Turtle Guardian of the Year Award 2018 – Kelly Wallace
The Turtle Guardian of the Year Award recognizes an individual or group within Ontario that has made significant contributions to turtle recovery, including through raising awareness, providing education, or by directly advancing conservation and mitigation.
Kelly Wallace, Think Turtle Conservation Initiative has been chosen as the recipient for the 2018 Award.
Kelly has worked selflessly and tirelessly to raise awareness and educate the public about the need to save our ancient relatives, the turtles. The advances that have been realized because of Kelly’s work, have been remarkable and have effectively changed the paradigm for turtle recovery in Ontario.
Kelly began by prudently learning about the issues and needs facing turtles by consulting with experts and conducting thorough research. She then respectfully and considerately engaged and collaborated with agencies, groups and individuals within the conservation sector to further her cause. With the same care, dedication and determination, Kelly created a credible and solid platform in order to raise awareness and educate the public. From this vantage she works tirelessly with the public to cultivate respect and understanding. Kelly attends local Farmer’s markets, fairs, and events. She nurtures the extensive social media presence she has created. Kelly provides presentations across communities. And she cultivates and maintains the relationships and awareness that she has established through care and consistency always being available and responding to inquiries through email, phone and text.
It is extraordinary that with each effort Kelly undertakes, she does so with humility, thoughtfulness and attention to detail.
Most remarkable is that Kelly strives to reach each person and build a sense of community. She tries to understand the perspectives of each person and to tailor her message and her programs to them. With this view Kelly designed the “Watch 4 Turtles” signs - because she felt strongly that many people desired to help and contribute to wildlife conservation, but may not have the time, resources, or expertise. Therefore, Kelly designed a simple and uniform sign as a statement, which people could easily install on their property, knowing this would allow them to participate in conservation and help raise awareness. People were empowered to become part of the effort and show the world that they care about turtles. The thoughtfulness that Kelly used to create this initiative is what has made it an incredible success. The Watch 4 Turtles signs have raised more awareness for turtles on roads than any government or NGO effort has done previously. The program is so effective that it has gone “viral” and has spread throughout the province, and into other parts of the country. Kelly has humbly and quietly inspired communities, people and children of all ages across Ontario. Her contributions to turtle recovery and wildlife conservation are certain and lasting. She is a model to follow.
It is with great respect, appreciation and gratitude that the Turtle Guardians Program recognizes and presents Kelly Wallace with the Turtle Guardian Award of 2018.