Great blue herons in the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, Florida, USA
© Marie Hickman/Getty Image
Waste not, want not. The waters of Wakodahatchee
Take a stroll through the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in the US state of Florida, and you may well spot some great blue herons, like the fluffed-up pair we're featuring on our homepage. The park, which opened in 1996, boasts a lengthy boardwalk which winds over ponds and through marshes, offering visitors the chance to see more than 150 bird species, as well as turtles, fish, frogs, alligators and other Florida wildlife.
The park was created on wastewater utility property, next to a water treatment plant - turning about 50 acres of former percolation ponds into a thriving wetlands habitat. Every day, about 2m gallons (7.5m litres) of highly treated wastewater is pumped into the wetlands. Then the algae and other plants naturally finish the purification process before the water seeps back into the water table. The park’s unusual name is derived from a Native American Seminole phrase meaning ‘created waters’.