June 30, 2016
By: Megan Miller – Lead Field Technician OTCC
So I landed my summer dream job this year. For the past month I’ve been tracking Blandings turtles for a headstart program with the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (formally known as the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre). I’ve been volunteering with this nonprofit for a number of years but had yet to experience the field work that they do throughout the summer months. Those that had had the opportunity to take part in this project before me had explained the hard work and time required for a successful tracking season, but what they didn’t portray was the sheer beauty and enjoyment I would get out of being in the field. I have had the opportunity to learn the different personalities of each turtle we track and gotten to know their habits. Lindsay; the one who gives chase whenever we approach her. Sue; the one who pokes her head out of the water as if she’s asking “you guys looking for me?”. Annita; the cheeky one, who enjoys swimming around moss beds as we follow her with our antenna.
Although sometimes the work can be daunting, and the weather and bugs unforgiveable, I have grown to love this place. The landscape is picturesque. At first the trees were bare with only a few tellings of warmer seasons, but now the forest is lush with green, and pops of colour here and there are signaling the flowers are beginning to bloom. In the month I have been here I have seen more new birds to add to my lifer list than I have in the many years I have been studying in school. I happened upon my first ever moose, have witnessed some of the biggest fish in the lake mock my coworkers as they try their hand at fishing, and have watched the sun go down on countless perfect days.
I still have three more months out here. We will soon be adding more turtles into the mix to track and the work will become more daunting. However the dreaded flies are beginning to disappear and the days are sunny. With my hopes that next month will be as entertaining as the last, I go out into the bog with my antenna held high.