Help people learn about these amazing animals on International Beaver Day, April 7. International Beaver Day is a great time to hike to a beaver pond, host a book display in your library, show a beaver video, and / or spread the word about the nature engineer.
It’s all about the dams
Remember that beavers are more than a fascinating fauna that can be observed; learning to live with this species can help solve important environmental problems. By building dams, beavers restore the most valuable ecosystem on earth, wetlands. Not only are wetlands havens of life with a biodiversity comparable to tropical rainforests, but they also provide essential services such as cleaning water, regulating the climate, and moderating stream flow.
10% (or less) of the North American beaver population
We now have 10% or less of the North American beaver population before Euro-American colonization. (A much smaller percentage of the original Eurasian beaver population remains.) As beavers were eradicated in centuries past, their prey no longer filtered silt from streams and kept water on land longer. As the beavers were exterminated, most of the wetlands were drained and the waterways were disconnected from their floodplains. Rivers became more like canals or sewers, leading to today’s problems of water pollution, erosion, and increasing damage from regional floods and droughts.
Beaver Dams Restore wetlands
Beaver dams restore wetlands, those “northern rainforests” rated as the best life support system on earth. Learning to coexist with beaver wetlands ensures that we continue to enjoy essential natural services, such as clean water. Nature engineers can also help combat climate change. This is because its dams and wetlands retain water on land, reducing the damage caused by both droughts and major floods, extreme weather events that increase with climate change. Additionally, the lush plant life of beaver swamps absorbs a lot of carbon dioxide, and drainage from these sites results in the release of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.
First International Beaver Day
To kick off the first International Beaver Day in 2009, Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife (BWW) donated nearly 1,000 copies of the “Teacher Edition” of its popular DVD “Coexisting with Beavers” to schools. BWW has other helpful materials available, including the original “Living With Beavers” DVD, which includes a section on installing a leveler, and literature, such as a booklet on beavers.
Why April 7
Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife (BWW) chose April 7 for International Beaver Day, because it is the birthday of Dorothy Richards (1894-1985), who studied these amazing animals for 50 years. If necessary, events can be scheduled for another date in April. Although the great benefits of beaver wetlands tend to be hidden, living with this species is essential for a healthy environment.