During our last visit to the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove, our girls were keen on visiting the Western Painted Turtles.
Named after the bright yellow stripes on their head, neck, tail and legs, and the glowing red on their bellies and shells, these little beauties can grow to over a foot in length and are quite the sight to see.
“Did you know they hide away on vegetation mats and logs in the water to avoid being eaten by predators?” said Molly.
At 10, she’s now at that age where she likes to read about the animals and inform us about all the fun facts she finds. I think she gets that from her mom.
I did some reading of my own and discovered that these beautiful creatures found in our local wetlands are at risk of extinction.
With all the new developments popping up, their homes are being turned into high-rise condos and townhouses.
What’s left of the Western Painted Turtle habitat, which is minimal, faces ongoing threats from us humans that include water pollution and erosion. Sadly, many females are also killed on our roads as they search for nesting sites.
Nests and hatchlings are vulnerable to human-subsidized predators, such as raccoons, skunks and coyotes, whose numbers are artificially inflated by access to human garbage, crops and other food sources
“Mom, what does con-ser-va-tion mean?” asked Zoe, 8, pointing to another sign near the frogs.
While I love that the Greater Vancouver Zoo is a short trip from home, and that my girls always enjoy their visit with the animals, I also really appreciate its conservation programs for endangered species.
Back in 2009, the GVZoo first showed a strong interest in being involved with the conservation efforts of the Western Painted Turtle — this coincided with when the BC Western Painted Turtle Working Group was first formed.
Our girls left that day vowing to do their part to help save the turtles by not leaving garbage out and to continue helping mom and dad with recycling.
Recently, I discovered there’s another way local families can help make a big impact in a small way – one that sounds like a lot of fun!
On Sept. 14, the GVZoo is having its first ever race event called the Turtle Dash. This is a fun, family friendly event where participants race around the Zoo to raise funds for animal conservation projects.
Not much of a runner? That’s okay! All ages and fitness levels are encouraged to come out as there is both a 5k race and a 1K hatching run. Registration includes free admission so you can visit all your favourite animals after.
When you sign up, you’ll receive a kit of goodies, including a souvenir t-shirt and a medal!
Check out this interactive route map that shows all the cool animals you’ll run past.
My kids love this!
All race profits will go toward funding conservation projects. Learn more about the zoo’s conservation projects here.
BONUS: If you register in the month of August using the code “ValleyMom” you will get a free cotton “We’ve got your back” Western Painted Turtle conservation t-shirt! Designed to be decorated 😊
For more information about the Turtle Race or to register online, visit http://bit.ly/TurtleDashGVZoo.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.