Two Sixth Graders Raise $290 To Help Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Effort In Illinois

May 31, 2018

Sixth grade “turtle champions” Racheal and Danika (last names not released) have sponsored a pair of Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) hatchlings in the state of Illinois’ Lake County Forest Preserve District that were recently released with 86 other juvenile Blanding’s turtles.

Blanding's turtle

Ryan M. Bolton/Shutterstock

The Blanding's turtle is on the CITES list of protected species. It grows to about 9 inches in length with some males growing to 10 inches.

The “turtle champions” helped the reptiles by recycling nearly a ton of scrap metal that they sold for $290, according to the Chicago Tribune. The effort is part of an Adopt-A-Turtle campaign that is managed by the forest preserve district’s Preservation Foundation to bolster the Blanding’s turtle population in northern Illinois. The species was declared endangered by the state in 2009. The girls donated $240 toward the campaign. With the remaining monies, the girls also purchased wetland plugs and native plants to help strengthen the Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve wetlands area. 

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“They gave two Blanding’s turtle hatchlings—Guppy and Gus—a head start in life through our Adopt-a-Turtle program,” Allison Frederick, assistant public affairs manager for the forest preserve district told the Chicago Tribune. “We are thrilled to see young students directly improving local habitats. Thank you, Rachael and Danika.” 

This year marks the third year for the Adopt-a-Turtle program and those who wish to adopt a turtle for next year’s release can do so by December 1.  Adopting a turtle will enable you to name the turtle, receive email updates on its growth and progress, and meeting the turtle in person.  Around 250 hatchlings have been released via the program. For more information on adopting a turtle, visit the Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves website

The Blanding's turtle is on the CITES list of protected species. It grows to about 9 inches in length with some males growing to 10 inches. They reach sexual maturity at around 20 years old in the wild. The turtle feeds on crustaceans and other invertebrates, as well as fish, plants, dead animal matter and vegetable debris. They can live for up to 70 years.

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