LANCASTER — The Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) is gearing up to enhance turtle habitat at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area thanks to a grant recently awarded by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (FEF).
Owned and managed by the RRCA, Cooper Marsh is one of Ontario’s most significant wetlands located on the north shore of Lake St. Francis along County Road #2 in South Lancaster. It is home to hundreds of turtles, including Painted and Snapping turtles and rarer species like Blanding’s turtles. The RRCA will enhance turtle habitat at Cooper Marsh with TD FEF’s $7,940 grant by creating and installing new turtle basking platforms, interpretive signage and creating other outreach material to help visitors spot and identify these creatures.
“Turtles are ectothermic – meaning they are cold-blooded and cannot generate their own body heat. They warm themselves by basking in the sun on logs and rocks,” says RRCA Communications Specialist, Lisa Van De Ligt. “By adding wood basking platforms at Cooper Marsh, we are providing turtles with additional basking opportunities. These platforms will also enhance visitor experience as they will be strategically placed in open areas for the public to easily spot the turtles.”
The funding will also support the development of a turtle workshop kit to be used at the Cooper Marsh Visitor Centre and can also be taken on the road to events and classrooms.
“TD FEF is proud to support organizations like the RRCA who are working towards a sustainable tomorrow by enhancing greenspaces and natural areas in our local community. We look forward to visiting the Marsh again next year to see the turtle habitat enhancements and new outreach material,” says Shari King, TD Canada Trust Branch Manager.
The RRCA owns and manages 665 ha (1,644 acres) of public greenspace in Cornwall and the surrounding area of SDG consisting of 25 km of trails, campsites, marina, boat launches, beach, picnic areas, geocaching, and interpretive centre for the community to enjoy. Many RRCA properties have been acquired through donation. Consider leaving a natural legacy and donating your land to the RRCA as an Eco Gift.