On August 29th, we partnered with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority to send our newest arrivals on their way into the wild. Throughout the afternoon, forty Painted turtle hatchlings were released at Morrison Dam Conservation Area. We had an incredible turnout of approximately 1500 people! A huge thank you to all who attended!
All released turtles originated from eggs laid at Morrison Dam Conservation Area in June. The nests were laid in locations where the eggs or hatchlings were unlikely to survive, so with appropriate permits, all recovered eggs were incubated by the HSC, and the turtles were hatched in captivity. Just days after hatching, the turtles were ready for release! People of all ages had the opportunity to see young painted turtles up-close and learn about turtle conservation.
We were lucky to be joined by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, Scales Nature Park, Pinery Provincial Park, Huron County Library (Exeter Branch), Green Goderich, Hullett Marsh, and the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation. Scales Nature Park attended with several captive species of turtles. Visitors could also enjoy a turtle-themed story along the McNaughton trail, a geocaching activity, and hands-on educational displays. Cupcakes, t-shirts, and other merchandise were also a bit hit!
We had a great time running the event, and hope all who attended had a great time and learned more about reptiles, the environment, and conservation. We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our our partners, and to everyone who attended. We greatly appreciate your support!
Unfortunately, all of Ontario’s eight turtle species are now listed as species-at-risk. If you would like to donate to support the protection and conservation of Ontario’s native turtles, please visit the OTCC’s website. With a minimum $20 donation, the OTCC will issue a charitable tax receipt. You can also become an OTCC member, and your membership fees will directly benefit operation of the turtle hospital.
Just a friendly reminder that without appropriate permits, you should not disturb a natural turtle nest or handle wildlife. If you have turtles nesting on your property and would like to give the hatchlings a better chance of survival, you can build a nest cage to protect the eggs from predators. Instructions for building a turtle nest protector can be found here.
All-in-all, it was a wonderful day to learn about conservation, celebrate a new generation of turtles, and explore the Morrison Dam Conservation Area. We hope to see you again next year!
All photos by D. McCowan https://www.darlenemccowan.com/