Citizen Scientists Needed To Monitor Turtle Crossings

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LENOX, Mass. — Turtles have existed for millions of years, but roadways are threatening the survival of local populations. A state coalition is seeking volunteers to help monitor the turtle vs. motor vehicle action.

Turtles often cross roadways from late spring to early fall and are vulnerable to car collisions. Ambitious citizen scientists, turtle enthusiasts, and conservation organizations are encouraged to join state wildlife and transportation personnel in collecting data for the Turtle Roadway Mortality Monitoring Program.

The state is especially looking for crossing "hot spots" at which multiple turtles are killed.

Linking Landscapes for Massachusetts Wildlife, a recent partnership between the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Department of Transportation Highway Division and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, trained volunteers to collect data in 2010. It is expanding its volunteer program this year by offering two citizen scientist information and training sessions in Amherst and Westborough.

These sessions are designed to train new volunteers, acknowledge current volunteer efforts, and share results from the first year of data collection. The information gathered through this volunteer effort will be used to coordinate local turtle conservation efforts.

There will also be an information and training session on Wednesday, May 16, at United Methodist Church, 6 Holmes Road, starting at 6:30 p.m. The event will be co-sponsored by Berkshire Environmental Action Team and Project Native. The sessions are free, but advance registration is required. Interested volunteers can register with Dave Paulson at David.Paulson@state.ma.us or call him at 508-389-6366.

Tags: monitoring,   turtles,   wild animals,   

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