The following is a summary of the education initiatives, awareness raising, fundraising and species recovery efforts we were engaged in during 2020.
FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE
DATES: January - February 2020
DETAILS: Think Turtle participated in the 'Fridays For Future' climate strike in Bancroft to raise awareness. The weekly climate strike was introduced into the community by 9-year old Climate Activist, Brynn Kilpatrick after being inspired by Greta Thunberg who started the movement globally.
NOTE: The impact climate change has on turtles increases every year and presents future concerns as turtles gender is temperature-dependent. The shift to warmer temperatures during the incubation period could produce more females and in time throw the ratio of male to female turtles out of balance and cause demographic collapse.
MAYNOOTH WINTER MARKET
DATE: February 8, 2020
DETAILS: Just before the coronavirus set in Think Turtle set-up at the winter market to answer turtle related questions, speak with people about why the Ontario turtles need our help, how we can each help the turtles and the resources available to do so.
BUTTER TART FESTIVAL
DATE: February 29, 2020
DETAILS: Think Turtle participated in the 1st Annual Maynooth Butter Tart Festival organized by Christine Hass & Tracy Hagar. We had a variety of turtle themed tarts kindly baked and donated by some of the areas finest bakers. The tarts were well received, a favorite being the maple bacon tarts that sold out. It was a very successful day celebrating Canada's most recognizable and iconic dessert.
FUNDS RAISED: $542.50 through turtle themed tart sales: 25% of the sales were donated to the Ontario Ontario Conservation Centre, and 75% is to go towards 'Project Safe Passage'.
PROJECT SAFE PASSAGE
DATES: February - December 2020
DETAILS: Launched in February 'Project Safe Passage' is a new Think Turtle initiative to raise funds to help offset the costs of exclusion barrier installation as a proven mitigation measure at road mortality hot spots in the Bancroft/Maynooth area as arranged by The Land Between with jurisdiction approval. The number of hot spots addressed and feasibility will be contingent on hot spot locations meeting the criteria to act as a mitigation site, funds raised, sponsorship secured and jurisdiction approval. The pandemic effected this initiative moving forward but it continues to receive small donations.
FUNDS RAISED: $736.87 to be donated to The Land Between when the installation of a mitigation site is approved and scheduled to move forward.
SUPER GLUE CHALLENGE
DATES: April 16 - May 7, 2020
DETAILS: With not being able to host the Bancroft Turtle Festival and organize the supply donation as we usually do, Think Turtle organized an online 'Rock Painting Contest' and 'Super Glue Challenge' to help injured turtles admitted to the OTCC. Several options were available to contribute to the goal of raising enough funds to purchase '72' bottles of Lepage Ultra Gel Super Glue used in the treatment process for turtles admitted to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre that have shell injuries.
FUNDS RAISED: $521.26 for purchasing 'Super Glue'. Home Hardware gave us a generous discount. $357.35 went towards purchasing 72 tubes of super glue the remaining $163.91 were donated to the Ontario Ontario Conservation Centre.
DATES: May - August 2020
DETAILS: Think Turtle teamed up with talented sewer, T. Woodrow to make a number of non-medical turtle themed covid masks available by donation via the North Hastings Community Cupboard (NHCC) to support front line workers. With receipt of donation a mask was mailed to the contributor.
FUNDS RAISED: $346.93 were donated to the NHCC by contributors. Think Turtle donated 56 masks on 14/08/2020 to Vintage on Hastings "Mask To School" Project.
WORLD TURTLE DAY (ROCK PAINTING)
DATES: May 8 - 23, 2020
DETAILS: Think Turtle organized and hosted an online 'Rock Painting Contest' to celebrate turtles and to spread word that it is the time of year we need to 'WATCH 4 TURTLES' and help them in the ways we are permitted to when they are in need of assistance. This was a very well received and shared event that attracted adults and youth of all ages. It was great fun and the painted rocks and other turtle art submissions we received were inspiring. A panel of judges selected their favorite rocks and art submissions in adult and youth categories and each winner was mailed a $25 Mastercard or Visa gift card.
COLLAGE ROCK CONTEST
DATES: May 30 - June 14, 2020
DETAILS: Think Turtle organized and hosted an online 'Collage Rock Contest' and helping turtles challenge to raise funds for much needed supplies. The collage rock theme only inspired one submission. We sent the participant a $25 Mastercard gift card. People donated funds that went towards purchasing some of the most needed supplies at the time as requested by the OTCC.
FUNDS RAISED: $172.25 in donations went towards purchasing: '5' power bars and '10' extension cords for the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre. A $50 Visa gift card was also given to the OTCC to go towards purchasing supplies.
DATES: October 23 - November 2, 2020
DETAILS: Think Turtle hosted a turtle themed homemade turtle costume with the two favorite costumes selected by a panel of judges. The winners received a choice of Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre merchandise items or other merchandise in the OTCC eshop up to the value of $30 as well as a Watch 4 Turtles bumper sticker supplied by Think Turtle Conservation Initiative. Each contest participant received a Watch 4 Turtles bumper sticker and OTCC I Love Turtles button. These items were mailed after the contest had concluded.
NEST PROTECTION INITIATIVE
DATES: May 15 - October 31, 2020
DETAILS: This year thanks to the support of the Municipality of Hastings Highlands, Town of Bancroft, Faraday Township, Tudor & Cashel Township, Limerick Township and the City of Belleville we expanded our nest protection initiative. In combination with these valued partnerships an 'AMAZING' team of dedicated volunteers and property owners that helped make nest protectors, protect nests, monitor nest sites and release hatchlings. These collaborative efforts made it possible to ensure that over '824' turtle hatchlings got the best possible start to their journey.
