Turtle Protectors advocate, support and protect our Turtle relatives living within High Park while embracing all of our kin! 

Our turtle nest protection program in High Park strives to:

  • Reconcile human impacts  upon our turtle relatives  
  • Share Indigenous ways of being in reciprocal relationship with all of our relations
  • Cultivate and share Indigenous knowledges and leadership in High Park
  • Embrace the concept Etuaptmumk (two eyed seeing) that Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall has widely spoken about
  • Raise awareness of turtle nesting in High Park
  • Engage park goers as volunteer turtle protectors who could help identify nesting turtles in need of protection
  • Build and distribute turtle nest protectors that help ensure the turtles and their eggs are able to survive, and thrive, in the park while allowing eggs to hatch and hatchlings to leave the protector safely.

We are guided by Indigenous knowledge principles that can shape how we engage with nature and one another. Two of the most important are:

🐢 Reciprocity. Viewing Mother Earth and other beings as kin can inspire us to care for all beings as much as we care for our fellow human beings.

🐢 Building relationships In a good way. The belief that building reciprocal relationships takes time, and that the process of relationship-building is equally important as the outcomes of those relationships.

Carolynne Crawley (She/Her)

Carolynne Crawley

Carolynne Crawley, co-founder of Turtle Protectors and founder of Msit No’kmaq, has Mi’kmaw, Black and Irish ancestry and is from Mi’kma’ki territory, also known today as Nova Scotia. But Tkaronto has been her home since a young child.

She is dedicated to social and environmental justice.

Carolynne is passionate about reconnecting people with the land, waters, and all beings as there is no separation between us. From many Indigenous perspectives around Mother Earth they are all our relatives to be treated with as much love, respect, and reciprocity as we do with our human loved ones.

Carolynne leads workshops that support the development and strengthening of healthy and reciprocal relationships based upon Indigenous knowledges that Indigenize existing interactions with the land and with each other. She also shares Indigenous life ways such as bird language and harvesting ‘wild’ foods and medicines from the land.

Carolynne is also a certified Forest Therapy Guide, a Kairos Blanket Exercise Facilitator, a Holistic Nutritionist, Storyteller, member of the Indigenous Land Stewardship Circle, and has been working in food security for more than a decade. Prior to that she worked in the role of a Child and Youth Worker for twenty years, in the mental health sector.

Jenny Davis (She/Her)

Jenny is co-founder of Turtle Protectors. She is a passionate outdoor educator with over a decade of experience connecting adults and children with nature, themselves and community through thoughtful and inclusive program design. Currently Jenny is the Lead Outdoor Educator at The Linden School and is the 2023 Toronto Public Library Environmentalist in Residence.

In her role at High Park Nature Centre, Jenny developed unique community programs like Branching Out, a mentorship program for people interested in creating a meaningful nature experience for their community in the language linked to their culture.

Jenny’s approach is to ask questions to help people uncover how much they already know about plants, animals, and basic ecology while cultivating joy and a shared wonder of the natural world.

Vivian Recollet is an Anishinaabe grandmother, whose spirit name is Bigasohn Kwe. She is Turtle Clan from Wikwemikong Unceded Territory of the Three Fires Confederacy on Manitoulin Island.

Vivian was born and removed from her homeland at an early age to become part of what is now known as the 60’s scoop, a crown ward of the CCAS.

Her biological father was part of the Residential school of Spanish and her mom was raised in an orphanage run by nuns. The relationship disruption of the family unit was evident from an early onset. Vivian suffered many traumas, being removed her homeland, culture, language and her eleven siblings separated from each other, she persevered in her circumstances and managed to complete high school and a nursing program.

Vivian left the North (Sudbury) once she graduated from nursing at a young age and moved to Toronto, which is currently still her hometown. She equates her success to this day to Elders, knowledge keepers and medicine people for all the healing that she was able to take in to heal the past. She has been selected for several awards, the Woman of Distinction, Influential women of Northern Ontario, the Lieutenant governor’s award on Good Citizenship for her work in Indigenous Health, and the COUPON awards for her mentorship of upcoming nursing students. Vivian has been in a nursing capacity in the Indigenous Community Health since 1996 up to 2010. Before that, she worked in the Institution health facilities, CAMH, TEGH, Sunnybrook Hospital, TGH, Orthopedic & Arthritic Hospital, the Grace, Westpark to name a few. Vivian constantly upgrades her skills to keep up with modern technology and medical advancements.

Currently, Vivian is working at Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre as the Indigenous Health Promoter for the Niiwin Wendaanimak Program. This program focuses on the “Ethic of Non Interference” from the Harm Reduction model, an Indigenous ONLY space in a non native organization mandated to serve the homeless, at risk of homelessness Indigenous people affected by the impacts of colonization to this date.

Catherine Tàmmaro is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice spans decades. She is Little Turtle Clan (Keepers of the Heavens, Carriers of the Fire) from the Wyandot of Anderdon Nation, Wendat Confederacy.

Catherine is a seated Spotted Turtle Clan FaithKeeper and is active throughout the City of Toronto and beyond, in many organizations as Elder in Residence, Mentor, Teacher and Cultural Advisor.

She is an alumna of the Ontario College of Art and has had a diverse career, multiple exhibits and installations, published written works and presentations and continues her creative practise.

Catherine actively supports the work and development of other artists on an ongoing basis. She served on the Board of the TAC, TAC’s Income Precarity Working Group and was the Chair of the Toronto Arts Council’s Indigenous Advisory Committee in 2020/21 and is the Indigenous Arts Program Manager at Toronto Arts Council and continues teaching, learning and exploring her creativity and that of others.

Our Supporters

MARC DUPUIS-DÉSORMEAUX is conservation biologist, researcher, and a lecturer at York University’s Glendon College in Toronto.   He holds a Ph.D. in Biology, a Master of Environmental Studies and a Master of Business Administration.

Marc works across Toronto studying turtle populations and implementing conservation solutions to protect herpetofauna.  

He also has field sites in Kenya, where he studies lion and hyena behaviour, landscape prey-traps, and human-wildlife conflicts and has recently discovered a new population of critically endangered pancake tortoises.  

Marc is the Chair of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Canada, a Canadian charity that supports various community conservation projects in Kenya, focusing on education, community development and protection of endangered species. 

He is a board director of the Turtle Survival Alliance of the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, a member of the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Species Specialist Group, and a board member of the Canadian Herpetological Society.  You can read more about his projects at marcdupuisdesormeaux.ca.