Foxes, raccoons and duck potatoes: UNCG’s new wetlands fill up (Video)

UNCG Now

GREENSBORO — In March, UNC-Greensboro professors dug a couple of big holes on campus, put in some plants and waited for it to rain.And rain it did — more than 2 feet since late March, according to the National Weather Service gauges at Piedmont Triad International Airport.Four months later, these two wetlands areas are full of water. Flowers are blooming, and animals are coming.The university used about $54,000 in grants to build two wetlands areas — a large one in an open field north of the soccer stadium, and a smaller one in the woods near West Market Street.At the larger of the two ponds, spiky cardinal flowers and arrow-shaped duck potatoes are in bloom, and native grasses and sedges have taken root. Red and gray foxes, possums, deer and a groundhog have been spotted prowling around its banks.At the wooded pond, dragonflies darted around on a cloudy morning. The motion-activated camera that monitors the site has picked up a family of raccoons — two adults and two juveniles — that forage around the muddy pond most nights about 10 p.m. (Both sites have cameras, which have recorded human visitors as well.)The university hopes to have local schoolchildren visit the wetlands on field trips. UNCG professors and students will conduct research at the two sites.UNCG researchers will “ask a number of questions about the impact of wetland installation on everything biological about these sites,” said Matina Kalcounis-Ruepell, a professor of biology and department chairwoman. “That’s everything from nutrient transfer, energy transfer, biodiversity, behavior, ecology. …“This is a living, learning classroom for our undergraduate students,” she added.

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