Become a Community Scientist!
All 8 of Ontario's turtles are at risk of disappearing.
Through Turtle Guardians, you can volunteer to help save Ontario's turtles! Our Community Science programs allow you to:
Gain skills and confidence helping and handling turtles
Learn about turtle biology
Spend time outside and connect with nature
Work with other turtle lovers
and SO much more!
Anyone can be a scientist. Community Science is scientific work carried out by volunteer members of the community - like you! Community Science volunteers work with Turtle Guardians Staff to monitor areas where we are not able to be. We have a number of different programs available. Volunteering is possible at any age and from anywhere in Ontario and beyond. Community Science programs run from May until October. You can volunteer anytime and commit as much or as little time as you'd like - it’s up to you! All training is provided for free so you don't need any previous experience to get involved. Learn more about Turtle Guardians volunteer opportunities below.
This summer, our greatest need for volunteers falls under our Nest Sitters program.
Turtle nesting season is from the end of May to July, depending on seasonal temperatures. During this time female turtles are actively laying their eggs - a laborious process that can take hours from start to end. Often female turtles have annual nesting sites that are on road shoulders that are both dangerous for the adults, nests, and hatchlings.
For this reason, Turtle Guardians has developed the Nest Sitters program. Under the Nest Sitters program, volunteers sit with female turtles who are nesting in a "high risk" area until a member of the Turtle Guardians staff can come to excavate the eggs and safely bring them to our headquarters to be incubated.
Your role helps keep female turtles safe and also ensures that the nesting site is easy for Turtle Guardians staff to find and protect. This program is suitable for all ages in active areas.
Road Researchers monitor a portion of a road for turtles. They help turtles cross the road safely, ensure injured turtles get the medical care they need, call in nesting turtles to our staff, and collect valuable data about turtles that helps us choose turtle tunnel sites, crossing sign areas, and more!
Becoming a Community Science Volunteer requires only a bit of time and a computer.
We provide all the training you need to get on the road and save turtles in three simple steps!
Register for a Program.
Complete our online registration form, where you'll provide basic details about yourself and the programs you's like to participate in. You will also select a training method. You have the option to attend a live training webinar on zoom, or to work through training materials on your own. All programs have some mandatory self-guided materials to go through, regardless of the training method.
Complete your online training.
Attend a live virtual training workshop and/or complete your self-guided training. All programs have some mandatory online training portions. All of our self-guided training materials are offered through easy-to-use, interactive modules! It will take you about 2 hours to complete all your training. You do not need to complete all of your training in one sitting.
Once you have completed your training, you can get outside and start helping turtles!
Ready to help save Ontario's turtles?
Get started by completing the registration form below, and don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have:
(705) 457-1222 and citizenscienceTLB@gmail.com
Hear what existing volunteers have to say!
The Green Herons Road Research Team in St. Catharines tell us about their volunteer experience last summer!
Wetland Watcher Carol tells us about all the wildlife she saw while monitoring a wetland last summer!
"As someone passionate about turtle conservation, I found volunteering with Turtle Guardians to be a really exciting and rewarding way to make a difference and to get outside while I'm at it! Being from Sudbury, a memory I will hold close was travelling to Halliburton and finally meeting other volunteers as well as some scaly and shelled friends at the volunteer appreciation event."
- Michaela, Road Researcher
"Volunteering with Turtle Guardians as a Road Researcher for the past few years has been a very valuable lesson in better understanding how important turtles are and how they fit into the broader ecosystem. Working with turtles also provides perspective from the turtle’s point of view on how vulnerable they are on our roads. It’s a really good feeling helping a turtle safely cross the road, and educating and bringing awareness to the greater public through Turtle Guardians is a very positive experience."
- Toby, Road Researcher
"Last Summer was my first year volunteering as a Turtle Guardian with The Land Between Charity. I participated in their Road Researcher program as well as being a Nest Sitter. I have never felt so lucky to be apart of something so beautiful. I sat with countless Snapping Turtle Mothers as they buried their eggs and almost always assisted them across the busy roadway afterwards. The training provided was both fun and exciting, I have gained a considerable amount of knowledge and hands on experience. Being able to visit the many different turtle species at their office location is absolutely incredible."
- Leah, Nest Sitter and Road Researcher
Sue, a Crossing Guard volunteer, holds a Painted Turtle Hatchling she helped across the road on one of her shifts.