It’s that time of year again when turtles are on the move! As turtles travel between habitats, they will be found attempting to cross the road. To help our slow-moving friends, it is extra important that we watch for turtles while driving. This season on Skerryvore Community Road, the Georgian Bay Biosphere and Shawanaga First Nation will be continuing our road ecology study. You will find us biking, walking, or driving to record any turtles and snakes on the road. We will be moving slowly and frequently stopping to collect data and ensure they cross the road safely.       

Starting in June, female turtles will frequently be found on roads or nesting on road shoulders. With road construction continuing on Skerryvore Road in the Township of the Archipelago, and nesting season fast approaching, we will be collecting the eggs of every turtle that nests on the road shoulder. This year we are thankful to work with an amazing crew from Fowler’s Construction to help us locate turtles crossing the road or nesting on the road shoulder. With their help, we will incubate any turtle eggs that could be negatively affected by the construction and release the hatchlings back into the wetlands in the fall. If you are interested in being a part of the hatching release, keep a lookout for more information from GBB in August, follow us on social media or visit gbbr.ca.

Jenna with a Snapping turtle hatchling found during a bike survey of Skerryvore Community Road. Photo Credits: Erica Fellin 

What’s new this season? 

This season, Jenna, a Master’s Student researching turtles and road ecology from Laurentian University, has joined us to study the Skerryvore turtle community. You will see her in the wetlands and on the roads searching for turtles. For every turtle found, Jenna will be giving it a unique ID code to identify if, or when, we see the turtle again. If you find a turtle with a number on it, be sure to let us know the number and its location! You can send the information and any photos via email to Jenna Kentel. This information will help us investigate the turtle population and how we can help protect them from the road. 

How can you help?  

If you are travelling on Skerryvore Community Road, we can use your help! Any turtle or snake sightings on the road can be recorded using the free app iNaturalist and shared to the Georgian Bay Biosphere project. This information will help us to identify areas on the road where turtles and snakes need protection. Also, remember to stop and help wildlife cross the road when it is safe for you to do so. Keep a special lookout for turtle hatchlings and small snake species. They can look like small sticks or rocks and can be very tricky to see. Learn more about how to safely help turtles cross the road.

Feel free to stop and say hi when you see us on the road! We look forward to sharing our research and love of wildlife with you.

Learn more about the Skerryvore Community Road project as part of the Community Nominated Priority Places Project, and join iNaturalist to submit species observations throughout the Biosphere.

Snapping Turtle hatchling crossing Skerryvore Community Road. Photo credits: Erica Fellin