Without question, Kids 4 Turtles is the inspiration for the formation of the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre. This group of young conservationists, ages 3-10, raised almost $5,000 to purchase turtle crossing signs.

A homemade sign was destroyed by vandals and this infuriated the passionate environmentalists. They decided to raise money to erect a steel road sign and Kids 4 Turtles was formed. They were given the sign design by a group in Ottawa called Turtle SHELL Tortue. At a Cavan-Millbrook-North Monaghan Council meeting in the summer of 2000, the kids received permission to erect signs in the township, and the council was so impressed with the youngsters that they gave them their first donation of $500. A hike-a-thon, lucky draw, bake sale, barbeque, and private donations raised the rest of the money. The kids ran the show – they wrote letters asking for donations for the draw, picked the berries to make jam, and found sponsors for their hike. The most difficult task was keeping adults out of the way so these kids could do their thing for Peterborough County! The children attended a preschool/summer camp adjacent to a wetland, and they were concerned about turtles being run over when they crossed roads in search of a nesting site.

With such an enthusiastic response from the local community, the children decided to approach the Peterborough County Council for permission to erect signs throughout the county. Eight children, ranging in age from 3-10 years, represented Kids 4 Turtles at a council meeting and read speeches they had written themselves. The councilors melted at the sight of child after child approaching the podium to shyly speak into the microphone, and voted unanimously to allow the signs to be placed. For their efforts, the children received an award from the County and from the Ontario Heritage Foundation for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation and Conservation, and a Silver Salamander Award from the Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network. They show us all that with hard work and determination, we can all make our world a better place!

Read more about Kids 4 Turtles in this 2002 edition of Amphibian Voices