– Fall is perfect time to participate in Land Trust reptile atlas project –
(Port Rowan, Ontario) The Long Point Basin Land Trust is encouraging the public to participate in its reptile research and conservation project. Helping out is as simple as reporting turtle or snake sightings through the Land Trust website. By reporting observations of reptiles, members of the public, landowners and community groups can help develop effective local conservation strategies.
People can report sightings quickly and easily by following the links to the Conserving Carolinian Reptiles project at longpointlandtrust.ca. The site contains turtle and snake identification factsheets which are tailored to our region; there are also newsletters and additional information about reptiles, conservation and the land trust. The factsheets explain that none of the native snake species in the local Long Point Basin area of southern Ontario are poisonous and that many are in fact highly beneficial. For example, the Eastern Foxsnake and Milksnake are excellent rodent predators. Other species such as the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, which sometimes hisses and spreads its neck flat, may appear threatening but are in fact harmless to people.
“Public participation is key to the “Conserving Carolinian Reptiles” project,” said Gregor Beck, conservation director for Long Point Basin Land Trust. “Our region is a stronghold for turtle and snake species, but many species’ populations are dwindling. Reptiles are threatened by habitat loss, mortality on roads, illegal collection for the pet trade, and pollution. On the bright side, public interest seems to be growing and many landowners, conservation groups and even visitors are working hard to help these interesting creatures.”
The Trust encourages people to report sightings of all turtles and snakes in the region – from Port Stanley and Port Burwell through Norfolk County and Long Point east toward Dunnville. Reports from rural and inland areas, such as St. Thomas, Aylmer, Tillsonburg, Simcoe, Waterford and Jarvis, are also encouraged. Records of living or dead reptiles can be reported, as well as sightings from earlier this year or from previous years.
The Land Trust also reminds people that during the fall, snakes and turtles may cross roads as they return to wintering areas, so please drive with caution and slow down near natural areas.
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Long Point Basin Land Trust is a charitable non-government organization which protects and restores important natural habitats in the Carolinian Region. It promotes conservation through outreach, research, habitat restoration and species at risk recovery. The Trust owns two nature reserves and works with landowners and conservation groups to steward natural areas.
This project was undertaken with the financial assistance of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, the Government of Canada provided through the Department of the Environment, the John & Pat McCutcheon Charitable Foundation, the Fred Eaglesmith Annual Charity Picnic, and conservation partners.
For further information, please contact:
Gregor Beck: Phone 519-718-2910; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Long Point Basin Land Trust: PO Box 468, Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0; Fax: 519-586-8310; visit: longpointlandtrust.ca