Spring looks like it may have begun and turtles are waking up from hibernation. Spotted turtles have already been out and about for a month or so and even the non-native, red-eared slider is out basking. Please consider joining the citizen science project, the Connecticut Turtle Atlas.
With this Bruce Museum Citizen Science initiative, the Connecticut Turtle Atlas invites the public to assist in conserving the State’s rich turtle diversity. Last year (the first of the project) 32 participants recorded 136 observations for nine species throughout the State. Turtles are currently the most endangered vertebrate animal group, with approximately 58% of the world’s species threatened with extinction.
Twelve species are native to Connecticut; some, such as the wood, bog, spotted, and box turtles are in decline.
Volunteers for the Connecticut Turtle Atlas will collect data on specific locations and the abundance of all turtle species found throughout the state. These volunteer scientists will record the data online or through a smartphone-based app using the iNaturalist.org platform. The information gathered will be used to map distributions, identify important habitats, locate areas of nesting abundance, and detect roadways with high traffic-related mortality. In addition, there may be opportunities to assist with various aspects of turtle research and fieldwork.