You no longer need a tour guide to lead you through the Baker Wetlands.
Wetlands visitors who enter though the north gate on 31st Street will find new brochures to use on a self-guided tour along the Boardwalk to Nature.
``The whole idea is to let people go there on their own to learn something about how wetlands function,'' said Roger Boyd, a Baker University biologist who is in charge of wetlands management.
The brochures, which became available this month and are displayed on an informational kiosk near the gate, were produced through a grant from the Merck Company Trust Fund.
The 573-acre Baker Wetlands is on the south side of 31st Street between Louisiana Street and Haskell Avenue. The Baker Wetlands and Haskell Wetlands, which comprises another 60 acres or so, are bisected by 31st Street.
The tour brochure guides visitors along a quarter-mile boardwalk and describes plant and animal life at 21 marked locations along the trail. The boardwalk, which extends out over the wetlands and incorporates the levee, was built by area Boy Scouts.
The brochure also gives visitors instructions on how best to observe wildlife, whether it's to lie down on the boardwalk and look closely for a fairy shrimp to swim by or to sit quietly and listen for bird calls.
Visitors will see a different wetlands when seasons change, which makes the tour worth repeating, Boyd said. Not only will water levels rise and fall but plants and some animals, particularly birds, also come and go.
``There are more amphibians right now,'' he said.