Girl Scouts Join Forces with the
Groton Turtle Conservation Project
On Friday May 9th, Girl Scout Troop 66109 and two high school Girl Scouts, (Mendel/Selders), met with Darcy Donald of Groton Turtle Conservation, formally the Baralock Hill Turtle Project. The scouts have chosen to work on the project as this year’s activity for their Gold and Silver awards.
The project was formed to help reduce the high injury and mortality rate of turtles on roadways in Groton by increasing the number of “Caution Turtles Crossing” road signs. It has three goals: to map roads in Groton where there are frequent turtle sightings, to inform others about the extraordinary attributes of turtles, and to raise funds for the purchase of the road signs and the creation of turtle nesting areas. Tom Delaney, the Public Works Director in Groton, will purchase and install the signs and direct nesting site construction.
The Scouts learned interesting facts about seven species of turtles found in Groton, including the Blanding's, Spotted, Box, and Wood turtles, whose dwindling numbers have caused them to be listed as species of conservation concern. The group also heard about state liscensed rehabilitators incubating turtle eggs rescued from predators and returning them to their original nesting areas when they have hatched.
Turtles must be at least 10yrs of age to be able to reproduce and the survival rate of their hatchlings is, on average, only one in 160. As ancient as the dinosaurs, turtles now face increasing threats from cars, disturbed habitats, and predators. If fortunate enough to survive, they can live for decades. The Blanding's can live for close to a century and cannot reproduce until 20 yrs of age or older. Turtles have excellent night and color vision and have intellects equal to rats when navigating mazes. Their biology as reptiles is highly complex; from lungs, kidneys, and livers that do not age to absorbing oxygen from water through specialized tissue in the throat and tail opening when submerged at the bottom of wetlands during hibernation.
The Scouts plan to begin mapping roads with high turtle activity during the egg laying season in May and June, and in August to October as hatchlings move to wetlands. They will begin fund raising projects to purchase signage in the fall, all the while researching and learning more about turtles. Two of the high school Scouts will create a website for Groton Turtle Conservation to fulfill their Juliette Program. Their combined efforts and enthusiasm should greatly improve the chances for turtle survival in Groton.
How Can You Make A Difference?
Local Girl Scouts are teaming up with the Groton Turtle Conservation to map critical areas on Groton roads where there are frequent turtle crossings. This provide signage to alert drivers. We are working to raise funds for the town of Groton to provide equipment and materials to create turtle garden nesting sites on town or conservation land where appropriate. The Girl Scouts are also educating the public about turtle behavior, their remarkable characteristics, and important turtle habitats and the many threats to their survival. These young women can help you by providing information about turtles at Groton’s Earth Day Celebration and at Groton Fest, provide information about what to do if you find turtle, and share information with individuals and organizations at the local and state level.
Obtaining donations for the town of Groton to purchase “Caution Turtle Crossing” road signs and posts.
Road Sign: $35 ea.
Post: $12 ea.
Turtle Nesting Garden - any amount is welcome to help fund this ongoing project.
If you would like to make a donation to help turtles in Groton, please send a check to:
Groton Town Hall
Attn: Tom Delaney/ Director of Public Works
173 Main Street
Groton, MA 01450
*Checks should be made out to the "Town of Groton" and earmarked: Groton Turtles, with the specific item the donation is for.