“It was quite a surprise,” Kelly Wallace tells My Bancroft Now.
Turtle Guardian’s “Turtle Guardian of the Year” award recognizes an individual or a group that has made “significant contributions to turtle recovery, including through raising awareness, providing education, or by directly advancing conservation mitigation,” their website’s description of the award reads.
“I don’t so much see it as what I’ve done, I see it as recognition for all the work the community has done,” Wallace says of the honour. She says that she originally only wanted to get her “Watch 4 Turtles” signs up, but through speaking with people in the community she realized that there was a need for more than just signs.
“It is extraordinary that with each effort Kelly undertakes, she does so with humility, thoughtfulness and attention to detail,” Turtle Guardians says of the work Wallace has done with the Think Turtle Conservation Initiative.
“There are not many animal species that we can be so instrumental in helping,” Wallace says. She adds that you’re usually supposed to let nature run its course, but with the turtle population in Ontario declining, it’s important that locals step in and help when they can. “I think people really like the idea that they can be instrumental in helping a species,” Wallace says.
With nesting season wrapping up soon, Wallace says she doesn’t plan on slowing down. She says now she hopes people keep their eyes peeled for turtles and report those sightings. It’s important to do that because it helps track population, movement, and what roads may have more turtles crossing it.
Wallace recommends using Turtle Guardians’ website to report turtle sightings.
You can also follow along with Wallace and the work she does with the Think Turtle Conservation Initiative by liking them on Facebook.