September 21, 2023
Florida’s springs, rivers, and lakes have a large number of turtle species, some doing well but others in need of conservation help. Turtle populations reflect populations of macro-invertebrates, fish, and the quantity and type of vegetation in the water body. They are a window onto the health of our aquatic ecosystems.
To guide conservation efforts, population data is essential. Turtle surveys began at Wekiwa Springs State Park in 1999, with one to three sampling sessions a year through 2011, to assess the continued impact of development surrounding the park. Biologists and volunteers search for turtles by snorkeling, and collect, tag and release them to recapture the next year.
Wayne Osborne, a biologist and volunteer on this project, will share details about survey and conservation efforts. He’ll also share how to identify our local turtle species, bringing several species for us to see up close.
Take the opportunity to learn to identify species seen in Central Florida, including the Florida Softshell, Common Snapping Turtle, Striped Mud Turtle, Loggerhead Musk Turtle, Florida Redbelly Cooter, Peninsula Cooter, and the Red-eared Slider, an invasive species from the pet trade.
Join us at Leu Gardens for a fascinating program, suitable for all ages. Alan Shapiro, Programs Chair