For me, one of the sure signs of spring is a turtle basking on a log. These cold-blooded critters don’t move until temperatures are optimal, and this year it has taken quite a while to warm up! Recently I had my first seasonal sighting of these ancient reptiles on a warm, sunny day in central Massachusetts. While on a drive, we passed a local beaver pond filled with standing dead trees as well as toppled trunks. We saw a few turtles, so we stopped and scanned the pond with binoculars—there had to have been a few dozen turtles out basking on the downed trees with the sun glinting off their shells! Talk about a herd of turtles……Then, while at a meeting at DCR’s Myles Standish State Forest, I spotted my first hatchling painted turtle making its way across a path. Most likely it had hatched late last fall and overwintered nearby and was now headed to water.
Did you know turtle conservationists have declared 2011 as the Year of the Turtle? Beginning this month, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is promoting awareness about turtles, threats to turtle species, and actions we can all take to assist them. You can check out the Year of the Turtle Event Calendar filled with turtle programs offered by conservation groups across the state, attend a MassWildlife “Celebrate Turtles” event in Hanson tomorrow, May 27 where you can get close to live native turtles (both common and state listed species), help release endangered turtles, learn how turtle researchers use telemetry to track turtles, or download some interesting turtle facts and conservation information to share with others!
DFW Year of The Turtle Calendar
DFW and PARC Turtle Conservation Tips
Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) May Newsletter (PDF) – This group has declared 2011 as the Year of the Turtle. Their newsletters are a fascinating read for any person with an interest in turtles.
Northeast PARC website – Information about turtles in the Northeastern US.
Some of you may recall the Turtle Road Crossings blog from last summer
The Turtles are Coming posted on Aug 29
With a migration pattern that stretches thousands of miles, it is no surprise that Massachusetts is home to four types of turtles during the summer, all of them protected by local and international law. And while you probably know that sea turtles often frequent the Massachusetts beaches, can you identify them?
2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: August posted on Aug 25
Augusts’ Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Cara Peterson, who photographed a high tunnel greenhouse at Flats Mentor Farm in Lancaster.
Not From Around Here: Green Crabs posted on Aug 22
As part of its work to assess salt marsh health, staff from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) have frequently observed abundant green crabs, often burrowing in the banks of marsh creeks. This summer, CZM is examining the potential impacts of green crabs in salt marsh habitats, including the impact of burrowing activity.