Where do wood turtles go when no one is watching them?
Biologist Sara Crayton began radio tracking these elusive turtles to find out.
As of the Audubon Community Nature Center’s First Friday on Dec. 3, area residents can join the University of West Virginia doctoral student at “Following the Wood Turtles” to learn more about their natural history, conservation efforts and ongoing research. Crayton’s doctoral work focuses on the responses of wood turtle populations to landscape alteration for oil and gas development in Pennsylvania. She will share what she has learned about this amazing species, its habits and how human activity affects them.
Wood turtles are a semi-aquatic species that spend much of spring, summer, and fall roaming upland forests before hibernating in streams all winter. They can live up to 60 years in the wild, make remarkable long-distance trips and exhibit fascinating behaviors. Unfortunately, the species is now in sharp decline and is considered globally threatened.
ACNC Public Engagement Specialist Jeff Tome last summer took eight tweens and teens from Audubon’s Reptile Roundup teen camp to the Crayton study site. “in the middle of nowhere” in the Allegheny National Forest. They spent the day using his equipment, searching for wood turtles and other animals. She let the children take measurements, weigh the turtles and use the equipment. As Tome described it, “It was pretty cool – I would have paid for the experience! “
From Farmington, Pa., Crayton received her BS in Biology from Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa., Where she conducted research on the signaling behavior of wolf spiders. As an intern at The Wilds in Ohio, she trapped turtles in a salvaged open pit and raised Hellbenders at an advance facility. She has carried out inventories of wildlife along the Missouri River, from small owls to netting saws and captured hawks. His master’s research at the University of West Virginia investigated whether populations of stream salamanders are affected by the insecticide imidacloprid.
The fee for this program is $ 8, or $ 6 for Nature Center members and children ages 9 to 15.
Space is limited. Reservations are appreciated by calling 569-2345 or by going to AudubonCNC.org and clicking on “Upcoming programs”. Walk-ins are welcome.
For the first Friday, the chairs are set up in a socially distant manner. Participants who meet can sit together.
Audubon is taking regional data from Chautauqua and Warren counties into consideration when making COVID-19-related decisions and following CDC recommendations at a minimum. To view ACNC’s most recent COVID-19 requirements, which include information on face covers and collection limitations, visit AudubonCNC.org and read the COVID-19 advisory at the top of the page. The Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, a quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. Take in the grounds, with its six miles of trails, and Liberty, Audubon’s unreleasable bald eagle, from dawn to dusk daily, for free.
The Nature Center’s three-story building houses interactive exhibits, a collection of live animals, including the Hellbender exhibit, the 2021 Nature Photography Contest winners, and the Blue Heron gift shop. Visitors are welcome Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 4:30 pm Members of the Center de la nature enjoy free entry to the building every day, and admission at the building is also free every Sunday for non-members of the Center de la nature.
The building will be closed on Christmas Eve and Day and New Year’s Day.
To learn more about Audubon and its programs, call 569-2345, find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook, or visit AudubonCNC.org.