Did you know that the OTCC monitors turtles in natural habitats? It’s true! On top of the work we do in turtle rehabilitation and education, for the last several years we’ve been sending a crew of technicians into some of Ontario’s wetlands for the summer. This is part of a study comparing the health and habits of two groups of turtles: one group are turtles that were hatched and partially reared at the Centre before being released (called “headstarts”), and the other group are wild turtles. The study mainly focuses on Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) and involves tracking a set of approximately 30 individual turtles, some from both the headstart and wild groups. Our field team uses radio telemetry to follow these turtles as they move within and between wetlands, and then they take measurements of each turtle’s size and mass, as well as takes notes about what type of habitat the turtle is found in, and how it’s using that habitat. Over time, this information will paint a picture as to how the turtles that we rear at the OTCC fare in the wild compared to their fully-wild counterparts. This information will help us to ensure that we are having the largest positive impact on Ontario’s turtle populations through our Headstart Program, and it will also be informative for others who are focused on turtle conservation, both in Canada and beyond!                                                                                                                                                                  –Jesse Jarvis

Toby – Team Lead

“I’ve been Interested in animals and the outdoors ever since I can remember and from the time I knew that you could work ‘in the field’ then that’s what I’ve wanted to do. While growing up in Wales I would often spend my days hiking in the mountains and since having moved to Canada that has developed into hiking, camping, and kayaking around whenever I get the chance. My passion for wildlife and conservation has not diminished, and if anything, has grown as I find out more about it. A big part of what I do on a daily basis is to take a Nature-Photo-a-Day which ensures that I get outside each day even when I am not working ‘in the field’ and also allows me to share the natural world with other people.”


“My name is Kirsten, I have obtained an Environmental Studies degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and am currently obtaining an Environmental Technician diploma from Fleming College. I have had the opportunity of volunteering in Thailand on the Thailand Coastal Marine Expedition with an organization called Global Vision International. While I was there, I was able to volunteer at two turtle conservation centres with animal husbandry and tank maintenance. I am an environmental enthusiast and have a strong passion for wildlife conservation.”


“I just completed my second year of an Environmental Science degree at Trent University, and am looking forward to spending the summer as a Field Technician with the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre. While at Trent last fall I volunteered with the Centre as a Turtle Care Volunteer and found the experience to be incredibly rewarding. Looking forward to this summer, I’m excited about bringing together my past volunteer and work experiences in environmental conservation with my passions for backcountry canoeing and camping. I’m also interested in nature photography and can’t wait to spend the summer in the field.”


“Hello nature enthusiast! I am a new field technician at the OTCC. This spring I completed my fourth year of my undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph where I studied marine and freshwater biology. Through this program I was able to meet some amazing scientists and participate in many incredible research opportunities. Last summer I was lucky enough to join a small team of students on a field course in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, where we got to work up close and personal with many aquatic organisms. My passion and admiration for animals led me to this field of study, and I’m quickly learning to enjoy every aspect of field work. I’m very excited to work with the turtles and the OTCC this field season!”


“I’m currently loving learning about everything that inhabits the ocean while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Having worked as the Rehabilitation Coordinator for a summer at the Ontario Turtle Centre back in 2010, I’m very excited to return to the lakes and wetlands of Ontario and work with the turtles that inhabit them.”