For all of our new members since May, we would like to extend a big thank you for supporting the Friends of Petrie Island! Your membership helps fund our conservation projects, maintenance of the picnic area and trails, and educational displays.
In June, the rest of our summer staff joined the team (Kyra, Catherine, Mason, and Clare), and in July, our new co-op student, Anita started! We have been very busy the last couple of months, with increased attendance in May and June compared to last year, and July at slightly lower attendance (this may be due to the frequency of poor weather). We have hosted lots of Naturalist programs and we are happy to see increased numbers of groups are reserving picnic areas. There have been a number of camps and children’s groups that we have hosted, including a Girl Guides group which helped us with our Gypsy moth caterpillar removal! Our staff and volunteers have been removing a number of invasive species, including dog-strangling vine, garlic mustard, buckthorn, and burdock, in order to protect the native biodiversity at Petrie.
We have had an influx of new volunteers and high school students helping us with our many projects, including our wildflower gardens, trail maintenance, and upgrading our Nature Centre area. The owner of BANANAS (the old restaurant on the beach), donated several thousand dollars worth of patio stone to us, which our volunteers helped turn into a new patio for the Nature Centre. Leftover stone will be used at the Memorial Bench and near our sheds. Our volunteers also helped us with our soil erosion project, burying the base of a tree along the shore with an exposed root system, in hopes to prevent the soil from further eroding. The Petrie Island tree inventory has started back up with three volunteers, who will be exploring the furthest parts of the island and noting the different species and their approximate age. Lastly, we had eight turtle watch volunteers this season who helped us find and protect 14 nests, including 6 snapping nests, 5 painted nests, and 3 map nests, for a total of 285 eggs protected! This is nearly three times the number of eggs we protected last year, which will hopefully increase the populations of these at-risk species. Turtle researchers from the University of Ottawa have also been active at Petrie this summer, observing basking patterns of map and painted turtles. They have seen ___ adults so far, and lots of last year’s hatchlings in Crappie Bay!
As we mentioned earlier, lots has been happening at Petrie! We’ve had several special events, including our successful Member’s Days, a garbage cleanup organized by our co-op student, and a video that The Friends filmed with the Orleans councilor, Matt Luloff, about the rules of the island. We have been working hard to increase awareness of the rules, promoting them on our social media, website, signage, and by producing this video. It will be in English and French, and it covers why it is important to follow the rules. There will be more updates to come on that, so please keep your eyes on your emails and social media! Additionally, the Friends of Petrie Island was also briefly featured in a CTV interview about the tree inventory, which you can check out here: https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/mobile/what-type-of-trees-are-on-your-street-there-s-a-map-for-that-1.5453517
The summer staff have been working hard on our displays to make a fun and educational Nature Centre that we are glad to say has been enjoyed by many! We have updated some of our old signs and we have been adding French text to all of our signs that lacked it previously. The staff are working on new signs which will each highlight a FOPI project, including the tree inventory, invasive species removal, turtle conservation, and more. We have some new displays in our Nature Centre container, including a snowy owl figure (taxidermy), wildflower and tree specimens, a pond life aquarium, a mussel section, and a garter snake snakeskin, donated by one of our members! You may also have noticed that the river-side of our Nature Centre container has been painted! Our staff worked hard this week to create a scene of Petrie on the side of the container, which will be completed by the end of the summer. We also have a brand-new display area near this mural- we have repurposed an old wooden bridge to showcase some more educational signs, our dioramas, and a new display in the works, which will show Petrie throughout the ages.
All in all, it has been a very active summer so far, and we look forward to the rest of the 2021 season. We have a number of events planned for late summer and early fall, including our turtle releases which will likely be in September. We will update our members on as soon as the turtles hatch. Petrie will also be hosting a vendors’ market, which will take place at our Event Tent on September 11th and 12th. You can find more information about this on the Instagram page @petrieislandvendorsmarket. Lastly, there will be an event hosted by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) on October 10th, which focuses on appreciating nature and the exploring the health benefits nature has. More information to come on that in our August dispatch.
Thank you all for supporting and respecting the conservation of Petrie Island. We are working hard to preserve the biodiversity of this important ecosystem and create a space for people to enjoy nature. We greatly appreciate you following all of the island’s rules, including keeping your dogs at home, fishing in designated areas only, and only using gas barbeques (with a permit). All of the information about the rules can be found here: https://www.petrieisland.org/before-you-visit.
We hope you enjoy Petrie as much as we do, and we look forward to seeing you on the island!