Science Shorts

The truth about bogs

As my master’s thesis focused on an examination of methane emissions at an ombrotrophic bog here in Ottawa (Mer Bleue), I am all too familiar with some of the common misconceptions surrounding the notion of bogs. When you hear the word “bog,” most people envision a foul-smelling, flooded area that would be a great setting for a horror film. This could not be further from the truth!

Bogs are beautiful and unique landscapes (see feature image above), and they actually have quite a nice, spicy scent originating from the dominant evergreen and deciduous shrubs covering the bog surface. While Mer Bleue does not have an adorable bog turtle, I did get to see insect-eating plants (Pitcher plant, left) and rare orchids (Lady slipper orchid, right):

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Needless to say, I was pretty excited to find this Bird and Moon depiction of bog myth vs. fact. For anyone that asks me in the future if I worked in a swamp, I will be sending them this cartoon! With respect to teaching, Bird and Moon is an excellent source of science and nature cartoons/comics that are both educational and fun for the students (and teachers!) to read. They could be used to introduce a lesson, spark interest in a topic, or even prompt a creative writing activity… Just try not to get too bogged down by the plethora of choices !

bogs myths vs fact

Image source: Bird and Moon science and nature cartoons.

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