Children help Enviro Centre in Sundridge protect turtles

·3 min read

It’s been a busy summer for children enrolled in the Community Adventure Program at the Near North Enviro Education Centre (NNEEC) in Sundridge.

One of the activities the children have been taking part in is the turtle conservation program.

Abby Flynn, the NNEEC’s Environmental Program Development Supervisor, teaches the youngsters about how they can help the turtle population which is a species at risk.

“There’s not much we can do to help them breed,” Flynn said.

“But I’m teaching the kids about how we can help them survive and one way is building turtle nest protectors.”

Flynn says the nest protector is a small wooden box frame with a mesh covering on top and small holes on the sides.

“Once the momma turtle lays its eggs and leaves we go to that location and put a nest over it to protect the eggs,” Flynn said.

“The nest protects the eggs from natural predators like raccoons and birds.”

Flynn says the turtle eggs are left in the wild and the children and NNEEC have done all they can to protect the eggs so that they can safely hatch.

Flynn says the children have made several nest protectors at the NNEEC this summer.

She says the NNEEC relies on the public to help locate where the eggs are being laid.

“So if someone sees a turtle making a nest, they send us a picture of the location and we can head out and put a nest on the site,” Flynn said.

Flynn says the holes on the side of the nest are too small for predators to pass through but large enough for the young turtle to walk through once they are born and “leave to find a new home.”

The nest protector program is relatively new at the NNEEC and is in its second summer.

Flynn says pictures the public take of turtles can be emailed to her at info@nneec.ca and the education centre staff will take care of the rest once the pictures arrive.

Flynn says Ontario is home to eight turtle species and they are all at risk.

In the Almaguin area people can find mostly painted, snapping and blanding turtles.

In the past, the NNEEC has brought up officials from the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre in Peterborough to talk and increase public awareness about turtles and the need to help them survive.

“We’ve tried to spread as much knowledge in the community as possible so we can help the turtles,” she said.

“But you don’t go out looking for them. You just happen to see them.”

Flynn says the NNEEC provides the public with turtle guides so that in the event they come across a turtle in the wild they can tell the NNEEC about it, where they saw it, what species it was and maybe if they’re lucky, snap a picture they can share with the centre.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget

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