Students at Letcher County Central High School built a wetland at the school this week as part of their science curriculum. The wetlands, which is about 40 feet in diameter, is on a part of the school property where students and teachers report seeing elk, turkey and other wildlife. Rough-wing swallows and other birds were sighted during construction.
Science teacher Regina Donour (at the center of the photo at left) applied for a grant from PRIDE to build the project. Tom Biebighauser, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service designed the wetlands.
While some people questioned whether Donour was building a “mosquito habitat,” Biebighauser explained that healthy wetlands can actually reduce mosquito population because they provide places for the mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Natural predators are also attracted to the water, eat the eggs, and reduce the population of mosquitoes.
Species expected to make their home in the wetland include spotted salamanders, frogs, ducks, waterboatmen, backswimmers, damselfly larvae and dragonfly nymphs, all of which feast on mosquitoes and their eggs.