On the last day of school, students in Carol Young’s Biology Topics class released back into the wild two baby snapping turtles they had fostered since early May.
The turtles had hatched last fall and were raised over the winter with four of their siblings by John Benjamin, teacher naturalist at the Harris Center for Conservation Education. As the six turtles grew, they needed more space, so “Toothless” and “Jerry” came to ConVal.
The students constructed a habitat for them out of a kiddie pool, rocks, silk plants, and a UV light. Every day, they fed them mealworms, sardines, and live minnows.
By mid-June the turtles had grown large enough to be released back into the wild. Together with John Benjamin, the students, class aides, and Principal Heather McKillop set out to find suitable release spaces in the greater ConVal environment.
Now Toothless, Jerry, and their siblings are fulfilling their role as top predators in the ConVal wetland and helping to keep this ecosystem healthy for the many other wildlife species that rely on it.