Thank you for thinking about turtles!
Crossing Guards commit to monitor one site for at least one shift (2 hours) a week. Crossing Guards look after one to three crossing sites by walking the area. They assist turtles in trouble, in high mortality zones, saving essential species in our communities while building skills to help turtles everywhere! Training, including turtle ecology, safety protocols, identification, and safe-handling skills will be provided to volunteers.
It can take up to 60 years for one turtle to be replaced in nature. Turtles are keystone species that support entire ecosystems- and also the fish and wildlife within them. Turtles cannot be relocated to new areas to repopulate areas as they imprint their home ranges when they are hatchlings and they cannot remake these "mind maps" of their feeding, hibernation and mating sites. When turtles travel in their home ranges, the younger turtles are eating carrion and other protein which helps to keep water free of harmful pathogens, and the older turtles are consuming seeds and vegetation, so as they walk to the next destination, they spread seeds which grow into new fish nurseries and habitats for wildlife. Without turtles in our environments, our health and wellbeing are at risk. Turtle populations are declining at unprecedented and unsustainable rates- It is estimated that more than 50% of turtles have been lost in Ontario already. The major threat to turtles is road traffic and resulting injury or mortality.
You can be a crossing guard in any municipality on any road of your choice, but this summer we are partnering with Peterborough and Haliburton County Road Departments to enable volunteers to monitor high mortality/road-crossing areas with approvals and where turtle such as Grace cross!