In its third and final year, the Maine Turtle Roadkill Survey is seeking volunteers to walk along roadways in search of turtles. This project, which depends on public participation, is an effort to pinpoint locations where turtles are at high risk of being struck by vehicles.
To get more people involved, the project is hosting two free volunteer training sessions this month, one in Houlton and one in Bath.
“It’s really about protecting our native species, including our common species,” said the project’s coordinator Sarah Haggerty, who is a conservation biologist at the Maine Audubon. “Roadkill can have such an impact on a population.”
This citizen science project is led by the Maine Audubon in partnership with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Department of Transportation, with funding through the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.
Volunteers commit to walking along specific road segments, documenting turtles — live or dead — and any other roadkill or live animals at risk of harm from the roadway. The routes are less than 1 mile long, and volunteers are asked to collect data at least three times between May and September.
“There’s 22 million acres in Maine and just a handful of wildlife biologists, most of whom don’t work on roadkill,” Haggerty said. “To be able to collect enough data with enough geographic spread to really get a full understanding of what’s going on really requires volunteers.”
Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.
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