I can see the Wilson Wetlands Trail from my deck. I walk or ride my bike along the wetlands boardwalk between Hungry Jacks and Owen-Bircher Park several times a week. I’ve experienced the wetlands in all seasons ever since Dodie and ‘Stearnie’ Stearns donated it to the Land Trust in 1995.

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One of the most accessible of the Land Trust locations, it’s a diamond hidden in plain sight of bustling downtown Wilson. Tucked into the lush grasses and willows is a diverse wetlands ecosystem including a creek fed by Edmiston Spring located to the south of Dick May’s welding shop.

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Anxious to get started on my View22 piece, this morning I got an early start as I needed shadows to help define the complex landscape of the wetlands. I carried my gouache paints and other supplies on my bike and in my backpack.

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Painting the Wetlands Trail is an exercise in “green.” Could it be possible every green in the universe appears in the Wetland Trails? It seems like it. I was happy with my first color study but I concede it’s going to be a challenge to capture the essence of the wetlands. Luckily it’s right in my backyard.

– Diane Benefiel