FOPI Dispatch #1 (26 May 2021)

Thank you for supporting the Friends of Petrie Island. While programming ended last fall after the Turtle Release, our volunteers remain active over the winter; there was a letter of concern about future development of a 25-story high-rise building at Trim Road submitted, social media continued, and onsite monitoring was done regularly. Attendance at the Island continued at record highs all winter, which may have been influenced by the lovely weather, low snow fall, increasing east end population and the increased COVID-driven interest in nature. 2020 attendance was almost double previous records. All signs are that 2021 will surpass last year’s numbers. During a spectacular April, 43,000 people visited Petrie Island, with a one day high of 6,040 as people enjoyed the 24 degree weather on April 10. While May has started off cool, forecasts show sunshine ahead.

Our first summer student, Cassara, has started and we are busy making plans for this summer and recruiting new staff. The Friends of Petrie Island has been approved for 5 positions funded by Canada Summer Jobs.

Students will have 10-11 week contracts and will be undertaking conservation activities, delivering Naturalist sessions and tours, managing reservations and permits and doing outreach to visitors.

The increased attendance has put more strain on the environment so we are working with the City to better inform visitors of proper conduct to preserve the integrity of the Island. The most common problems we face are dogs, which disrupt the local ecology (e.g. nesting birds and mammals); shoreline fishing, which harms protected marine animals and is increasingly eroding the shoreline; picking plants and foraging; and littering. There is a 9:00 pm curfew on the Island that we will better enforce this year.

We are hoping to engage more visitors as members and volunteers.

Memberships are an important funding source, and demonstrate appreciation of the work that Friends does and support for our goals. If you are interested in supporting our projects, feel free to reach out.

We would be delighted to see individuals that would like to lead or participate in projects, and we would also welcome small groups to focus on specific projects. Please note that activities will be accordance with COVID-19 safety practices. If you are interested in starting or joining a group, please let us know at

Here are our current projects:

– Turtle conservation- basking turtle counts, egg gathering, (this is separate from research being done by the University of Ottawa and the Canadian Wildlife Federation).

– Wildflower garden- preparing, planting, weeding, signage, gathering specimens (we would love to restart our Plant Group)

– Dogwood Maze/Fairy Garden- expand and add twig fences to protect the dogwood underpass

– Trail/Nature Centre amenities- benches, driftwood sculptures, sign painting, picnic table staining

– Art display- a semi permanent display of local artwork/artists

– Invasive species monitoring and removal

– Beaver monitoring- ideally a volunteer with a water craft to monitor numbers and locations and activity

– Tree inventory on west end of island and surrounding islands, ID special trees

– Tree wrapping

– Biodiversity plan- to be scoped

– Newspaper articles for Orleans Star- Petrie Island through the eyes of a child, an artist, a naturalist

– Events- clean up (Rotary Club is hosting on in June, date TBD), Turtle Day (date TBD, hopefully June)

– Leave no trace – handout and video on rules at Petrie

– Grant applications- funding for pavilion

– Shoreline- protecting shoreline/ erosion control with RVCA

If any of these speak to you, please let us know what you are interests are.

Of course, our members are always welcome to help out at Wednesday Workdays, and for now, people will be given independent activities until COVID protocols are relaxed. We will be hosting a Members Open House where we will discuss and demonstrate our projects, and a Members’

Guided Tour, both planned for June. Please watch your email, the website, or social media for specifics. We also welcome your comments and suggestions.

Hope to see you at the Island!