If you’ve ever swerved to avoid an animal in the road, or stopped to help a turtle cross the street, then you need to clear your calendar for Wednesday, March 11. One of the greatest threats that Maine’s turtles face is making it across roads safely as they make their slow and steady way from wintering grounds to nesting sites and back again, and you can help reduce this threat.
For slow-moving species like turtles, getting across a roadway alive is a real challenge. And for species that live a long time but don’t reproduce until they’re quite old, losing just a few breeding adults annually can lead to a declining population, or even local extinction.
To help address this problem, the Maine Turtle Roadkill Survey project, which began in 2018, enlists community science volunteers to monitor roadways around Maine to help identify which species of turtles are crossing where — and which road crossings are most hazardous. Specific routes have been identified as sites where turtle crossings may be more likely, and volunteers are needed to survey those routes.
Two sessions to train volunteers are taking place in March:
Wednesday, March 11, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Houlton High School, 7 Bird St.
Saturday, March 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 1100 Washington St. in Bath.
Participants will be trained in turtle species identification, road safety, and proper data collection methods. They are asked to survey routes at least three times during the active season (May through September).
Training is free, but registration is required. Contact Maine Audubon Conservation Assistant Hannah Young, 207-781-2330 ext. 219 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to register.
Registration is also available online at:
The Maine Turtle Roadkill Survey project is a partnership between Maine Audubon, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, and MaineDOT. It was funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation.
Maine Audubon works to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people in education, conservation, and action. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization, Maine Audubon has eight wildlife sanctuaries, 10,000 members, 2,000 volunteers, and serves more than 50,000 people annually. For more information, visit maineaudubon.org.