Wetlands Day is observed on February 2 to recognize and celebrate the importance of wetlands to the world, and the diversity of life that they support. Wetlands can be a very small or a very large area where the land is saturated with water throughout the year.Wetlands are one of the most misunderstood ecosystems. They have a lot of biodiversity, and large numbers of animals, plants, and birds live there. They are also very beneficial, preventing soil erosion and offering protection against flooding, among others.

History of Wetlands Day

Wetlands Day, popularly known as World Wetlands Day, was first organized by a group of environmentalists who wanted to celebrate and protect wetlands. The date, February 2, also marks the date when the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar.This day is all about celebrating the importance of wetlands to the earth and everyone living on the planet. Environmentalists use this day to spread information about Wetlands, and what people can do to protect them.Wetlands are areas that are flooded with water for the majority of the year, where life has evolved to exist in these flooded, oxygen-less conditions. Every single continent has its own wetlands. They perform a number of vital functions for the land.Wetlands are the main source of groundwater refills. They are also the first line of defense against storms and typhoons. Wetlands purify water, and in some places, they are artificially constructed to purify industrial runoff water.Wetlands are teeming with life, and are home to unique plants, fish, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and birds that can’t live anywhere else. However, wetlands are also extremely ecologically sensitive. They are the most easily affected by environmental changes and climate change. Even minor changes can prove catastrophic for wetlands, and all the life that is dependent on them.The main aim of Wetlands Day is to spread information about how valuable wetlands are, and encourage people and governments to take action to prevent their loss. Recognizing this, the U.N. decided to formally institute World Wetlands Day on the day it had been celebrated by environmentalists, February 2.

Wetlands Day timeline

The Convention on Wetlands is Signed

This convention, one of the older environmental agreements on a global scale, is adopted at the city of Ramsar in Iran.

The Ramsar Convention Comes into Force

Countries that had signed the convention now begin to adopt the measures listed in the agreement.

The First Wetlands Day is Celebrated

A group of environmentalists comes together to celebrate wetlands, spread information about them, and work together to protect the wetlands of the planet.

The U.N. Institutes Wetlands Day

Recognizing the efforts of environmentalists and the importance of protecting wetlands, the U.N. formally institutes a global day, February 2, to celebrate wetlands.

Wetlands Day FAQs

Who is responsible for wetlands?

The people, governmental agencies such as the E.P.A., and the United States Army Corps of Engineers are all responsible for wetlands.

Can wetlands be farmed?

If part of your farm is a designated wetland, you can continue to farm as long as you don’t alter the drainage systems of the area.

How long does it take to restore wetlands?

Depending on the damage, wetlands can be restored in three to four years.

How to Observe Wetlands Day

  1. Make a poster or brochures

    An important way to celebrate wetlands is by spreading information about them. Put together a poster or some brochures with information about wetlands and educate people!

  2. Take some photos for competitions

    Wetlands are found everywhere, so drive down to your nearest wetland and take some photos. There are lots of photography competitions for wetlands on this day, so submit your photos for first place.

  3. Organize an event at your local school

    Work with teachers and community leaders to organize a kid-friendly event that celebrates all things wetlands. Informs the kids about how they can help!

5 Facts About Wetlands That You Probably Didn’t Know

  1. The U.S.'s wetlands have decreased

    Since the 1700s, there has been a steady degradation of wetlands all over the country, and it’s believed they have decreased by half.

  2. A lot of endangered species live there

    In the U.S., one-third of the country’s endangered and threatened species live in wetlands.

  3. Alaska has the most wetlands

    63% of the country’s wetlands are found in Alaska.

  4. Buying stamps can help

    Funds from the purchase of federal duck stamps go towards wetlands acquisition so they can be protected.

  5. You can adopt wetlands

    In New England, an Adopt-A-Wetland program has been set up to help save the wetlands.

Why Wetlands Day is Important

  1. We think they’re beautiful

    Wetlands are the most biodiverse places on the planet and have the most variety of life. What could be more beautiful than that?

  2. We want to save the wetlands

    Spreading information about what they do and how important they are is the best way to help protect the wetlands, which do so much for the planet.

  3. We love nature

    We want to do our best to make sure that we support natural systems and do our bit to stop the effects of climate change on the planet.

Wetlands Day dates

Year Date Day
2023 February 2 Thursday
2024 February 2 Friday
2025 February 2 Sunday
2026 February 2 Monday
2027 February 2 Tuesday