Working together, the Gorman Brothers Lumber staff and volunteers from the Central Okanagan Naturalist’s Club will be placing a new western painted turtle basking log on Hardy Pond, which is located just south of the Gorman Brothers lumber mill in West Kelowna.
The previous logs had become waterlogged and sank, so a new cedar log has been generously supplied and will be placed by Gorman Brothers Lumber.
Western painted turtles need to bask in the sun to keep warm because they are cold-blooded animals.
Basking also subjects them to the sun’s ultra-violet rays, which has the beneficial effect of hardening their upper shell (carapace). Historically, the turtle population in Hardy Pond has been very healthy, but the introduction of goldfish and the growth of Eurasian milfoil in recent years may have degraded their habitat so their current status in the pond is uncertain.
Providing a log to bask on is an important first step to ensure that the turtles continue to thrive beside Highway 97. Many motorists passing by look for the turtles on the log as a reassuring sign that this facet of nature is still doing well.