My adventure through the world of Freshwater Turtles started in January 2022 when I received my placement as Education Liaison at the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre located in Peterborough. Initially, I was super nervous about working there as I had very little experience in the Education field let alone in Marine Conservation.
Here I am now in the middle of February 2022 and I feel like I have learnt so much about Turtles and just who and where I want to be as a person and in my career! Luckily for me, I had an absolutely brilliant mentor and Education Coordinator at the Centre who believed in me and my skills more than I did. I warned her when I started that public speaking was not one of my greatest strengths, but she knew that with practice that I would do great. So, I do owe a huge thanks to her for helping me improve my speaking skills and realize the importance of outreach and education in conservation work.
Usually my day starts at 9am or 12:30pm depending on when we have Virtual Tours booked for that day. Due to absolutely frigid weather conditions here in Canada, I usually take around 10 minutes to recover from my Nightwalker appearance! After this, I of course have to spend some time wishing everyone Good morning including all our Turtle Education Ambassadors - these are the turtles that we use for our Education Program and they all have special permits to be kept in the Centre as they cannot be returned to the wild due to reasons that would not enable them to survive in the wild.
Now it's time to get down to business! I spend about an hour or two just sitting at my desk and doing some logistic work around live streams, creating awesome posts about turtles, and just clearing up the Education area for our tours for the day. Don't worry, I'll link our Facebook and Instagram page at the end so you can check it out too and get in some of that turtle action with our livestreams!
Since our Virtual Tours are usually very scattered throughout the day this blog really has no particular sequence of events! By far though, Virtual Tours are one of my favorite tasks of the day! Obviously they are still Virtual cause of COVID, but they are still a really awesome experience! During the hour long Virtual Tours we take you on an exciting adventure through out Turtle Hospital, Turtle Intensive Care Unit, and the Education Centre. We love to spend time talking and introducing you to our Education Turtles. After working there for over a month, I can confidently say that Turtles have personalities and they really love to show you all the amazing things they can do! Usually I have alternating roles in terms of conducting Virtual Tours; sometimes I operate the camera and other times I present our Education Turtles and how awesome they are.
When I'm not working on Virtual Tours, I spend time cleaning the Hatchlings and Adult Turtles at the Centre. Honestly, when I started working at the Centre I was told that it would take me awhile to get used to the smell of Turtle poop, but honestly it really wasn't as bad as I thought! Let me tell you, you can never not be bust at the Centre because we have like 5,000 hatchlings and over 1,500 Turtles admitted in the year of 2021 residing at the Centre. All these Turtles need cleaning and their tanks need to be cleaned like once every week.
Well, that's just a brief summary of what my day at the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre looks like! The people and atmosphere is so friendly and welcoming that I legit want to get up an go to work everyday. It's probably one of the most fulfilling jobs I have had in awhile and has helped me realize one of the most important things in life - happiness.
You can find more information about the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre below and I hope you all check it out and feel inspired to do something that makes you happy and feel good!