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Generous Donation from Brighton Rotary Club

Generous Donation From Brighton Rotary Club

The article is reproduced with the kind permission of The Brighton Independent

Photo by John Campbell Brighton Independent

Brighton Independent
John Campbell 

March 10th, 2016

- Man, a turtle's worst enemy, is also its best friend, at least at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, where staff, researchers and Friends are doing their utmost to protect the creatures from being run over.

They're doing it by building an artificial turtle nesting mound, erecting fencing and installing tunnels at two locations.

Providing support through funding, The Friends of Presqu'ile Park is helping out nature while keeping it accessible to people to demonstrate the two can exist in harmony, president Steve Sinclair said.

It fits in with the organization's focus on education and environmental initiatives, and its vision statement, "where people and nature interact."

According to data collected as part of a research project begun four years ago by Ontario Parks and Sean Boyle, a PhD student in Laurentian University's boreal ecology program, 10 to 20 turtles, as well as 100 to 200 snakes and more than 2,000 frogs are killed each year on Presqu'ile's main road.

The solution was to install a pair of underpasses to reconnect the habitat of turtles - snapping, painted and Blanding's - that had been severed by the road.

"The entire project is about $300,000," Sinclair told members of Brighton Rotary at their meeting March 4. Its donation of $25,000, from the Henry Hayes Memorial Fund the club has established, is helping with the initiative.

Friends also hopes to obtain an additional $25,000 from the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund.

The group, which has committed $34,000 to the project, wants "to make sure the project is done and is done well," Sinclair said. Work is to be completed this year, with research to continue into 2017 to determine if the solution recommended by scientists "has been as effective as they anticipated."

Two kilometres of fencing have been installed, to guide the reptiles to the underpasses, with two more kilometres to follow.

"If we didn't do the fencing it would be a mediocre project," Sinclair said in an interview. "The Rotary club stepped right up and that was terrific."