Magnetawan Shoreline Cleanup

 Written by Avalon Carthew, First Nations Conservation Technician 

We’re back with another shoreline cleanup blog for our event in Magnetawan First Nation. I’m sure you have noticed a theme in our shoreline cleanup events – not just that enthusiastic people clean up plenty of garbage and get to learn about local reptiles and amphibians, but that each event so far has only lasted for one (very eventful!) day. Well, the shoreline cleanup at Magnetawan First Nation was the exception to that rule and spanned two days. The shoreline cleanup took part on August 25th and we stayed for a second day to host an art workshop on August 26th

The drive might have been long, but the view was lovely!

The community of Magnetawan First Nation are closely involved in conservation through their species at risk program. One aspect of this program is their turtle head-start initiative. This program allows for Blanding’s, Snapping, and Map turtle eggs to be incubated and hatched at Magnetawan. This lets the lucky hatchlings have a head-start at life once they are released.  

This Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway) turtle crossing sign was proudly displayed at the Lands Department! It was provided by our Adopt-A-Pond program. 

Magnetawan is also home to Ontario’s only lizard, the Five-lined skink. These skinks are named for their five cream-coloured stripes, but as juveniles they also have a bright blue tail. If a skink is grabbed by its tail, it will break off and flail around. This will distract a predator and give the skink some time to escape to safety. Wow!  

We were lucky enough to spot a skink! 

Participants in the cleanup were excited to beautify the shoreline along the Magnetawan River, which flows into Georgian Bay, and just as thrilled to tell stories about the local snakes, frogs, and turtles. Altogether, 49kg of trash was collected, including a bike and two tires. Great job everyone! 

We had something special planned for the second day: a printmaking workshop. This workshop was led by Autumn, an artist from Magnetawan. She skillfully taught participants of all ages how to make their very own linoleum block prints.  

This form of printmaking involves carving your desired image into a block of linoleum using special bladed tools. Luckily, Toronto Zoo staff were ready and willing to help young artists carve their special works of art. It was wonderful to see people of all ages, young and old, create beautiful works of art together. 

The lovely artwork that was made by workshop participants.

This event was so much fun! Thank you so much to all of our volunteers, to Magnetawan First Nation and the Lands Department, and to our funders: Parks Canada, and the Province of Ontario through the Great Lakes Local Action Fund.