Turtle Day

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm Elizabeth Lake

Western painted turtle hatchlings are the star of this free, family event.

Turtle Day will return to Elizabeth Lake in Cranbrook on April 23.

Western painted turtle hatchlings begin to emerge from their nests each April and make their way to the lake. See the newly emerged hatchlings and learn about their journey, as well as the efforts of the Rocky Mountain Naturalists to protect this Blue-listed, vulnerable species.

Turtle Day is hosted by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) together with the Rocky Mountain Naturalists.

This free, family event will start at 2:30 p.m. with an opening welcome by ʔaq'am Nasuʔkin Joe Pierre. Visit from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 23, at Elizabeth Lake. Parking is behind Elizabeth Lake Lodge, off Wattsville Road. Please leave your dog at home.

New this year, you can take home your very own Turtle Day t-shirt, so bring some cash! All proceeds will support the Rocky Mountain Naturalists deliver valuable stewardship work at Elizabeth Lake.

“We’re committed to protecting this vulnerable species and sharing the message of the western painted turtle’s life cycle—from the egg, to hatching, growing, maturing, and reproducing,” said Marianne Nahm, president of the Rocky Mountain Naturalists Club.

The nesting area at Elizabeth Lake is maintained by the Rocky Mountain Naturalists working with biologists for the Province of B.C., with funding from the FWCP. Without intervention, western painted turtles would lose 90% of their nests to predators such as skunks. Western painted turtles laid 63 nests on the edge of the wetland last year, and the Naturalists have successfully protected all of the nests from predation, with the hatchling now ready to emerge.

“The work of the Rocky Mountain Naturalists to provide safe nesting habitat and intervention for hatchlings is helping the FWCP conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by BC Hydro dams,” says Jen Walker-Larsen, the FWCP’s Columbia Region manager. The FWCP is a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., Fisheries & Oceans Canada, First Nations, and public stakeholders to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by BC Hydro dams. Turtle Day is also made possible with the support of the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. 

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