Removing eggs from a site affected by cattle woman kneeling in rocky sand pit digging up turtle eggs and placing them in plastic bins filled with sand dispenser amenities

Dispenser Amenities Supports Spiny Softshell Turtle Conservation

The Head Office of Dispenser Amenities is located in London, Canada, a city of nearly 400,000 people located in Southwestern Ontario, about half way between Toronto and Detroit.  And like the London on the other side of the Ocean, our London has lots of names borrowed from them, like Oxford Street, Piccadilly Street, Hyde Park and the Thames River.  Our river is an eco-system onto itself with a variety of fish and reptiles that call our Thames River home.

Spiny Softshell Turtles are  medium to large-sized freshwater turtles that make their habitat along the Thames River, and can be found across Ontario and Western Quebec.  With its flat soft shell, tubular snout and large nostrils, The Spiny Softshell Turtle often attracts public curiosity.  It is however, a shy and nervous creature that is one of the most highly endangered species in Canada. 

The latest population estimates show that there are probably less than 2,500 Eastern Spiny Softshells in Ontario and possibly less than 100 in Quebec. Predators, receding shorelines, and recreation activities threaten the survival of this species. 

Early studies along the Thames River revealed that one of the major factors that has caused this turtle species population to plummet is an almost zero turtle egg survival.  Very few hatchling turtles reach adulthood, and therefore it is important for biologists to protect the eggs and release as many hatchlings as possible.  The vulnerability of this species is further amplified considering that it only reaches sexual maturity at the age of twelve.  Existential threats to The Spiny Softshell Turtle also include loss of habitat, people collecting them to have as pets, food trade and getting caught on fishing hooks.  The turtles are extremely vulnerable to traffic mortalities as they freqHatchling Spiny Softshell Turtlesuently cross roads.  Increasing urbanization and climate change has also caused habitat loss for the species.   Moreover, the turtles often fall prey to predators like raccoons and coyotes.  Due to the loss of wetlands, the turtle populations are increasingly becoming more isolated from each other thereby preventing gene flow between turtle populations.

There are a number of organizations that have begun to actively participate in initiatives aimed at protecting The Spiny Softshell Turtle.  One of the organizations that is at the forefront of the conservation efforts is The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA).  UTRCA, also known as Turtle Team, is one of the longest running and most successful reptile research, recovery and education programs in Canada.  Since egg protection began in the 1990s, The Spiny Softshell Turtle population has shown increases in the number of turtles of all age classes.  The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is also actively involved in several initiatives to protect the species through habitat protection, restoration of protected areas and stewardship. The NCC also coordinates groups of volunteers that conduct cleanups of spawning sites, monitor turtle nests and collect eggshells.  The organization has also been involved iHatchling Spiny Softshell Turtlesn an incubation program since 2009. The program seeks to increase the hatching rates of the turtle by artificially hatching the turtle eggs and then releasing them into the wild.

This year’s effort by the UTRCA Turtle Team has resulted in unprecedented success.  They have just released 3000 Spiny Softshell Turtle Hatchlings into the river, by far their most successful release since their efforts began in the early nineties.  Eggs are harvested from the nests to prevent predation and loss by flooding, illegal collection etc. and incubated in specially designed incubators.

While threats are increasing each year, several strategies have been developed to counter some of the drastic losses experienced across the species in Canada.   The provincial and federal governments and other non-governmental organizations have committed to providing funding to ensure the conservation programs continue throughout 2015.  Organizations like the UTRCA are also studying the collective turtle population and are actively seeking to improve the quality of water along the Thames watershed so as to protect all wildlife that makes their habitat along the river.  The local communities have also chipped in by forming a strong network of volunteers
Threatened Spiny Softshell Turtles after nestingand donors that have been able to reach and protect a greater number of wildlife and habitats.

We are proud to say that Dispenser Amenities has committed donations to the Turtle Team this year to purchase two additional incubators, two GPS units which are used to find and track the mature turtles and one PIT Tag Scanner which is used to scan the microchips that identify the turtles.  We want to support this most important recovery effort and they need donations to carry on their critical work.

Whales Ask for Help as Ocean Pollution Increases

When a boat of fishermen,  north of Sydney, Australia, first noticed a whale nudging the side of their boat, they did what most young people would do first:  they took a  “selfie”!  However, after a few quick photos, one of the  fishermen noticed a fishing line and plastic bag entangled in the whale’s mouth.  “It was right on his lip … he seemed like he wanted it off”, one of the fishermen reported.  Other fishermen in the area attempted to pull the rubbish from the whale’s mouth, but it was a man named Mr. Iskendarian who successfully freed the whale.  Afterwards, the whale was seen slapping the water, in an apparent show of appreciation and happiness.

