There are many different types of wetlands that occur throughout Vermont including beaver ponds, beaver meadows, seeps, forested swamps, fens, bogs, and more. Each of these can be further divided into more specific natural communities, based on key species that grow within them and their location. Most people, myself included before I had learned about wetlands, tend to think of them as areas of open water bodies. This however is not entirely true – many wetlands can be forested, but still wet due to the hydrology of the area. So in some cases, you may be walking through a wet forest without ever realizing you are in a wetland.
The different types of wetlands each have their own feeling of magic. A Red Spruce-Cinnamon Fern Swamp can be found throughout Vermont and New England in small pockets – it is an uncommon spectacle. Often characterized by a red spruce (Picea rubens) dominated canopy and cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) throughout, creating a feeling of otherworldliness and beauty. I often enjoy taking my shoes off (if I’m even wearing any) to feel the thick carpets of Sphagnum mosses (Sphagnum sp.) on my bare feet as I walk, molding to my every step, and allowing me to feel more connected with these mystical places. The thick carpet of mosses shimmer as the sun peeks through the needles of Red Spruce, the flowers and ferns dance as the wind blows through the forest. Since Red Spruce-Cinnamon Fern Swamps are uncommon, conserving them is critical to protect the biodiversity that they contain.