We had an exciting find on the grounds recently. Our campers were the first to discover a wood turtle that has not been seen for decades on our 950-acre Watershed Reserve. We were fortunate enough to confirm the sighting on a second outing on the reserve and we’ve alerted the state of New Jersey.
The wood turtle, Glyptemys insculpta, was added to the state’s threatened species list in 1979 because of habitat loss and stream degradation throughout the state. A threatened species is one that could become endangered if efforts are not taken to protect it and the places where it lives.
Marisa Branin said her son, Connor, was in the camper group that discovered the rare turtle. “As soon as I picked him up from camp, his counselor mentioned they saw a wood turtle. Connor was so excited because ‘it is so special because they are threatened, but not endangered, and they haven’t seen any at the Watershed in a long time.'”
The Watershed Reserve has been considered a home for these turtles, but we had not had an actual sighting of these turtles in years. We are thrilled to have found this unique turtle that resides in both water and earthy environments.
Wood turtles prefer to live away from populated areas and look for clean water free of litter and other pollution for mating, feeding, hibernation, and land habitats for foraging and egg-laying.
We must continue to protect our water and land resources to keep threatened species like the wood turtle off the endangered species list.