Anne Marie Batten is referred to as the ‘Turtle Nurse’ and the ‘Turtle Mom’ by her community.
Batten and her husband, Derek McIntyre, have made it their mission to help the baby turtles that hatch in nests across their 600-acre waterfront property on Sand Lake, just northeast of Kingston.
“To me, this is their land and out of respect, we’re going to protect their land and do the very best I can with their babies,” said Batten.
The couple had to learn about turtles — and quickly. Only two days after moving into their home last June, they saw turtle after turtle walking across their property to lay eggs.
McIntyre says they learned a lot from internet searches and local turtle advocate groups across the province.
The couple quickly started to make nest protectors and soon had more than 30 nests in their yard.
“We watch the turtles when they come in to nest and then we mark the area where they’re nesting and then as soon as they move on, we cover the nest immediately, so then we know whose nest it is because we keep track” said Batten.
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Batten is meticulous about tracking the turtles, even making a spreadsheet to help keep the nests on her property organized.
The turtles lay their eggs in June and 60-70 days later, the eggs hatch.
Out of the 35 protected nests this year, Batten and McIntyre anticipate they’ll help nearly 200 hatchlings get to the lake.
“It’s really exciting for the whole community, too, because Sand Lake is a community and these turtles belong to this area, so I think it’s really exciting to be a part of that.”
Batten has taken to social media to share her turtle journey with the community.
She has started a Facebook group ‘Turtles of Silo Road’ and shares pictures of the turtles and the hatchlings on her personal Instagram using the hashtag #turtlesofsiloroad