This case is yet another example of marine debris and the harmful effect it has on aquatic life.  Most people have the misconception that marine debris consists of just a few pieces of rubbish scattered along beaches that is of no harm to anyone. Unfortunately, this is not the case.  This type of pollution has become a pervasive problem affecting all of the world’s oceans.  It is known to be the cause of injuries or death of numerous marine animals and birds, either because they become entangled in it or they mistake it for prey, eating it.  Studies show that 44 percent of all seabirds have plastic in and around their bodies

Marine debris that is known to cause entanglement includes derelict fishing gear such as nets, mono-filament line, also six-pack rings, and fishing bait box strapping bands.  This debris can cause death by drowning, suffocation, many other symptoms of reduced feeding efficiency, and injuries caused by plastic pollution.  Particularly affected are seals and sea lions, probably due to their very inquisitive nature of investigating objects in their environment


Attempts to address the problem of marine debris range from international legislation to prevent ships from dumping plastic at sea and campaigns to prevent losses due to poor industrial practice.  Beach and seabed clean-up operations and public awareness campaigns have also been attempted.  Plastic debris originates from a wide and diverse range of sources.  Estimates suggest that much of what is found at sea originates on the land.  The effect of coastal littering and dumping is compounded by vectors such as rivers and storm drains discharging litter from inland urban areas.

Local authorities, non-government organizations and volunteers have all contributed towards coastal clean-up operations throughout the world.

This is all good, but on a daily basis there is much that we can do to keep US….and THEM healthy!!!  


There is an organization whose sole focus is the reduction of Plastic Pollution.  The Plastic Pollution Coalition has developed the following 4Rs Pledge for us all to take, to make our personal commitment more defined.


REFUSE disposable plastic whenever and wherever possible. Choose items that are not packaged in plastic, and carry your own bags, containers and utensils. Say ‘no straw, please.’ 

REUSE durable, non-toxic straws, utensils, to-go containers, bottles, bags, and other everyday items. Choose glass, paper, stainless steel, wood, ceramic and bamboo over plastic. 

REDUCE your plastic footprint. Cut down on your consumption of goods that contain excessive plastic packaging and parts. If it will leave behind plastic trash, don’t buy it. 

RECYCLE what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse. Pay attention to the entire life cycle of items you bring into your life, from source to manufacturing to distribution to disposal.

If you are interested in learning more about ocean plastic pollution and what is being done about it, please visit: Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Spooky Hotels for Halloween

1) Provincial Hotel

The haunted Provincial Hotel in New Orleans is considered to be one of the most popular locations when it comes to experiencing the spiritual world. Part of this hotel, located in the French Quarter at 1024 Chartres Street, was once a Confederate hospital.

Maids have reported seeing confederate soldiers and surgeons roaming the rooms and the halls.    There are also tales of blood stains appearing and disappearing mysteriously on bedding in certain rooms. There’s even an incidence that once, as the elevator door opened onto the second floor, the entire hospital was in view.



2) Hotel Del Coronado

The Hotel del Coronado is a luxury hotel in the City of Coronado, just across the San Diego Bay from San Diego, California. It is one of the few surviving examples of a wooden Victorian beach resort. The hotel is located immediately behind the beach, facing the Pacific Ocean. It is the largest beach resort on the North American Pacific Coast.

A famous resident of the hotel is the purported ghost of Kate Morgan. In 1892, she checked into room 302 (then 3312, now 3327), to meet with her estranged husband Tom, but he never arrived. She was found dead on the steps going to the beach six days later. The case was declared a suicide, but forensic evidence processed more than a century later revealed she was shot.



3) Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel is a 138-room Georgian-style hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Located within sight of the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Stanley offers panoramic views of the Rockies.

The hotel is reported to play host to a number of otherworldly visitors. The most notable is F. O. Stanley.  He and his twin brother invented the Stanley Steamer Automobile.  He is most often seen in the lobby and the Billiard Room, which was his favorite room when he was alive. On one such occasion, he is said to have appeared during a tour group’s visit to the Billiard Room, materializing behind a member of the tour. Bartenders at the hotel also report having seen F. O. Stanley stroll through the bar, disappearing when they try to cut him off at the kitchen.

The neoclassical hotel was the inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s novel The Shining. While King and his wife were staying at the Stanley, King conceived the basic idea for the novel!!!



4) Le Pavilion Hotel

Built in 1907, Le Pavilion New Orleans Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America and also maintains membership in the Leading Hotels of the World. It is located at 833 Poydras Street in downtown New Orleans, just down the street from the Provincial Hotel, first on our list of ‘Spooky Hotels’.

 At least four ghosts have been identified enjoying the hospitality of Le Pavilion Hotel. The hotel hired professional paranormal investigators at one point to identify the ghosts.  The research team found a total of five entities.   A young couple and a young child in the restaurant, a man on the 3rd floor and a young girl in room 930.  None of them are malevolent and do not disrupt the hotel operations!  



5) Heathman Hotel

Completed in 1927, the Heathman Hotel was replete with details evoking the Italian Renaissance and opened to reviews heralding its “surprising beauty” plus a restaurant that was described as the “finest in the city”.

The ghostly story at the The Heathman Hotel is that all the rooms ending in “03” are visited by some sort of poltergeist.  During a visit in 1999, a celebrity psychic staying in room 803 claimed to see a ghost at the end of her bed. 


