Friends of Petrie Island 2014 Year End Summary
2014 was a very successful season which saw 626 visits by school children from 10 schools and 715 Junior Naturalists and parents attended 35 sessions. The nature centre had over 7000 visitors in 2014. The Rideau Canoe and Kayak club’s second year of summer kayaking camps were a hit and we look forward to collaborating with the club again for a third summer. Over 100 volunteers contributed over 1000 hours on environmental projects for the Ontario Trillium funded Native Flora Program. The adult nature tours were also a success with 67 people attending the four events. Full report on FOPI activities can be reviewed on the Studies and Reports page under Committee Reports. In 2015, we will be completing our 2nd year of a Trillium grant which will include tree wrapping for protection from beavers, removal of invasive species, planting of shrubs and trees to prevent shoreline erosion along the river and improving our wildflower garden. If you would like to volunteer for any of these activities please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Turn Out for Jane’s Walk: Turtles at Petrie Island on Saturday May 3rd!
On an early May Saturday Al Tweddle and Eva Kasanda hosted 41 intrepid Jane’s Walkers on a Turtle Trail walk and talk. This year the Ottawa River cooperated allowing the visitors access to the island and the Grand Maitre Nature Reserve. The tour started in the Interpretive Centre, providing shelter from some light rain and allowing visitors to learn about the efforts of the Friends of Petrie Island and the wildlife that lives on the island. Outside one brave Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) showed his (or her) face and Eva Kasanda introduced the group to a pet Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) turtle (courtesy of Bill Bower) and she talked about the dangers of releasing this type of non-native species into the wild.
The tour finished up with a visit to the Experimental Turtle Nesting Site. Al and Eva received lots of great questions and comments and FOPI is looking forward to hosting more walks and talks this year! Promotion of this event and other Jane Walks were seen in Apartment 613, Green Living Ottawa and the Ottawa Citizen! Thanks to everyone who came out!
At 11 am Sunday, we attempted to enter Petrie Island but found the road was closed and water levels were still high. We managed to get to the nature center wearing rubber boots and noted that 50% of the picnic area was under water. On our way in we saw 3 painted and 4 mapped turtles basking along the
turtle trail. We saw 2 geese and 3 goslings swimming through the picnic area. The Bill Holland (BH) trail was completely flooded in the picnic area portion. We ventured to the end of the BH trail by boat, landing where the beaver loop begins. We spotted two muskrats along our boat ride, as well as a heron along the river shore. Along the loop we found a beaver lodge, which
is new this year. Portions of the beaver loop are too flooded to walk through.
We proceeded to the sand dune at the west end of the trail, on our way passing a collection of Bladder Nut. As we approached the Ottawa River shoreline we found that the sandy beach along the River Trail was completely under water.
Water levels have receded since their peak on Thursday the 22nd. We
expect the road to be open in the next day or so. Rubber boots are
recommended on the trails – however in some areas water levels may go above
the top of your boots, watch your step!
Figure 1. A
beaver caught eating dinner !
Flooded picnic area at Petrie Island.
Eva, one of our monitors trekking through the flooded picnic area.
Figure 4. A
muskrat seen along one of the nature trails!