Township of the Archipelago Wins Municipal Innovation Award for Saving Local Turtles, Snakes

August 17, 2021

Toronto, Ontario, August 17, 2021 – The Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award Jury presented its highest award to the Township of the Archipelago for its Tale of a Thousand Turtles project – a successful effort to protect local species-at-risk, including turtles and snakes, during roadwork. The Plaque Award was presented at the 2021 AMO Conference, held entirely online.

What began as a typical road rehabilitation project turned into a collaborative effort between the local community, staff from the Georgian Bay Biosphere, Shawanaga First Nation, and Hall Construction to protect the nests and eggs of turtles and snakes during roadwork. The Tale of a Thousand Turtles project resulted in the release of more than 1,000 hatchlings and the collection of more than 1,000 eggs that could have otherwise been destroyed during construction.

“The Archipelago’s Tale of a Thousand Turtles project is a wonderful example of municipal innovation and collaboration,” said Brian Rosborough, AMO Executive Director. “The PJ Marshall jury was impressed with the Turtles project due its unique approach to protecting local species-at-risk while also completing important infrastructure improvements.”

“The reconstruction of Skerryvore Community Road is a great success story for the Township of the Archipelago and the environment,” said Bert Liverance, Reeve of the Township of the Archipelago. “We are very fortunate to have partnered with The Georgian Bay Biosphere, Shawanaga First Nation, Tatham Engineering and Hall Construction to complete this project with such a positive impact on the environment and the reptile species of the area."

Road mortality is a major threat to reptiles-at-risk as many live along the roadway. Biologists from Georgian Bay Biosphere and Shawanaga First Nation surveyed the 12 km of road set for construction – six days a week, from June to October – noting turtles and snakes along the way. The construction crew participated in species-at-risk training and worked with biologists to find a way to clear the site of reptiles before completing any work.

The Archipelago’s novel approach to species management during construction was cost neutral and the project was completed on time. As the project progressed, the turtles went from “just turtles” to “our turtles” as project partners became increasingly invested in protecting the local reptiles.

The P.J. Marshall Award is an annual competitive process to acknowledge municipalities that have demonstrated creativity and success in implementing new, innovative ways of serving the public. It is sponsored by AMO, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks & Treasurers of Ontario, the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships, the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association, and the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association.

In addition to the Township of the Archipelago, three other municipalities received plaque awards: The City of Kitchener for its Housing for All project; The City of Markham for its Single-Use Plastics Reduction Plan; and Renfrew County for its Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system. 

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, 416-729-5425,


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