Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

What can you do to help turtles?

Drive Carefully, it is Turtle Time in Lanark County

Be a good citizen scientist. Report your sightings to the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas.

The Midland Painted Turtle was recently listed as an at risk species STATUS: SPECIAL CONCERN. According to Ontario Nature: “Reptiles, including painted turtles, account for a large portion of the animals killed on Ontario’s roadways each year. Nesting females are particularly vulnerable to road mortality because they lay their eggs in the soft roadside shoulders. Add to that the historical loss of more than 70 percent of southern Ontario’s wetlands and it is not hard to see why the midland painted turtle is now at risk.”

Of the 8 species of turtle native to Ontario, only 6 species are found in our area of Eastern Ontario, and of these, all are now listed by COSEWIC as at risk species, as are all of Ontario’s turtle species.

Recommended on-line resource for more details and photos for these species: Species Guide – Toronto Zoo

1. Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina): STATUS: SPECIAL CONCERN Click here for more information about the Snapping Turtle

2. Eastern Musk Turtle aka Stinkpot turtle (Sternotherus odorata): STATUS:  SPECIAL CONCERN Click here for more information about the Eastern Musk or Stinkpot Turtle

3. Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica): STATUS:  SPECIAL CONCERN Click here for more information about the Northern Map Turtle

4. Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata) Turtle STATUS: SPECIAL CONCERN Click here for more information about the Midland Painted turtle 

5. Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) : STATUS: THREATENED Click here for more information about the Blanding’s Turtle

6. Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) : STATUS: ENDANGERED Click here for more information about the Spotted Turtle

 

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New Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App

There is an urgent need for volunteer citizen scientists of all levels to submit sightings of all reptile and amphibian species, not just the rare ones.

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“The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas is a citizen-science project that tracks distributions and spatial trends of reptiles and amphibians across the province over time. The over-arching goal is to increase the collective knowledge base of reptiles and amphibians. Equally important, however, is the engagement of non-scientists of all ages and abilities, in all parts of the province, in nature study and conservation.

Reptiles and amphibians are experiencing global declines of 20 and 40 percent respectively. In Ontario, 75 percent of reptiles and 35 percent of amphibians are listed as nationally and provincially at-risk.”

It is very helpful to report sightings:

We need volunteer citizen scientists of all levels to submit sightings of all reptile and amphibian species, not just the rare ones. Just in time for spring, we’re proud to announce the launch of our updated Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App!

The new App!

There are several new features, including a field guide for the 48 species of reptiles and amphibians found in Ontario with colour photos, descriptions and calls that can be used to help you identify your sightings. If you have the previous version of the app, make sure to download the updated version to access all the new features! This project is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, and the Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Program. All illustrations provided are courtesy of the Toronto Zoo. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

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Ontario Nature Network News, April 2014

Do you hear frogs calling in your backyard? If so, we need your help. The Back Yard Frog program aims to track the location of Ontario’s frogs and toads through observations submitted by citizen scientists like you. With this information, we can detect changes in population numbers, distribution and calling dates.

We can also use it to develop range maps for the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas and to estimate the total population for each species across the province.

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To learn more about how you can help, click here to reach the Ontario Nature page.

 

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