Thank you for your interest in helping our oldest relatives!
Nest Sitters play the very important role of protecting our momma turtles while they are searching for a place to nest and laying their eggs. This is an extremely vulnerable time for turtles because they will often cross the road several times looking for the perfect spot to lay their eggs. In addition, once the females start laying their eggs, they can't stop! As a Nest Sitter you will spot nesting momma's and be their guardian angels. You will set up your watching station at a safe location a good distance away from a nesting momma (we dont want to scare her), and wait for the momma to finish laying. It is common for turtles to spend a significant amount of time searching for the perfect time to nest, so if she tries to cross the road, you will make sure that she is able to do it safetly! Once she has selected a location and finished laying her eggs you will report nest location and help her cross the road if needed!
Nest sitters are essential to the health of turtle populations. In urban, semi-urban and even exurban (rural) areas, turtle nests experience higher rates of predation because of raccoons, foxes, skunks and other animals that take advantage of human occupation. This is called subsidized nest predation. Therefore, almost all nests and eggs laid in these areas are at risk. By reporting the nests you find in these at-risk areas you are helping to save baby turtles!
Thank you for all your time and dedication to helping Ontario's turtles! With your efforts this spring and summer, you will help us collect valuable data about Ontario turtle species that are rapidly declining. You will also help turtles cross roads safely, protect nesting turtles and their nests, and ensure injured turtles get the medical care they need. Below are the steps you must complete in order to join our Nest Sitters Team. Please ensure that you complete each of the steps before going our into the feild.
Step 1: Register to volunteer
Please click the button below and complete the registration form.
Step 2: Sign up for a live workshop
Our training workshops will provide you with all the information that you need to help turtles! Everyone who wishes to volunteer must fill out the Workshop Sign-Up Form (if you are unable to attend a live session or are a returning volunteer, please select that option on the Workshop Sign-Up Form). The available workshop dates are listed below:
- Wednesday, May 18th at 7:00pm
- Tuesday, May 24th at 7:00pm
- Saturday, May 28th at 1:00pm
- Saturday, June 4th at 10:00am
- Saturday, June 11th at 1:00pm
Those who wish to sign up for pre-recorded session:
Pre-recorded training sessions are available below for people who are unable to make a live workshop; however it is strongly encourage you to attend one because they help to build community and provide you with a chance to ask questions! If you choose to only watch a pre-recorded session you will be required to complete our Nest Sitters Quiz in Step 5. Also, please note: you must still fill out the Workshop Sign-Up Form and indicate that you are unable to make any of the live workshops.
If you are a returning volunteer you are not required to attend another workshop session; however we strongly encourage you to attend one so you can re-familiarize yourself with protocols and our team. Please note: you must still fill out the Workshop Sign-Up Form and indicate that you are a returning volunteer.
Step 3: Re-watch training videos & download the protocols
The Land Between ecotone is extremely important for Southern Ontario's turtles. After attending a live session re-watch our training videos below to study Nest Sitter Protocol and how to build a nest protector. NOTE: If you would like to enlarge the videos click play and then click the square in the bottom right.
If you are unable to attended a live session is it mandatory towatch these recordings (you must then pass the quiz in Step 5).
Nest Sitter Training Video
How to Build a Turtle Nest Protector Video
Turtle ID Training Video
Step 4: Read and download the protocols
After watching the videos, download and read the Nest Sitters Protocol. Interested in learning more about how to identify turtles of The Land Between? Study our Turtle Species document by clicking the button below!
Step 5: Pass the Nest Sitters Quiz
After watching the training videos and reading the protocols complete the Nest Siters Quiz by clicking in the button below. Once you complete the quiz, your results will be sent to our team.
This quiz is mandatory for anyone who was unable to attend a live session.
Step 6: Online Submission Form and Printable Data Sheets
We have an exciting app currently in development, but until then please use our Online Submission Form to report any nests you find!
Online Submission Forms
Step 7: Complete the Safety Training and Safety Quizzes
Safety is of the utmost important at all times. Please make sure that you download and carefully read the Safety Protocol below. After you have completed reading the protocol/watching the videos, complete the quizzes below to confirm your knowledge — you must pass the quiz to join any of our community science teams. Once you have completed the quizzes, our team will be notified.
Road Safety Training Video
Outdoor Hazards Safety Training Video
Nest Sitters Protocols for Volunteers Outside of TLB
The protocol for those of you who are located outside of the Land Between region are slightly different than those who are located within it. Please download and read the documents below if you are located outside of the region.