“All eight turtle species in Ontario are at risk,” said Julia Garro, while painting turtles on kids’ cheeks at Bon Echo Provincial Park Saturday. “And three of those species are here in the park — Blanding’s, snapping and midland painted turtles.”
Garro, who’s on the board of the Friends of Bon Echo, was one of the organizers of TurtleFest, one of two events this year designed to raise awareness of the plight of the shelled reptilians. “Last year, we did the five-lined skink.”
“There are lots of things people can do to help turtles, like making covers to protect nests,” she said.
There were also lots of games and activities to promote such things such as a coloring contest and turtle-tac-toe, a game where predators are much more numerous than turtles illustrating the dangers eggs and hatchlings face.
“A lot of turtles in Ontario get taken by poachers,” she said. “And only about seven of 10,000 snapping turtle eggs make it to maturity.”
A highlight of Turtlefest was a presentation from the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, which sprung from the Kids-4-Turtles program in Peterborough County, who also provided posters featuring numerous facts about Ontario’s turtles.