Grassroots Efforts: What can you do to help?

Attend Conservation Committee meetings.
The conservation committees of most towns consist of volunteers doing their best in the face of heavy workloads. The more people who attend Con Com meetings, the more it is understood that there is a true mandate for preservation of open space.

Contact towns about their mowing schedule.
In June turtles leave the water in search of a place to nest. Often they choose sites close to the road where sunlight is able to penetrate. Mowing during this time likely causes many turtle deaths. Hatchlings emerge from nests in August and early September. Mowing at this time also is hazardous.

Work to have roadside mowing done prior to June and after Sept.
Note that birds who nest at roadsides are also helped by this schedule.

Put up TEMPORARY signage at spring turtle crossings.
There are often specific points where turtles cross on their way to spring nesting. Temporary signs are noticed because they are something new to drivers’ eyes. There is little use in permanent signs that become “invisible” to local drivers. Temporary signs, simple and bold, can be made for little cost at your local office supply store.

Reduce the raccoon population.
The raccoon populations of suburbia are far higher than in the wild. Numerous studies show over 95% of turtle nests being destroyed by raccoons. Raccoons are also responsible for immense losses of songbird nests.

Do NOT feed raccoons.
The best way to reduce the raccoon population is to reduce the amount of available food. If you compost, make the bin raccoon proof. Report dumpsters that are not kept closed. Don’t be fooled by cute.

Play a part in your local land trust.
You don’t have to be a member of the board. Offer to help in some small way and see where it goes.
Project Updates
Michael Jones (UMASS Amherst) continues his work with Wood Turtles. Learn more.

Liz Willey (UMASS Amherst) continues her research on Eastern Box Turtles. Learn more.

Lori Johnson (Antioch) starts her research on Musk Turtles. Learn more.
Turtle of the Month
Eastern Box Turtle
This turtle gets its name from being able to close its shell completely for protection. Learn more about box turtles.
Turtle Videos and Photos
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