Last Friday was I think the hardest I’ve worked since joining the Fraser Valley Wetlands Wildlife Project. Our goal for the day was to install basking logs for Western Painted Turtles in Aldergrove Regional Park. Basking areas are crucial turtle habitat components because turtle digestion happens best while lounging in the sun. It also doesn’t hurt that we’re more likely to see the little guys if they’re hauled out!

Materials pre-submersion Photo: Deanna MacTavish

The task facing us was a half-day commitment because it involved anchoring logs to specific spots with cinderblock, so that they don’t drift ashore. It was also a job best tag-teamed. The zoo crew; Andrea, Liam and I, and Deanna, who works with the Coastal Painted Turtle Project, undertook the job together to lighten the load.

Andrea and Liam ready to hook the chain through cinderblock Photo: Deanna MacTavish

To begin, we hauled the cinderblock from the car to the shore, then became familiar with the heavy logs as we struggled to carry them into the water. Luckily we didn’t have to carry them far; they had been dropped off close to shore.

Preparations made, the zoo crew entered the water on kayaks donning waders and baseball caps, while Deanna stayed behind to nail chain to the logs. She transferred them and the cinderblocks to our

Checking up on the logs a week later during a turtle release

kayaks and we ferried them over to their drop locations. The last step was to hook the chain through the cinderblock and and heave it into the water. All while doing our best to not fall off the kayaks, of course.

The result of 3 hours hard work were 9 shiny new basking logs. Back on dry land, I thought water had leaked into my waders because my pants were soaked. Andrea was quick to point out that that was sweat! Although my body was sweaty, scratched and sunburnt, I was proud of the work we had done, and verily looking forward to a celebratory ice cream run.

Exhaustedly yours,
Tegan Gallilee-Lang
Project Assistant, Fraser Valley Wetlands Wildlife
LoyaltyOne Young Conservation Leader

Accepting momentary defeat as my attempt to commandeer a natural log is hindered by its waterlogged-ness Photo: Deanna MacTavish