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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

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Monday, January 28 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
(SYMPOSIA-02) Overview of a New Initiative That Engages Private Landowners in Eastern Massasauga Conservation in Ontario

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AUTHORS: Crystal Robertson, Andrew Lentini, Rick Vos – Toronto Zoo

ABSTRACT: Much of the habitat for Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes in Ontario is held under private ownership. While the value of engaging private landowners in massasauga conservation has long been recognized, many general education efforts have limited on-the-ground impact. The Toronto Zoo has been involved with massasauga conservation since the 1980s through assurance population management and the development of various outreach resources. The type of messages shared with the public has evolved over time and increasingly requests are fielded about roles played by individual landowners in conserving massasaugas. Over the past four years, Toronto Zoo redeveloped our education materials and landowner engagement offerings to better meet these needs. We now design personalized habitat management guidelines for landowners to enhance their stewardship role. This initiative involves reaching out to landowners through our network of partners and arranging for Zoo staff to gather information on resident snakes during site visits to private properties. The habitat management guidelines offer information on areas of seasonal massasauga activity allowing landowners to plan activities, such as selective tree harvesting, at times that minimize impacts on resident snakes. The guidelines also identify potential habitat enhancement or restoration activities that landowners can undertake with Zoo support. An updated suite of outreach products has been developed to support this initiative and allow participating landowners to spread the word about massasauga conservation. We also utilize visual storytelling in a new video with messaging about massasauga status in Ontario, relevant stewardship actions and local projects being undertaken to support its recovery.  With its accompanying resources, the program now engages the public in safe and relevant actions that reinforce their role in species conservation while developing a new generation of advocates for coexisting with Ontario’s only venomous snake.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm
HOPE BALLROOM B

Attendees (17)