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Turtles Observation Network – About

Since 2001, Éco-Nature has been involved in species at risk restoration in the Rivière des Mille Îles. Its main concern is for two species that are considered endangered by the Government of Canada, namely, the Northern Map Turtle and the Common Snapping Turtle. The status of the Northern Map Turtle in Quebec is worrisome and actions are being taken to ensure its reinstatement. With the help of citizens, the Turtle Observation Network has become an essential tool to help improve the status of turtles in the Rivière des Mille Îles. The network's contribution is part of a provincial and national approach for the benefit of all turtles in Quebec.


In 2005, Éco-Nature was trying to locate turtle spawning grounds in the Rivière des Mille Îles area. Over the years, although a lot of effort had been dedicated to finding the sites, very few were identified. Then, with the help of a citizen who had contacted the network, a first official spawning site was identified on his property. This observation has contributed to better focus our research and helped discover a large Northern Map Turtle spawning sector, one of the few known to date in Quebec.

From that moment, citizens and residents have been included and involved in turtle observation. Although some of them had already been participating since 2006, the Turtle Observation Network was officially created in December 2010.

Éco-Nature held a first meeting to honour the outstanding contribution of volunteers who had been contributing their observations since 2006. A second meeting was held in June 2014 to acknowledge its volunteers and their continuing involvement. Close to 60 participants attended this immensely successful event.

Since then, Éco-Nature keeps receiving a growing number of turtle observations. Between 2010 and 2014, over 200 turtle sightings have been put forward by citizens who care about turtle survival in Quebec.


Éco-Nature ia a non-profit organisation registered in 1985. Its mission is the protection, conservation and valorization of the Rivière des Mille Îles and its tributaries with the help of and for the benefit of the local community. Éco-Nature has a staff of 18 permanent and over 85 temporary employees. Its multidisciplinary team's qualifications include biology, ecology, environment, geography, landscaping, urbanism, cartography, outdoors, etc.); this helps support the integrated management of three intervention areas:

  1. Protection and conservation of natural habitats,
  2. Valorization and accessibility of the Rivière des Mille Îles, and
  3. Community outreach and ecocitizenship.

Éco-Nature manages the Rivière des Mille Îles Park (42 km long). The intervention zone includes nine municipalities: Laval, Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand, Rosemère, Sainte-Thérèse, Lorraine, Bois-des-Filion, and Terrebonne. The variety of environmental educational programs and ecotourism activities that are offered bring around 120000 visitors each year. The organisation is also responsible for adapting and patrolling some twenty islands in order to make them publicly accessible for boating and outdoor activities. Éco-Nature looks after the protection of 350 hectares of rare and exceptional habitats in the St. Lawrence region and wishes to add the natural habitats of the Rivière des Mille Îles to those already protected.

The Network

The Turtle Observation Network of the Rivière des Mille Îles includes citizens who share their observations on a voluntary basis.

A few notes, a picture if possible and that's all there is to it!

Turtle observation is a low-cost activity. Participants get involved freely, at their own convenience. Contributing your observations is your way of getting actively involved in a community caring about turtle conservation and it allows you to become an official member of the network. The longer your involvement, the higher your recognition:

  • 2 years: BRONZE member;
  • 4 years: SILVER member;
  • 6 years: GOLD member;
  • 8 years: PLATINUM member.

The Network holds special awards ceremonies to acknowledge its members contribution.

Those interested in getting involved in turtle conservation should contact us, sign a voluntary conservation agreement (PDF) [Fench only] and return it to us.


Over the years, citizen observations have allowed Éco-Nature to:

  • Protect turtle nests against predators [photo 1, © Anaïs Boutin];
  • Layout spawning sites in cooperation with residents;
  • Create "chill" zones where turtle soak in the sun [photo 2, © Louis Miguel Astudillo];
  • Save injured turtles [photo 3, © Marie-Andrée Carrière];
  • Reduce inconveniences to turtles [photo 4, © Éco-Nature];
  • Increase drivers attention [photo 5, © Éco-Nature];
  • Restoration and protection of turtle habitat;
  • Relocation of pet store turtles.

The network in 2014:

  • 300 citizens supporting the project;
  • 132 turtles observed;
  • 30 nests protected;
  • 27 spawning sites identified;
  • 5 private properties protected;
  • 4 Red-Eared Sliders relocated;
  • 2 turtles saved.

The Turtle Observation Network of the Rivière des Mille Îles has received the following awards:

  • Winner of the Griffon d'or "Outstanding Environmental Action – citizen", Terrebonne (2014);
  • Finalist in the "Sustainable Development" category, Gala Dunamis (2015).

Turtle conservations experts in Quebec and Canada support the project since 2006.

Partners and Teams

Thank you to our partners and collaborators:

This data dissemination project was undertaken with the financial support of: