Colton Smith, 6, works hard on July 24, 2020, with other volunteers to prepare a turtle nesting site at Gardom Lake so the turtles don’t have to face the danger of crossing the road. (Contributed)

Colton Smith, 6, works hard on July 24, 2020, with other volunteers to prepare a turtle nesting site at Gardom Lake so the turtles don’t have to face the danger of crossing the road. (Contributed)

The turtle didn’t cross the road, thanks to a Shuswap group

Gardom Lake volunteers create nesting site to help protect species under threat

Western painted turtles at the Shuswap’s Gardom Lake may not realize it, but they have fans, dedicated fans.

Gardom Lake has a relatively large population of the native but blue-listed species, a classification which means the turtles are particularly sensitive or vulnerable to human activities or natural events.

“As traffic increases and as housing increases, we’re seeing more and more of them on the road, flattened during nesting season,” said Liz Winter, president of the Gardom Lake Stewardship Society. “The issue is how to get more nests closer to the lake so they don’t have to interact with the roads.”

This summer, society volunteers and supporters took on that challenge in a big way.

Two people who own land adjacent to the outflow creek of Gardom Lake committed to have approximately two acres set up indefinitely as a turtle nesting site.

“When they commit, they’re committing to not changing it in the future,” Winter said of their generous contribution.

The society obtained authority from the provincial government to do the work. The turtles prefer a south slope with low vegetation, so 20 feet of the foreshore was cleared to allow turtles access to the nesting site.

In preparation for a work bee on July 24, donated gravel was delivered ahead of time, as well as equipment to remove invasive species like poison ivy.

Read more: Longtime resident loon at Gardom Lake found dead from lead poison

Read more: Fishermen on lake near Salmon Arm get up close and personal with eagle

Winter said there was a great response, with supplies and equipment donated by six local construction and excavation companies, as well as Gardom Lake Bible Camp and members of the Ranchero Deep Creek Fire Department. Also contributing were 20 adult volunteers and one child.

That child was six-year-old Colton Smith, son of Natalie and Devon Smith who own Landmark Excavating. Colton brought his own Tonka dump truck and did 15 to 20 loads of gravel himself, said Winter.

“He was pretty amazing, a real fun addition. He was so dedicated to getting the loads out – he took it very seriously. We treated him like he had his own business,” she said, noting he had his dump truck washed off at the end with the other equipment.

Dad Devon agrees that Colton is pretty inspired.

“He’s having fun doing it, but he does take it seriously. He wants to help out the turtles.”

Winter explains that the turtles prefer compacted gravel, so it’s mixed with water.

“We’ve had anecdotal reports that people get multiple turtles trying to nest when they put in a new driveway in the area,” she smiled.

At the work bee, equipment spread the gravel which was mixed with water from fire hoses. Then volunteers raked it. It now looks like a driveway or boat launch, but is neither.

Overall, turtles weren’t the only ones to benefit.

“It was a real opportunity for everyone to do something tangible,” Winter said. “The feeling was very positive. Everyone was glad not to be scraping a turtle off the road, and enabling them to procreate and not be disturbed.”


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC LakesWildlife

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Volunteers and equipment work hard on July 24, 2020 to create a turtle nesting site at Gardom Lake to prevent turtles from having to cross the road where they’re often killed. (Contributed)

Volunteers and equipment work hard on July 24, 2020 to create a turtle nesting site at Gardom Lake to prevent turtles from having to cross the road where they’re often killed. (Contributed)

Just Posted

Christmas Lights
This nativity scene at the home of Paul Biro, organizer of the Summerland Drive-By Light Up, was just one of many parts of his elaborate display. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
VIDEO: Summerland holiday lights on display

Drive-by light-up on Nov. 27 showed some of the many festive season decorations

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

The video was used for (KGH Foundation - YouTube)
Okanagan filmmaker, poet win at L.A. Film Awards

Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan wrote and filmmaker David Nault produced the commercial

Okanagan College students Michael Ochoa and Tallin Gregoire, both members of the Okanagan Indian Band, raised the Okanagan Nation Alliance flag on July 16, 2019,  outside the Vernon campus. (Karissa Gall photo)
First Nations reconciliation personified at Okanagan College

President Jim Hamilton’s foresight has opened post-secondary education doors for Okanagan College’s Indigenous students

A sow and her three cubs, reported on social media for several weeks to be living in Princeton, were destroyed by a Conservation Officer Saturday (File photo WildsafeBC - Facebook)
OPINION: Conservation officers don’t kill bears – we do

A mother and three cubs were destroyed recently in a Princeton residential neighbourhood.

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Join Rob Dinwoodie and bandmates for a Cowboy Christmas, Dec. 11 and 12 at Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. Seating is cabaret style on the stage for an intimate concert. (Contributed)
North Okanagan cowboys go virtual for Christmas

Cowboy Christmas streamed Dec. 11-25

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best lit houses make up annual tradition

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Salmon Arm RCMP say some patrons have been harassing local businesses over mask requirements. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

Wearing of masks in businesses and public spaces is currently mandated by the province

Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Sunny the cat, who jumped out of the truck at the Revelstoke Landfill earlier this month, was quickly reunited with his owners. (Contributed)
Cat returns home with the help of two landfill workers

Sunny jumped out of the truck at the landfill in November

Most Read