The importance of conserving and protecting our wetlands was front and centre Tuesday night at an event at the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre in Peterborough.
The event was the first in a series of Turtle Talks that will take place a few times a year at the Conservation Centre. All sessions will aim to give the public an understanding of turtles and the importance they play in the environment.
“Today I’m going to be talking about wetlands in Ontario,” said Conservation Programs Adviser at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Regina Varrin. “So a little bit about the different kinds of wetlands that we have, where they are distributed across the province, and the way that the Ontario government works to conserve them.”
According to Varrin, a wetland is a land seasonally or permanently flooded by shallow water, as well as lands where the water table is close to or at the surface.
Wetlands prevent flood damage, improve water quality, provide valuable economic products and recreational opportunities and give wildlife a home, such as turtles. Eight of Ontario’s turtle species rely on wetlands for their habitat.
“In Ontario we have a lot more wetlands than other areas in Canada do and that’s why we have, part of why we have, the most turtle species here is because we have so much habitat to support them and so part of conserving turtles is conserving their habitat,” said Turtle Programs Manager at the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, Donnell Gasbarrini.
The province recently committed to increasing the area of wetlands in the province by 2030. They hope to educate the public on wetlands through awareness, knowledge, partnership and conservation.
Varrin says that the government can’t do this initiative alone and must recognize the role of the partners in wetland conservation.
The next event held by the Turtle Conservation Centre will be an open house on September 30th where people can drop by to learn all about turtles.