Beach Talk 2017 Summary

Alicia Fortin Sauble Beach, Updates from the Beach

With last evening’s presentation from Tineasha Brenot from the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, we wrapped up our summer 2017 Beach Talk Speaker Series. Just in case you missed Tineasha’s talk, here are some highlights!

Coastal Ecosystems and Turtles
Tineasha Brenot led us through an exciting peek into the lives of Ontario’s eight species of turtles. We learned about Snapping Turtles and their small plastrons that do not allow them to hide in their shells. We were interested to learn that Northern Map Turtles will actually eat invasive zebra mussels in Lake Huron! We also talked about the Spiny Softshell turtle, with its soft shell and nose that acts as a snorkel, and the secretive Musk Turtle. Everyone was excited for the special guests, a Red-eared Slider and Box Turtle, who are pictured above with some Plover (and turtle!) Lovers. Tineasha emphasized that all of our turtles with the exception of Painted Turtles are species at risk. Our turtles are reliant upon coastal wetlands, rivers, and the Great Lakes that they are connected to. We can all help by protecting our wetlands and keeping our beaches clean! Learn how to help a turtle to cross the street below!

The seven presentations in our Beach Talk Speaker Series this summer have allowed us to piece together a broader image of coastal ecosystems, specifically in the Great Lakes. From Piping Plovers to Lake Sturgeon and dynamic fish populations in the Great Lakes to birds, beach botany, and turtles, we have seen a common theme of resilience in our Beach Talks. We have many coastal species and habitats facing primarily human-based threats, however, we still see these species working to carry on. Despite all odds this season, we have had 7 Piping Plover chicks fledge, turtles marching all over the region to lay their eggs, and Lake Sturgeon slowly making a comeback in the Great Lakes.

Perhaps one of the most common themes in the series was also the importance of learning and understanding. Arunas Liskauskas demonstrated that with some investigation, humans were able to assist in controlling the invasive Sea Lamprey population, introducing and reestablishing aquatic predator populations, and restoring an equilibrium in the Great Lakes. We have seen that humans can and often do hurt the environment, but we always have an opportunity to learn and change. Each presenter has sought to generate an interest and deeper understanding of coastal environments so that we will be inspired to change some of our actions or conversations to create a brighter future for the flora, fauna, and people that we have grown to love.

The Plover Lovers would like to thank Bruce Power for the opportunity to offer free public admission. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to our speakers and all of you who have attended; for your questions, your interest, and your passion to learn about the world around us. We hope to see you next year!