Shaking things up at Adopt-A-Pond!

The Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme at Toronto Zoo is a very busy place. There are always lots of conservation projects on the go, lots of turtles to look after, and lots of events where we get to share our knowledge of wetlands and wildlife with others. Since 2009, Julia Phillips has been the coordinator of the Adopt-A-Pond programme, helping to shape our many conservation efforts. Starting in March, Julia will be leaving the Adopt-A-Pond programme for a new adventure, just up the street, with Parks Canada and the new Rouge National Urban Park!

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Julia at the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Julia has been involved in so many projects here it’s impossible to list them all! For those involved in Turtle Tally or Frog Watch, you have probably had the chance to talk with Julia through email or over the phone about your turtle and frog sightings, or perhaps you have attended our Citizen Science Appreciation Day and heard her updates about our many ongoing projects. Julia has always enjoyed talking with Turtle Tally and Frog Watch participants about their sightings and sharing their love for wildlife. She has also been the first point of contact for many people ordering our species identification resources or wildlife crossing signs.

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Julia welcomes a young speaker at our Citizen Science Appreciation Day

One of Julia’s most significant projects here has been the Blanding’s turtle head starting project. She has been involved in this project since its very beginning, helping to identify where eggs could be collected right up to where the young turtles could be released. We are happy to know that in her new role with Parks Canada, she will still be involved with the Blanding’s turtles as we release the youngsters into the new Rouge National Urban Park.


Julia with Blanding’s Turtle eggs

Julia has also been leading many of our habitat restoration projects. At the Zoo she has worked with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to enhance our natural wetland areas for turtles and frogs. Our largest natural pond, Weston Pond, has been completely reconfigured and replanted with native vegetation to enhance its functionality for wildlife. Working with landowners throughout Ontario, Julia has also helped many people enhance turtle habitat through the creation of turtle nesting areas.


Julia discussing wetland enhancement with TRCA staff at Weston Pond

Julia has been such a great part of Adopt-A-Pond over the years and will be missed in the office. We wish her the best as she moves forward in her quest to help conserve Ontario’s habitats and the creatures that live in them!

Funding and Support for Adopt-A-Pond Has Been Provided By:

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For more information about Toronto Zoo’s conservation programs, visit: and

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