Turtle Walks have been held since 2018- after The Land Between charity and Turtle Guardians (the charity program) declared a turtle crisis in Ontario, because unprecedented warm and wet weather on weekends meant that there were ten times the amount of turtles killed on roads that counted in any previous year for ten years! It can take up to 60 years for one turtle to replace itself in nature, and therefore, these numbers were devastating.
Each year the walk attracts kids, families, and nature-lovers who dress in turtley cool costumes, make and hold up creative turtle conservation signs, and who walk down main streets in turtle country (Ontario’s Highlands also known as The Land Between). The walks are held during the peak nesting season for freshwater turtles in Eastern North America which falls between the end of May to mid June. It is at this time that more turtles, and mostly female turtles, are crossing roads, on road shoulders and are vulnerable to road traffic. Walkers raise pledges and the funds support the Turtle Guardians T-5 Campaign- a prevention and cure initiative to install turtle underpasses/tunnels, signs, and to support local wildlife rehabilitation centres including sending funds to the Ontario Turtle Trauma Centre.
In 2020 the walk was altered for COVID-19 and people walked in their own neighborhoods or stood on their lawns to warn vehicles that turtles were on roads. This year people will also be walking in their communities to show they care. They will be raising pledges for each mile/kilometre that they walk or donations overall, and they will track their steps using smart apps and technology. Walkers also take pictures to share with us, and have them posted in our annual walk albums and on social media. However, in 2021, all pledges will be directed to support charities and nonprofits in Texas, to help them care for the sea turtles that have been debilitated by cold water temperatures, until they can be released back to the ocean when tides are warmer.
You can register for a 2022 Turtle Walk here (below) to let us know that you are walking for turtles, and then we can send you your sticker and certificate! If you do, we thank you for helping our turtle friends!