Voting open for local turtle hospital 3
By Sara Ross, Orillia Packet & Times December 6, 2012
Jeff Hathaway has dreams of a local hospital — for turtles.
His plan to create a Georgian Bay Turtle Hospital has made it to the semifinals of an online grant contest.
“Getting the votes out right now is the most important thing,” Hathaway, owner of Scales Nature Park, said Thursday.
He hopes to operate the hospital out of the nature park on Line 15 South in Oro-Medonte.
If fully funded through the Aviva Community Fund, the hospital could earn $100,000, Hathaway said.
“There are things the building needs, holding tanks, pumps, lights, filters — that kind of stuff,” he said.
The building needs enhanced installation, ventilation and the driveway needs upgrades, Hathaway said.
“The biggest things are the building-specific modifications and all the supplies and equipment for the hospital,” he said.
The Georgian Bay Turtle Hospital — modelled after the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre — aims to rehabilitate turtles with cracked shells.
“These are wild turtles that get hit by cars,” Hathaway said. “It’s usually the nesting females that get hit by cars when they come out of the water to lay their eggs.”
It is a “huge blow” to the population. One female snapping turtle, for example, could produce 4,000 eggs in her 100 year life-span.
Hathaway said seven of eight turtle species in this area are at risk.
Treatment would be provided through a network of veterinarians, rehab centres and volunteers. Recovery could take months, Hathaway said.
After recovery, turtles would be returned to their original locations.
Hathaway will be looking for volunteers to help run the hospital.
The Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre in Peterborough has had more than 1,000 patients this year.
“You can’t do that in your basement,” Hathaway said.
A Grade 9 science class at Park Street Collegiate Institute has joined the cause.
“…We just took it on because it’s a good idea,” Harrison Wingfelder-Papple, 14, said Thursday.
The students have canvassed their entire student body — 650 people — hoping for more votes.
“Doing this shows teenagers do care and we are taking an initiative towards this,” Wingfelder-Papple said.
The students’ teacher, Isabella Rombach, said the project coincides with the class’s biodiversity studies.
“I think it’s critical so they have community involvement and they can apply what they’ve learned about biodiversity to a real situation and become part of the solution,” Rombach said.
The vote deadline is Dec. 12.
Visit avivacommunityfund.org to vote.