Archives for 2015

Frogsicles and Cool Turtles

by Sheila Zimanfrozen turtle

While we ski over deep snow or curl up by the fireside, frogs and turtles are coping with winter through a number of survival strategies.

Terrestrial frogs normally hibernate on land. American Toads and other frogs that are good diggers burrow deep into the soil, safely below the frost line. Some frogs, such as the Wood Frog and the Spring Peeper are not adept at digging and instead seek out deep cracks and crevices in logs or rocks, or just dig down as far as they can in the leaf litter. Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers are able to freeze without sustaining damage.

Hibernating aquatic frogs such as the Leopard Frog and American Bullfrog usually hibernate underwater; however, they don’t dig into the mud like turtles. They must be near oxygen-rich water and spend a good portion of the winter just lying on top of the mud or only partially buried. They may even slowly swim around from time to time.

Blanding’s Turtles hibernate completely underwater from late October or early November until the early spring. This cold-blooded reptile only needs to burrow itself in cold, muddy bottoms to stay warm. Its metabolism also slows so little oxygen is needed and it doesn’t have to search for food. Unlike most turtles, the Blanding’s is quite happy in the cold water; on occasion it is seen slowly swimming underneath the ice in areas where they winter.

Snapping Turtles burrow in mud bottoms or use muskrat burrows or lodges to overwinter. Large congregations sometimes hibernate together.  Painted turtles share a similar hibernating pattern to other turtles, but if the weather is not conducive to leaving their nests, hatchlings will overwinter in their nests to emerge in the early spring.

Turtles will emerge from hibernation in late April or early May.  At this time they may cross roads in search of food and mates in connecting wetlands.  In June, females may cross roads to lay eggs on the road shoulders.  Five out of the six species of turtles in Haliburton County are at risk.  Turtle road mortality and loss of habitat are the primary reasons for population declines.  Please slow down while driving at this time.  If it is safe to do so and you choose to move the turtle across the road and out of harm’s way, move it in the direction it is travelling.

The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, in collaboration with its partners, U-Links Centre for Community Research and Glenside Ecological Services, will continue their turtle project in 2015.  This research project has been generously funded by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  Last fall, at a site on Gelert Road, the Land Trust erected a turtle barrier fence to funnel turtles towards an existing culvert.  The culvert will provide an underpass and allow turtles to access the adjoining wetland without traveling on the road surface.

This May and June, the Land Trust will be monitoring three sites for turtle activity – one test site with barrier fencing and two control sites.  If you would like to help with this exciting new research, please contact the Land Trust at or call 705-457-3700.


Annual Tree & Plant Sale

Wired_pine_seedlingnter woes? Think Spring! Start planning your spring garden now, and take advantage of bulk pricing available through the annual Spring Plant Sale. The Land Trust has partnered up with FEEL (Friends of Ecological and Environmental Learning) to bring you another instalment of this popular annual sale. Available for a limited time only – orders are due before April 1st – so head on over to to browse what’s available, and place your order!

Whether your goal is to plant a tree, protect your shoreline with native plants, or just to beautify your property with some hearty perennials, this is the place to start. Orders will be ready for pickup by the Victoria Day weekend, in Haliburton.

Not-For-Profit of the Year nomination!

nominationThe Haliburton Highlands Land Trust has been notified that we are one of the nominees for the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Not-for-profit of the Year award. Given the calibre of work being undertaken by non-profits in our community, the nomination alone is an achievement. We credit the incredible efforts of our many, many dedicated and hard-working volunteers. (you know who you are!) Take a bow, folks… This is the Land Trust that you have worked to create, build, and support.

March Events

bowling_1We have lots planned for March! TWO Nature in the ‘Hood events: “Maple Syrup in Your Backyard” and the “Reptile Road Show”. For more information, or to register for either of these, click here.

And don’t miss our first annual “Keep It Green St. Patrick’s Bowl-O’Thon“! Lots of fun, cheerful competition and prizes, too! Get your team together and come out for an afternoon or evening of family-friendly fun. Call Larry for more details, or to sign up a team. Phone (705) 457-3700 or email

Jan 24th: Signs in the Snow

tracksWe will meet at the Dahl Forest, where a member of the Minden Fur Harvesters will take us out for a hike and point out the various signs of animal activity in the winter forest. Bring your snowshoes and dress for the weather!


Leader: Paul Arkwright, Minden Fur Harvesters

Location: Dahl Forest, 1307 Geeza Rd., Gelert

Fee:  $5.00 / adult, children attend free with a paid adult.


Please register here: Event Registration


Nature in the ‘Hood programs are an invitation to people of all ages to come explore and enjoy the natural world around them in the Haliburton Highlands! We would like to acknowledge the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, the Gosling Foundation, and the Haliburton Highlands Stewardship Council for providing a portion of the funds to provide these programs.