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

War bride’s oversea voyage to Canada took a leap of faith

More than 45,000 women immigrated to Canada after the Second World War

One woman’s scrapbook uncovered at Fort Rodd Hill tells story of thousands during Second World War

Joyce Margaret Whitney served in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps from 1942 to 1946

Thousands line the streets around the Legislature for Remembrance Day ceremony in Victoria

Over 70 wreaths placed around Cenotaph, honouring those who lost their lives, currently fighting

Son of Second World War veteran returns to Norway to see site of rescue, repatriation

Six-man crew crash lands in Nazi occupied territory, only known instance of entire crew surviving

Colwood house helps homeless veterans get back on their feet

Cockrell House has helped more than 100 people since it was established in 2009

VIDEO: Pups in the pool: West Shore rec centre’s Dog Swim a success

West Shore Parks and Recreation goes to the dogs Sunday night

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Mexican culinary celebration fills Victoria Public Market

Taco, Tequila and Margarita Fiesta takes over the Victoria Public Market the evening of Nov. 16

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

Canadians mark Remembrance Day this morning

This year exactly 101 years to the day after the end of the First World War

Most Read