6) Carolina Inn

Recognized as one of America’s “cultural resources worthy of preservation,” The Carolina Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. From the day it opened in 1924, the Inn has played an important role in the daily life of the University of North Carolina and the Chapel Hill community. 

Local legend has it that the ghost of a professor and long-time inn resident, William Jacocks,  has steadfastly retained his rights to room 252, long after his death, and taunt its future occupants.


7) Sagamore Hotel

The Sagamore in Bolton Landing has had reports of hauntings since the 1950’s. This hotel has been in Bolton Landing for more than 100 years.

Guests and staff have reported three different apparitions. A small boy, a woman in white, and a couple of lovers have been seen.


8) Cresent Hotel

The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa has a rich and fascinating history. Some of the earliest accounts  of paranormal activity are taken from the Eureka Springs Times Echo newspapers,  which is still in existence today and some  information on Dr. Norman Baker, one time owner of the Crescent Hotel who ran a “Cancer Hospital”.

Millions have now seen the incredible footage of the full-size male paranormal apparition caught on thermographic videotape by the Sci-Fi Channel’s “Ghost Hunters.” Thousands more have actually visited “the morgue” where it was“captured.” During October, a few can have the opportunity to sleep in these lower-level series of rooms that are said to be one of the most active areas here in “America’s Most Haunted Hotel,”


9) Ramada Plaza Hotel

The Ramada Plaza Hotel is a historical landmark hotel in the heart of downtown Fond du Lac, Wisconsin within walking distance of shopping, entertainment and restaurants.

Rumor has it that Walter Schoreder (a past owner) was murdered on the property and still remains.   He likes to turn on the faucets, lights, bangs on the walls, and screams.  People have reported seeing his apparition.


10) Queen Mary Hotel

After her retirement in 1967, the R.M.S Queen Mary steamed to Long Beach, California on the west coast of the United States, where she is now permanently docked as a tourist attraction.

Ghosts have been reported on board only after the ship arrived in California. Many areas of the ship are rumored to be haunted. Reports of hearing little children crying in the nursery room, actually used as the third-class playroom, and a mysterious splash noise in the drained first-class swimming pool are cited.


As recent as 1966, 18-year-old fireman John Pedder was crushed by a watertight door in the engine room during a drill, and his ghost is said to haunt the ship.

If you check into any of these hotels, especially at Halloween,  we recommend you keep a close look over your shoulder in case the ‘spirits’ have left the ‘bar’!!!  

Bio Hotel Columbia organic suites bogota D.C. logo green on white background dispenser amenities

BioHotel Organic Suites, Bogota

Last year, Dispenser Amenities was approached by one of the most fascinating hotel projects in South America: BioHotel Organic Suites. Owner Samuel Huertas was enticed by the quality and look of our new iQon Chrome Dispensers. After a short discussion, Samuel was convinced that our Dispensers were the perfect look for his innovative 72-room eco-property and had them installed in every guest shower.

                From the water treatment plant in the basement to the vertical gardens and green roof on the building’s exterior, BioHotel has sustainability sewn into its fabric. The hotel management conserved natural resources during construction by maintaining strict criteria for the building materials and methods and, as a result, BioHotel has obtained a LEED Gold status among a multitude of other eco-friendly certifications. The furniture is constructed from recycled wood, the carpets and sheets are made from 100% recycled fibres, and the mattresses are made with organic materials.Biohotel Presentation EN Revised Page 12 mid res

                On the energy side of matters, the hotel utilities natural light during the day as often as possible. Of course, some form of energy will always be required, but BioHotel tries to stay off the grid as much as possible. Its energy needs are supported by a 72 solar panels, and the “eco-gym” makes use of specialized gym equipment that transforms its users’ caloric expenditure into useful energy for the hotel. 1 hour on one of BioHotel’s elliptical powers more than 3 laptops.

The food served in the hotel’s restaurant is of the finest quality, while still maintaining the hotel’s edict of sustainability. BioHotel has made agreements with providers of organic products available locally and internationally, and even grows its own organic produce in-house. Its vegetable gardens are further complemented by beautiful vertical gardens throughout the property and a green roof.

                BioHotel was constructed to embrace sustainability without losing any luxuries. The hotel grounds include a business centre, soundproof suits, covered parking with 24-hour surveillance, a spa with a sauna, Turkish sauna, and whirlpool, and four high-tech event halls. Services offered 24 hour room service, laundry and EMR service. To cut down on plastic waste, the hotel’s high-quality bathroom amenities are supplied through Dispensers. Lastly, as a touch of home, each suite comes with a complete kitchen for guests to throw together anything from a snack to a feast. One can feel pampered at the luxurious BioHotel Organic Suites in Bogota without any of the corresponding guilt about impacting the environment.

                Clearly a great deal of thought went into both the guest experience and the hotel’s carbon footprint. Mr. Samuel Huertas truly deserves praise for this incredibly forward-thinking hotel.


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