Turtle Guardians is about Prevention
Biologists working with kids and communities to advance turtle recovery and reduce threats to our shelled friends
We focus on pragmatic solutions to help populations
We patrol roads and monitor wetlands, taking measurements and sexing turtles we encounter, and using search effort to estimate population trends. We map hotspots for road-mortality and use this information to inform mitigation solutions. We map and characterize wetlands within watersheds, and work with willing municipalities to enact bylaws and customize municipal planning solutions.
Under authorized wildlife permits, we excavate, incubate and then release hatchlings back to nest sites. We are balancing the odds to support dwindling populations. Nests that are excavated are where increased predations rates and road mortality are threatening populations. Turtle Guardians is currently the third largest incubator in Ontario.
We train volunteers, chapter leaders and area captains across eastern North America, providing them with important background knowledge on turtle biology and behavior, so that they can understand issues, gather data and also lead changes that improve conditions for turtle conservation- at all critical life stages.
We inventory, monitor and map features of wetlands to estimate their value and functions, and prioritize sites for conservation. Whether a turtle hibernation site or critical fish nursery, wetlands are essential to our future health and wellbeing and to wildlife. We work to design policies that identify opportunities to conserve wetlands while addressing human needs.
Using data from staff and volunteers, we outline areas of high mortality and work with road departments to pilot turtle tunnel (ecopassage) models, install billboards and crossing signs and wildlife zone signage, and we recruit and assign "crossing guards" to areas where new infrastructure is not possible.
We create and deliver curriculums for elementary school children and schools; we provide interpretive tours and talks; and we run camps and workshops for kids and adults too! Turtles are fascinating, inspiring and essential allies in a living world, that functions to benefit us. However, turtles are not straightforward; they are mysterious, miraculous and unique. Learning about turtles helps us protect them, balance our footprints, and find viable solutions.