The western painted turtle is the last remaining species of freshwater turtle found in the capital region. (Photo courtesy of Paige Erickson-McGee)

Metchosin Earth Day event celebrates western painted turtles, biodiversity

Inaugural event filled with nature walks, food, music

Metchosinites are invited to celebrate turtles and biodiversity and Earth Day with live music, a barbecue and guided nature tours on April 14.

The inaugural Metchosin Community Earth Day Celebration takes place at the Boys and Girls Club on Metchosin Road and is co-hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of Victoria, Habitat Acquisition Trust and the Metchosin Biodiversity Project.

Since 2011, the District of Metchosin has been the focus of a series of biological inventories conducted by the Metchosin Biodiversity project.

The group has hosted events called bioblitzes and mycoblitzes (fungus and mushrooms), which are expert-led inventories of all flora and fauna found on that day. The events have helped identify 2,400 different species in Metchosin, ranging from slugs to orchids to mushrooms to plankton.

This year, the Earth Day Celebration is another event that the organization has decided to take on with the help of other local groups.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore nature on a beautiful property in the community,” said Paige Erickson-McGee, stewardship coordinator at Habitat Acquisition Trust. “The Boys and Girls Club have been dedicated HAT habitat stewards on this property for over eight years and they’re hosts to two endangered animals: the western painted turtle and the blue-grey taildropper slug.”

The Boys and Girls Club provides a home for the western painted turtle which is the last remaining species of freshwater turtle found in the capital region. The painted turtle needs to have access to good quality nesting near their ponds and several of the turtles have been struck by vehicles on the road as they try to get from pond to pond.

Erickson-McGee said providing good nesting spaces for the turtles near ponds can help prevent them from getting hit by vehicles.

At the Metchosin Outdoor Centre property, five painted turtles have already been spotted this year and are out of hibernation by mid-March. The turtles will lay their eggs in the summer from May to July and the hatchlings will come out of their eggs but stay in their underground nest over winter.

They typically emerge the next spring between March and April.

“If the distance between nest and pond is small, there will be reduced risk of predation of the turtle hatchlings,” Erickson-McGee said.

Habitat Acquisition Trust will be hosting a nesting restoration work party during the event and will be installing a time-lapse wildlife camera to hopefully catch the nesting in action over the summer.

The Earth Day Celebration is open-house style and will take place between noon and 3 p.m. It is free to the public and barbecue food will be available by donation.

The Boys and Girls Club offer outdoor games and indoor crafts between walks.

Visitors will be able to discover 99 acres of wilderness through expert-led walks and the Metchosin Biodiversity Project will be offering training on the use of the iNaturalist phone app to do biological inventories yourself.

There will also be a photo scavenger hunt, a keep-the-earth alive big balloon bounce, interactive games, nature displays and prizes.

More information can be found at metchosinbiodiversity.com.

Schedule of walks:

Noon – iSpy – How to use iNaturalist; smart phone-based photo ID and list-making of local species.

1 p.m. – Plants Galore! A Native Plant Walk for all knowledge levels.

2 p.m. – Habitat Walk – Who lives where? Great for the whole family.

The address is 3900 Metchosin Rd. Parking will be at the main lot. Follow the signs to the camp centre, additional parking will be on Brotherstone Road and down Duke Road.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

HarbourCats bats hot in home return

Victoria squad downs Yakima Valley Pippins 17-2

Victoria veteran receives French Legion of Honour, becoming knight of France

Ted Vaughan was a pilot in the 408 “Goose” Squadron in WW2

Witness the passion and fire of flamenco in Victoria this July

Seventh annual Victoria Flamenco Festival features free and ticketed performances downtown

Sidney youth bowl over the competition, head for nationals

Youngsters take Mens and Womens Singles Championships at recent tournament

West Shore resident, local officer encourages women to take control of their safety

Kris Greffard is posting short videos with safety tips for women using local trails and parks

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Most Read