Wishing Shannon Ritchie a warm farewell
The Toronto Zoo’s Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme wishes Shannon Ritchie a warm farewell, and good luck on her new adventure into a Master of Science (MSc) program through the University of Toronto at Scarborough, under the guidance of Associate Professor Nicholas E. Mandrak, PhD.
Shannon has worked on a number of Species at Risk projects with the Toronto Zoo’s Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme (AAP) since 2011 under the supervision of Bob Johnson, the Zoo’s Curator Emeritus of Amphibians and Reptiles, and Andrew Lentini, the Zoo’s current Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles.
She has been a prominent figure in the Toronto Zoo’s Blanding’s Turtle Head-start Project; most notably in the design, implementation and field data collection for research projects which identified habitat features and abundance of wetlands in the Rouge River watershed. She has also coordinated and participated in the head-start project’s egg collection, care of the young turtles at the zoo, their release and radio tracking. This has led her to pursue an MSc research project assessing the characteristics and trends of the Blanding’s turtle head-starts overwintering locations; hopefully determining if there is a relationship between head-start survival rates and site specific characteristics such as dissolved oxygen content and temperature. The findings of her research will hopefully benefit future wetland creation and restoration design so that new wetlands are created that provide appropriate overwintering locations that increase the survival of Species at Risk turtles.
Shannon has contributed immensely to the Adopt-A-Pond programme’s overall success during her time here. She has excelled at the delivery of stewardship workshops and outreach presentations, as well as helped organize and implement dozens of habitat improvement projects and events throughout Ontario. Some of her favorite outreach activities include AAP’s Terrific Turtle and World Turtle Day school programming, where over 1000 students were engaged in learning about turtles throughout Toronto and the GTA! Sharing her passion for educating others about wetlands is one of Shannon’s favourite things, and as she moves into her new role as an MSc candidate, we are certain she will continue to inspire others through her teaching duties with her helpful, outgoing nature.
We look forward to Shannon’s continued success as she works towards improving turtle conservation efforts during her MSc! All the best Shannon!
Funding and Support for Adopt-A-Pond Has Been Provided By:
For more information about Toronto Zoo conservation programs visit:
http://www.torontozoo.com/conservation/ and http://www.torontozoo.com/FightingExtinction/