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15 Years of Species at Risk Projects

Since 2007, the Georgian Bay Biosphere (GBB) has actively participated in species at risk education, research, and monitoring. GBB builds community awareness of at-risk species through targeted information sessions, school visits, and other outreach opportunities. These educational events also promote stewardship actions to promote citizen science and to help maintain and restore habitat. Taking care of the health of our land and water is important for the well being of wildlife, ourselves and future generations.

Take a trip down memory lane with us as we review some of our species at risk project highlights over the years!

2008 – The Georgian Bay Reptile Awareness program began with “Snake Lady” and GBB staff, Glenda Clayton, speaking with thousands of people to help change attitudes towards snakes and encourage communities to get to know their “Natural Neighbours.”
2010 – Teacher Zack Crafts and his grade 5 class were awarded our Spirit of the Biosphere award for their book “Life by Georgian Bay” including a message on protecting rattlesnakes. 
2013 – Public Works departments received training at a local township. Glenda is showing how to properly move a snapper off of roads and highways.
2016 – Magnetawan First Nation’s reptiles at risk monitoring work and leadership in road ecology is featured in TVO’s “Striking Balance” series about Canadian biospheres.
2017 – We hosted a citizen science biodiversity inventory event or “Bioblitz” at Killbear Provincial Park where people of all ages learned and saw species at risk.
2019 – GBB staff joined DFO staff to learn Lake Sturgeon egg mat protocol and larval drift netting.
2021 – We have rescued close to 10,000 turtle eggs from active road construction sites. This turtle gave us quite a surprise when it hatched as it had hypomelanism, a condition which causes a lack of pigment. In their case, it was a lack of black that gave them this unique look.
2022 – From May to October, staff conducted 173 bike surveys throughout the region. In total, an incredible 6,500 kilometers were biked. We documented 589 individual reptiles including the following species: Red-bellied snakes, Northern Ring-Necked snakes, Common Snapping turtles, Dekay’s Brown snakes, and more! 
2009 – Intern Laura Fullerton holding a Common Musk Turtle. All turtle species in Ontario are at-risk.
2011 – Robin Marwege our first International Volunteer Intern paddled eastern Georgian Bay to raise awareness of the Biosphere and talk to people about threatened species, like this Massasauga Rattlesnake he saw.
2014 – GBB staff delivered “Environment Days” in partnership with the Township of the Archipelago to Cottager Associations where topics like water quality and species at risk were discussed.
2018 – In partnership with the Town of Parry Sound and volunteer gardeners, we transformed a gravel patch into a butterfly garden with dozens of species of pollinators, birds, and native plants. This is one of 17 Pollinator Patches created throughout the Biosphere!
2020 – We provided on-site training to road construction crews, including what to do if they spotted a species at risk.
2021Maamwi Anjiakiziwin is an initiative that protects species at risk within the region. The Steering Committee is comprised of members from the Georgian GBB, Georgian Bay Land Trust (GBLT), Magnetawan First Nation, Shawanaga First Nation, and Wasauksing First Nation.
2022 – GBB staff install one of two new ‘mobile’ Motus towers. The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is a collaborative research network that tracks movements of tagged small flying fauna including birds, bats, and large insects. Tracking helps to inform the local understanding of flying species at risk by determining the size of local populations, identifying critical habitat and migration paths, and tracking the impacts of local threats. 
2009 – We hosted a Youth Summit at Killbear Park, and worked with youth to build foxsnake nesting boxes. 
2012 – GBB staff delivered a Species at Risk Site Selection Workshop attended by park employees, three townships’ staff, architects, and builders.
2015 – GBB staff participated in a Butterfly Rescue event. There are two butterfly species that are at-risk in the Biosphere.
2016 – Signage is installed at Waubuno Beach highlighting the area’s species at risk and how we can all care for this special place.
2017 – Theodore Pitawanakwat from Magnetawan First Nation is recognized with our ‘Spirit of the Biosphere’ award for monitoring roads for species at risk. His work has contributed to one of the largest datasets in Canada for road ecology.
2020 – GBB is a partner on Shawanaga First Nation’s multi-year lake sturgeon project gathering Indigenous knowledge on the species and monitoring spawning populations.
2019 – GBB staff lead a Birds Biosphere Walk in Port Severn. There are 22 bird species that are at-risk within the Biosphere.
2021 – GBB partnered with Laurentian University on a turtle “mark and recapture” research study. Our biologists captured a total of 248 turtles, and gave each a permanent, unique identification code so they can be tracked.
2022 – Our summer snapping turtle ambassador ‘Miki’ met over 1,000 people of all ages this year! Miki helps us educate people about turtles and other species at risk.

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