Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Water: it's the elixir of life. All living creatures need water to survive and the quality of that water influences the quality of life it supports. We understand this need for water and often view a beautiful lake or clean river as the epitome of quality water. But our purest water comes from underground sources called 'aquifers'. Wetlands are critical to the amount and quality of water in aquifers. What a wetland is, however, is often misunderstood. The Congress of the United States, through the Clean Water Act, has defined wetlands as, quote, “Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances, do support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions”, unquote. Is it any wonder that developers throw up their hands in frustration? It's difficult for the average person to identify everything that fits into the category of wetland, yet it is of great importance that those managing our lands recognize the nature and importance of wetlands.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University.