This has been an unprecedented year for many reasons. More than ever, it has been important to slow down, breathe deeply, and find small things that bring us joy. Here at the BC Wetlands project, we continue to raise endangered species all year round, and are taking some time to appreciate their joy-giving potential. Even though we take conservation seriously – biodiversity and ecological integrity are our goal, regardless of the “cute” factor of an animal – we have to admit that our hatchling western painted turtles make us smile every day.

Winter isn’t as busy as the warmer seasons, yet a good portion of each day is still spent caring for our hundreds of tiny turtles in the conservation breeding facilities. Each morning when we feed the hatchlings, we are very sneaky so that we can see the (often absurd) positions they have chosen to bask in. Frequently it seems like they are playing a drawn out game of “The Floor Is Lava”, using any available surface to achieve the perfect basking spot. I thought I would share some of my favourite photos of the turtles so far this winter. I hope these snapshots of the turtles will make you laugh, smile, or remember to take a deep breath like they did for me.

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No-one has told this hatchling that his species is not considered arboreal (tree-dwelling).

As the bottom turtle walked away from my camera, it was unclear whether the top turtle was an unwilling passenger or a lazy genius.

Every sunbather knows that you have to work a few different angles to keep your tan even.

Michelle Polley

Endangered Species Technician – Fraser Valley Wetlands

Michelle is a Conservation Biologist and Field Naturalist with a special interest in Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and Herpetiles (reptiles and amphibians). Currently, she is the technician of WPC’s Fraser Valley Wetlands program in BC. She has worked with conservation projects for species at risk such as monarch butterflies and the turtles of Ontario.