WATCH 4 TURTLES SIGNS (WOODEN)
DATES: January - December 2020
DETAILS: Think Turtle along with volunteers continued to make a limited quantity of original wooden Watch 4 Turtles signs. The signs were sold via curbside pick-ups, by request and internet promotion to people locally and in neighboring communities.
FUNDS RAISED: $107.84 (net sales): $53.92 were donated to The Land Between and $53.92 was donated to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre as part of TLB 'Tunnel & Trauma' Campaign.
WATCH 4 TURTLES SIGNS (COROPLAST)
DATES: April -December 2020
DETAILS: Think Turtle launched 'new' shape cut coroplast Watch 4 Turtles signs available single sided and double sided to match our Watch 4 Turtles bumper sticker and integrate with the original handmade wooden Watch 4 Turtles signs. The new signs were sold during turtle season via curbside pick-ups, mail order and internet promotion to people throughout Ontario. In June 2020, Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation purchased 100 of the Watch 4 Turtles signs as part of a Long Point landowner contact program they launched to help raise awareness and prevent wildlife road mortality in their community.
NOTE: By the end of turtle season 2020 there were '1,696' Watch 4 Turtles signs (wooden/coroplast) in total since 2018 installed in communities throughout Ontario as visual cues helping raise awareness and prevent turtle road mortality.
FUNDS RAISED: $1,186.52 (net sales): $593.26 were donated to The Land Between and $593.26 was donated to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre as part of TLB 'Tunnel & Trauma' Campaign.
WATCH 4 TURTLES BUMPER STICKERS
DATES: January - December 2020
DETAILS: Think Turtle sold Watch 4 Turtle bumper stickers via curbside pick-ups, mail order and internet promotion to people locally and in communities throughout Ontario. 80% of the funds from the sale of the bumper stickers will be donated to the The Land Between as part of the 'T5 Campaign' (Turtle care, Teaching, Tracking, Tunnels and Trauma, 20% will go towards Project Safe Passage.
FUNDS RAISED: $210 + $35.17 (2019) to be donated to The Land Between and $53.92. $60 were donated to Project Safe Passage.
TURTLE HATCHLING CROSSING SIGNS
DATES: August - October 2020
DETAILS: With the permission of Town of Bancroft, Faraday Township, Tudor & Cashel Township, Municipality of Hastings Highlands and the City of Belleville Think Turtle designed and paid for temporary 'Turtle Hatchlings Crossing' signs to be installed at concerning locations to raise awareness during August to October.
CRAFTING 4 TURTLES
DATES: August - December 2020
DETAILS: With the pandemic unexpectedly setting in and no public events we continued to encourage using creativity to help the turtles. Under the 'Crafting 4 Turtles' initiative turtle themed arts and crafts including painted and collage rocks made it possible to purchase much needed supplies for the turtle hospital. We received painted rocks and handcrafted items items such as crochet turtles via curbside drop-off to sell when we can. These items are in stock with Think Turtle and will be sold with the funds raised going to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre.
DATES: February - December 2020
DETAILS: Think Turtle helped people locally with all manner of turtle related inquiries throughout turtle season via phone calls, e-mails and Facebook messages from concerned citizens locally and throughout neighboring communities to do with turtle nests, nest protection, injured turtles, illegal turtle activities, hatchlings, road mortality prevention, awareness signage, etc. It is estimated that we were able to assist with over '150' turtle related matters. A service we are happy to provide and grateful that people reached out to us for assistance.
EDUCATION & AWARENESS INITIATIVES
DATES: January - December 2020
DETAILS: Our education and awareness initiatives were ongoing this year. We utilized as many resources as we could in light of the pandemic to continue to spread the word and educate. The number of people following our Think Turtle Conservation Initiative Facebook page and checking in on our WordPress Blog continued to increase.
DATES: May - October 31, 2020
DETAILS: Through connecting with the community and people getting in touch Think Turtle along with people in Bancroft and neighboring communities were able to ensure that '21' injured turtles and/or eggs/hatchlings in distress got to the turtle hospital this turtle season. Some injured turtles that recovered and returned home in the spring were released at their point of origin by OTCC staff.
NOTE: In 2020, '1,097' injured turtles were admitted to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre from across Ontario. 90% were the result of being struck by a motor vehicle.
DATES: January - December 2020
DETAILS: Thanks to a supportive network of radio hosts and reporters locally and throughout Ontario,Think Turtle was able to further efforts to raise awareness, Through interviews with radio (97.7 FM Moose and other stations), articles in local Bancroft newspapers, various publications and newsletters. This collaborative effort was instrumental in sharing information about the perils Ontario turtles face on and off the roads and what we can all do as concerned citizens to help the turtles.
DETAILS: In 2020, Kelly Wallace c/o Think Turtle Conservation Initiative received the 'Richards Education Award' from Ontario Nature for the education initiatives and conservation efforts the group has engaged in since 2018.
Although named as the recipient of the award Kelly stresses that this award is a marked achievement for 'citizen based turtle conservation efforts' and is about far more then her own efforts. It involves a network of Volunteers, Partners, Friends, Supporters, Colleagues and family across Ontario that collectively engage in efforts big and small to help a most vulnerable and iconic species keep it's place in the world. These collective efforts are inspiring and a strong indicator that more and more people understand that protecting the turtles is about safeguarding biodiversity and healthy functioning ecosystems that we all depend on and benefit from during our time and generations to come.
Think Turtle launches new Coroplast double sided 'Watch 4 Turtles' signs. Photo: Chris Cassey