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Muddy Paws Marsh

Muddy Paws Marsh is a restored wetland and educational center located in Spring Mills, Pa.

Muddy Paws Marsh is a restored wetland and educational center located in Spring Mills, Pa. The 25 acre site is owned by Penn State Extension Master Gardener Mary Kay Williams, and her husband Greg. In 2009 the marsh became a Master Gardener education site.

The preserved wetlands serve many key purposes such as purifying water in watersheds, helping with flood control, and most importantly, providing a habitat for wildlife. Muddy Paws Marsh is home to a Master Gardener pollinator garden as well as four varieties of frogs, nesting birds such as American Bittern and migratory birds including Least Sandpipers.

The wetlands is also an outdoor classroom for Penns Valley elementary students who come annually to learn about aquatic insects, tree varieties and wetlands. "Muddy Paws Marsh showcases the biodiversity of a natural ecosystem," says Mary Kay. "We are pleased to be able to provide programming for people to understand the value of wetlands."

Each spring, the annual Frog Festival is held at Muddy Paws Marsh. At the Festival, there are programs all about frogs for children, focusing on art, science, and play at hands-on learning stations. Both adults and children learn what types of frogs live at Muddy Paws Marsh and in other marshes in Centre County, how to listen for frog ‘songs’, all about the life cycle of frogs, and how to catch a frog and even hold one! Past programs were taught by Jim Julian, an instructor in Biology at Penn State Altoona, with help by Penn State Extension Master Gardeners.