Author: Colt Woodall
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article arguing that the college should bring back Lake Demorest instead of having our wetlands. In response to my article, I received an email from Associate Professor of Biology Tim Menzel asking if he could give me a tour of the wetlands and try to sway my opinion. Me, being the nature lover and self-proclaimed explorer extraordinaire that I am, immediately jumped on the offer. He told me up front that I would not be seeing any gators, and though I was disheartened, I went anyway. After dodging several members of the faculty while wielding machetes, Menzel and I marched into the wetlands. He told me that the wetlands were actually formed because the lake that I praised so much was not really much of a lake at all and was drying up fast. The school noticed this, and instead of being liable for a potential dam bust, decided to create two streams which would generate stream credits for the school. People or companies that need to destroy streams for construction purposes can then buy these credits from the school. Everything was running smoothly until the beavers showed up. They dammed up one of the streams. As a result of that the beavers created the wetlands, which the college now gets credits for, and these credits are worth a bit more than stream credits. Thanks beavers!
When we entered the wetlands one of the first things we did was walk across a beaver dam, which was pretty cool. We then proceeded to walk further and further back into the wetlands where there is actually dry ground. Through this marsh forest is a series of trails that Dr. Menzel memorized. As pro-lake as I was only a few weeks ago, I have to admit, there were some really cool areas back in there. The good news is that, eventually the entire wetlands is going to turn into that same kind of dry ground marsh forest. If Dr. Menzel gets what he envisions, there will be trails, picnic areas and places to be able to fish along the stream. Still not convinced? Let me explain it by saying that back in the forest, it feels like you’re in a “Twilight” movie but it doesn’t suck; it’s very peaceful. The bad news is that none of us that are here now will be around by the time that this happens, but that’s okay. If we were to turn the wetlands back in to a lake, none of us would be here for the completion of that either. So, either way, you’re not going to be able to enjoy it. The wetlands also makes professors from other colleges jealous. Is there anything better than making some snob of a professor from UGA or that school in Atlanta cry tears of jealous rage because we have this environment right on our campus and they don’t? No. No there is not. Thank you beavers! In conclusion, though it may not look like much now, I ask that you give it a chance. It will someday. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and until I see what the finished product is, I will retract mine. Thank you to Professor Menzel for giving me the tour. I saw a new side of the wetlands that opened my eyes to what I hope it someday will be.