The Saving Turtles At Risk Today (S.M.A.R.T) is an organization that has helped save hundreds of turtles in the Muskoka area since 2013. Road Mortality is a major risk to all six species of turtles that call the area home and this project is helping to combat the high mortality rate.
The Turtle Blitz event took place on July 13th at Muskoka lakes Winery and allowed families to participate in an afternoon of fun and learning by helping catch, mark, and release live turtles. Groups were split into an easy, moderate, and hard group respectively and that would decide how down and dirty you were willing to get! After catching a turtle, members of the team would measure the turtle, note anything of interest like missing claws or extra sections of the carapace (the turtle’s shell), mark the turtle, and then release it back into its habitat.
If you ever spot a turtle in danger you can also contact the turtle hotline at 705-955-4284 so a team can be dispatched to help. Always drive slowly and carefully whenever you see a turtle crossing sign too! If it is safe to do so, you can always give them a hand across the road by using your car mat or by holding them by the back of their shell (snapping turtles can’t reach back that far or under their belly)!
Finally, this event happens every year so don’t worry if you didn’t make it out this year! Keep an eye out for details on next years event and plan a trip up to Muskoka for an event that is not only unique and “turtally awesome”, but also helps keep our region healthy and full of life!