This story was collected as part of a collaborative effort to record the state of American lakes, rivers, and waterways as well an attempt to uncover what water means to Americans. Listen to other stories recorded for the Be Here: Main Street project, a collaboration with the MuseWeb Foundation to record stories from rural America.
“Well I'm Kelly Blackledge with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, a visitor service manager at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. I think water is amazing. One of the cool parts of water is that it can be a liquid, a gas, or a solid all in nature. That makes it incredible, and of course the really unique part is that water, as a solid, is less dense than it is as a liquid, so ice floats. Of course ice forms on top of the lakes and here in Minnesota you can walk on water. Now that makes living in the wintering North pretty remarkable.
My favorite part of water is the spring thaw. When that ice starts to melt and it seems like it disappears from the lake tops in just days, very quickly, but the thaw comes out of the soil. The wildflowers start pushing up through the dirt, and the streams start trickling again. That's what starts bringing back all of the birds to this area. It just becomes a cacophony of music around us. It's just amazing. The hibernators start waking up, and one of my favorite is the wood frog.
Now the wood frog will be one of the first ones to start moving in the spring, even if there's still snow on the ground, and start moving over to the marshes and singing its heart out to attract mates. Not only the wood frogs, but the spring peepers, the gray tree frogs, the chorus frogs, and other amphibians like the tiger salamander and the blue spotted salamander. All of these are just wonderful critters that wouldn't be here if we didn't have these healthy waters around us. It just makes spring magical to hear that music of nature around us.”
Asset ID #3899