Wetlands are areas of land flooded by water at some point during the year, either permanently or seasonally. These ecosystems offer many benefits including pollution filtration, flood reduction and wildlife habitat creation. Create your own wetland in a bottle and observe how it absorbs and cleans water!

Materials needed

  • 1 2-liter bottle with bottom cut off 
  • 2 jars (1 empty and 1 with dirty water)
  • Large rocks
  • Small rocks
  • Wet dirt 
  • Sand


Flip your 2-liter bottle upside down with the cap off

Place large rocks at the bottom of the bottle
Layer in small rocks, sand and wet dirt

Place the empty jar under the wetland in a bottle


Pour dirty water into the top of your wetland


Did the water come out cleaner than it went in? You should notice that the sediment layers start to absorb the water. The wetland in a bottle starts to filter out pollution until the water becomes clearer. The more you run water through the wetland in a bottle, the clearer it gets. Natural wetlands work the same way! 

Congrats– you’ve created your very own natural filter! 


This blog post was written by Lower River Steward Libby Bieri and published April 2023.

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