Ontario Nature Blog

Protecting wild species and wild spaces since 1931

Author: Megan Anevich

8 ways to endure the perils of field work

Queensnake, credit: Joe Crowley

Queensnake, credit: Joe Crowley

Field work can be fun and rewarding, but it does have its challenges. My colleagues and I have endured many unfortunate events while traipsing about the wilder parts of Ontario. Bug bites, falling trees, unplanned pond and cave entries, thunderstorms, borderline hypothermia, skunk sprays and pulled groins are just some of the troubles we have faced.

Last weekend, on a queensnake survey in Bruce Peninsula National Park (BPNP), we ran into more trouble in the form of a 5,000 pound canoe.

Tanya Pulfer, conservation science manager, and I planned to search for the endangered queensnake along the shorelines in the Bruce Peninsula National Park and had borrowed Park Canada’s canoe. Our backs ached as we lugged this beast down an unmarked portage route, hauling it over fallen trees, while tripping on roots and rocks. When we finally reached our river destination, the water level was so low that it appeared as a thin ribbon surrounded by thick mats of aquatic vegetation.

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How to process a 45-pound snapping turtle in 10 (not so) easy steps

megan snapper resizedStep 1.  Scoop the turtle into your net.

Step 2. Lift the turtle into your canoe. Word of warning – this is easier said than done. Be prepared to need the strength of two people, and bend at the knees so you don’t put your back out.

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Ontario Nature staff rescue injured turtle

Midland painted turtle by Peter Ferguson

Midland painted turtle by Peter Ferguson

When Ontario Nature’s conservation staff drive around the province for field work it’s never relaxing. Instead of sitting back and watching the scenery, we keep our eyes pinned to the road in search of reptiles or amphibians, dead or alive.

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