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World Turtle Day 2023

Curve Lake First Nation Educational Department and Otonabee Conservation celebrate World Turtle Day with release of Mikinaak (turtle) trail signs in the Ojibway language.

May 23rd is World Turtle Day, a day to increase respect for and knowledge about one of the world’s oldest creatures – turtles or in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway), Mikinaak. According to experts, turtles are the most threatened of the major groups of vertebrates, more so than birds, mammals, and fish with about 75 percent of turtles worldwide being threatened or already extinct. All of Ontario’s eight species of turtles are at risk of disappearing.

The Curve Lake First Nation Cultural Centre and Otonabee Conservation are raising awareness about local turtles with the installation of turtle education and Mikinaak trail crossing signs along the Jackson Creek Trail and at Curve Lake First Nation.

Mikinaak crossing signs will be mounted on kilometer marker posts along the Jackson Creek Trail, providing trail visitors with a QR code that connects to the Turtle Guardians Sighting Report Form; when turtles are spotted along the trail, visitors can report their sighting to help advance turtle conservation efforts.

Turtle education signs will also be installed at Curve Lake First Nation and along the Jackson Creek Trail. Text and species names of Ontario Turtles have been translated into Anishinaabemowin, the local dialect of the Ojibway language.

“As a result of colonization, Anishinaabemowin has lost many words, sounds, and phrases that will never be regained. That includes some of the turtle species included on these educational signs. Where possible, the traditional turtle species names have been used but new names have been created for some species, based on what makes these turtles special to the Curve Lake First Nation community.”

- Anne Taylor from the Curve Lake First Nation Education Department

Anishinaabemowin is predominantly a spoken language. Efforts are underway to include QR codes that link to audio clips of Curve Lake First Nation Elders speaking Anishinaabemowin species names so that visitors can hear the pronunciation of the local dialect.

“Otonabee Conservation is proud to be part of this project and grateful for the opportunity to share turtle education in Anishinaabemowin and English languages,” explained Meredith Carter, Manager of Watershed Management Program at Otonabee Conservation.

Jessie James, Manager of Conservation Lands added, “Otonabee Conservation is looking forward to continued collaboration with the Curve Lake First Nation to incorporate Anishinaabemowin names into educational signage at more Conservation Areas.”

From May to July, many turtles are on the move seeking places to lay eggs, oftentimes along roadways. To help turtles this time of year, watch for them on roads, help them across if it is safe to do so, and if you find an injured turtle, please call the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre at 705-741-5000.

For more information or to report a turtle sighting visit which will help advance turtle conservation efforts.

For more information contact:

Jack Hoggarth | Cultural Archivist and Engagement Officer
Curve Lake Cultural Centre | 705-657-2758

Janette Loveys Smith | CAO / Secretary-Treasurer
Otonabee Conservation | 705-745-5791 ext. 222

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