send photo of GPS at listed coordinates.


As always do not post your answers in your log. As this will cause me to delete your log.

e-mail wiskey33

A Geocache Notification Form has been submitted to
Tracey Koenig
Heckrodt Wetland Reserve Executive Director
1305 Plank Road (HIghway 114)
Menasha, WI 54952 (920)720-9349

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Inventory

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59 Logged Visits

Found it 53     Write note 5     Publish Listing 1     

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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 10/12/2014 8:46:11 AM Pacific Daylight Time (3:46 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum