Brooke Adopt-A-Pond`s Newest Turtle Helper

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Hey there, my name is Brooke and I am a high school coop student at Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme at the Toronto Zoo!

I have always had a strong passion for animals, and learning about animal conservation, so the Toronto Zoo was my first choice when it came to co-op. I work in the Adopt-A-Pond office doing mostly administration work, but also get to work in the Wildlife Health Centre with the baby headstart turtles! So you can say I get the best of both worlds!

In the office I put together mail-out information packages about turtles and amphibians that are then sent to schools, and to people with a personal interest. I box turtle crossing signs that are sent to communities that are worried about their turtles crossing busy streets. I also put together research and species profiles on Ontario turtles, frogs, and birds, and update the turtle sightings and pictures sent in from the public to the Ontario Turtle Talley programme. Ontario Turtle Talley is a citizen scientist programme where members of the public submit sightings of turtles from anywhere in Ontario. These sightings go a long way to help researchers and conservationist lean about population abundance, habitat range and even hotspots of for stewardship opportunities.

I have to say my favourite part of co-op is when I get to work with 2 Species at Risk Ontario turtles in Adopt-A-Pond`s headstart program. These turtles will be released into the wild once they’re big enough.  My job is to clean tanks, and make sure the turtles are healthy and are not showing any signs of stress. I occasionally get to feed, measure their growth, and weight of the turtles. I even went off site one day with one of the amazing Adopt-A-Pond staff to track some of released headstart turtles. We were looking to see where these turtles ended up hibernating.

I’ve learned so much so far, and I can even recognize different species of Ontario Turtles, which I think is pretty cool! Overall I am having an amazing co-op experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has an interest in animals or wants to pursue a career with animals. The Toronto Zoo has the friendliest and most amazing staff, and I couldn’t imagine a more exciting and diverse co-op placement!