Tuesday, April 5, 2011



An eastern box turtle at SVT's Memorial Forest, photographed by Dick McWalter. Join us for the The Great Turtle Search, which will run from the end of March to mid-June.
SVT and the City of Marlborough will be conducting a citizen-science survey of turtles in Memorial Forest in Sudbury and the adjacent Desert Conservation land in Marlborough. The 2011 Great Turtle Search will survey common and rare turtles living in the area to gain a general sense of turtle presence on the properties. Following a kick-off Community Turtle Education Day on April 9th and a Spring Break Survey for students on April 21st, a series of small group surveys with 5-10 volunteers will take place throughout the spring.
Dates for the remaining small group surveys are listed below and registration details for each are posted on our Calendar Page.
If you are interested, please contact Erin Snook, 978-443-5588 x 21.
Volunteer to be a Surveyor!
Search for turtles on Memorial Forest property with training provided by a Team Leader. After initial training, a Team Leader will guide surveyors by recommending specific areas and techniques to search for turtles. Surveyors will be asked to fill out a data sheet when turtles are sighted. This information will be used to inform our property management plans and stewardship activities. Each small group survey will last about 2 hours.
Volunteer to be a trap-checker!
Help as part of a team to check aquatic turtle traps by visiting the properties for your turn once a week for about 2-3 hours in May. Training is required and trap checkers will be asked to sign up for at least 2 dates. You’ll need to be comfortable walking in the water and handling turtles found in the traps.
Background information
The Desert Natural Area, a unique cluster of conservation lands in Sudbury and Marlborough, has some particularly special habitat potential. The area is known for its well-drained, sandy soils in which you will find large spans of White pine and clumps of the Pitch pine-Scrub Oak forest type -- a nationally declining habitat. Pitch pine-Scrub oak forests provide homes for birds such as Eastern towhees and Whip-poor-whill, both of which have been experiencing population declines in recent years. The sandy soils and wetlands provide great homes and nesting grounds for turtles.
SVT is planning some forest management and habitat restoration activities to promote these special habitats in Memorial Forest and wants the public to be as informed as possible. To foster communications between SVT, neighboring landowners and the general public about changes to the landscape, we are hosting several outreach and education events in Memorial Forest.
The Great Turtle Search will be a fun way to get locals involved in and educated about their neighborhood forest and its habitat potential. Volunteer survey days will begin with a discussion about wildlife habitat, threats to rare turtles and basic search and identification techniques. They will end with volunteers searching for, photographing and logging the turtles we find.

Sudbury Valley Trustees | 18 Wolbach Road | Sudbury MA 01776

Source: http://www.sudburyvalleytrustees.org/?q=spring-turtle-surveys

1 comment:

C.A. Chicoine said...

MARLBOROUGH - The slow-poke subjects of this search won't be difficult to capture. Finding them is the hard part.

It's called "The Great Turtle Search," a series of 15 excursions through local conservation areas meant to count the local turtle population and teach the public about ways to help the shelled reptiles.

Led by the Sudbury Valley Trustees, who are working with the city of Marlborough and the General Federation of Women's Clubs, local residents are invited to participate in a survey of turtle populations in the Desert Natural Area from April to June.

"This is mostly for education, but also it's going to benefit the (trustees) because we're drawing people into the idea of conservation and involving them in a hands-on activity," said Erin Snook, the trustees' community outreach coordinator. "This involves training from a team leader on how to survey for turtles, how to identify turtles and how to handle the wildlife."
Snook, a member of AmeriCorps hired to helped with the trustees' community outreach, said she decided to start the project to get the public more involved in the organization's conservation efforts.

The first group of volunteers came April 9 to the 615-acre property that straddles Sudbury, Marlborough and Hudson to search for turtle species common to the region. The area is called "The Desert" because of its well-drained sandy soil.
"We found four painted turtles, which are pretty common," Snook said. "We also found some musk turtles and snapping turtles."
Marlborough Conservation Officer Priscilla Ryder, part of the April 9 program, said she was most surprised with the number of people interested.

"I knew we had populations of turtles, but not that there were as many people who love turtles and want to protect them," Ryder said. "It's pretty impressive about how many turtle people there are."
Although the main focus of the survey is to record the population and species of turtles found, Snook said some participants will be able to determine the age and sex of the species.

"You can count the growth rings on the plates (of the turtle's shell), and each equals a year," Snook said.
The turtles migrate back toward the streams to nest after a winter of living in forest areas, drawn by warm weather.

Because turtles love to bask in the sun on warm days, Snook said residents could also volunteer for an "on call" list, where they will be called to survey on days that the weather is perfect for searching.

To register for a day, contact Snook at sudburyvalleytrustees.org. The program is free and open to the public but is limited to 10 volunteers a day.

Open dates are: April 21 (specifically for kids and families on spring vacation), April 27, May 7, 8, 11, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and June 5, 18 and 24.
Sudbury Valley Trustees is a regional land trust that works to conserve land in the Concord, Sudbury and Assabet river basins and protects area wildlife, with the goal of preserving for the benefit of future generations. Programs include vernal pool monitoring, wildlife photography projects and day trips to local conservation lands for hiking, boating or wildlife education.

Local residents can become members.
(Kelleigh Welch can be reached at 508-490-7475 or kwelch@wickedlocal.com.)
Copyright 2011 The MetroWest Daily News. Some rights reserved

Read more: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/archive/x1890541065/Sudbury-Valley-Trustees-include-Marlborough-residents-in-turtle-survey#ixzz1KFTWpZog