Deborah J. Wilcox graduated with a BSc in Biology from Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick and followed in our mother's footsteps by becoming a flight attendant for Canadian Pacific Airlines. In the 90's, she "befriended" a large snapping turtle she called "ET" at our cottage in the Haliburton Highlands. ET usually swam over to visit when Deb and her brother Chris, were swimming in the lake. For decades, ET laid her eggs in the same spot in front of our cottage. Deb kept watch over the nest site each year. This past June we had two females nesting for the first time.
Deb passed away this year. We are saddened at the loss of a friend, but we are truly grateful for her generous spirit and the legacy to help save turtles. Southern Ontario has less than 30% of natural wetlands left since settlement. Ontario has also lost more than 60% of their turtles. Meanwhile, it takes 60 years to replace one turtle once in nature.
Turtles are inspirational, touching on the mystery of Creation as they graced the earth before the dinosaurs having survived five mass extinctions. Turtles are cornerstones of healthy waters and wetlands, which benefit other wildlife and ultimately human health and wellbeing.
A gift of $10,000 was delivered to Turtle Guardians in the name of Deborah, to help save those that were here before us - those without a voice - those whose spirit uplifts, and whose souls work to benefit us- Deb's gift will help the terrapins in the hopes that they are here to support generations to come.
Deborah's gift will be used to help Turtle Guardians work to install three more turtle tunnels in the Highlands, introduce alternative nesting mounds to keep more endangered turtle species off road shoulders, to gift children-in-need with summer camp experiences, and to train countless volunteers to become leaders that share their knowledge and skills with others and who also conserve wildlife in their neighborhoods. To honor Deborah, the first barrel ecopassage system in Gooderham will be named after her.
Thank you Deborah. May you look down upon us with pride.