Turtle Science

 Student holding an alligator snapping turtle (photograph by Sid Davis)

Student holding an alligator snapping turtle (photograph by Sid Davis)

The new “Turtle Science” course for adults at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (St. Petersburg, Florida) is underway. Twelve students are participating in this hands-on course which introduces the study of freshwater turtles and tortoises, and is designed for college students, naturalists, educators, environmental professionals, and other interested individuals. Students will learn about the world’s most endangered group of wildlife during seven, themed monthly sessions running through May 2017. The goal is to introduce students to how wildlife research is conducted and to engage them about important global conservation issues. Classroom sessions include PowerPoint presentations on why turtles are cool, gopher tortoises and fire ecology, anatomy, feeding ecology, nesting ecology, and global conservation issues, as well as engaging hands-on activities. Field sessions include lessons on identification techniques and data collection. A field trip to Rainbow Run (Dunnellon) during the last session will provide an opportunity to canoe and snorkel in a spring-fed river supporting several turtle species.