Unique Reptile Conservation and Education Programs

23 Jun

Hello all conservation minded reptile aficionados.  I would like to let all of you know a little bit about two of the reptile research, conservation and public education projects that I am conducting at Earthshine Mountain Lodge near the town of Brevard in Western North Carolina.

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The first project is Turtle Tracks is a unique wildlife conservation,  research and environmental education  program that is studying the Eastern Box Turtle.  We have been following several wild Eastern box turtles with mark-recapture and radio telemetry techniques since 2008.  Our goals are to  learn as much as we can about their natural movements, habits, habitats and interactions with humans and our domestic animals in fragmented habitats and to teach people about the lives of these beautiful creatures  that we share our world and existence with.  It is our belief that with education comes understanding, respect and then conservation and preservation.

Make the theme of your next vacation reptile conservation and visit us at  Earthshine Lodge.   At Earthshine you and your family will meet our education turtles,  learn about the Eastern box turtle and then take a turn using the radio telemetry equipment to help us locate a wild box turtle as you journey out into the fields and forests with us on your very own turtle tracking expedition.  You and your family will have the rare opportunity to experience what it is like to be a wildlife researcher following in the tracks of a wild box turtle in its native habitat!  Not only will you help locate one or more of our study animals but you will also help us collect data that will be part of a larger database that one day will ultimately help conserve and protect the humble and beautiful Eastern box turtle.

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You can learn more about the Turtle Tracks program on our website and sign up for updates from the Turtle Tracks project by following our blog.

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Many turtle tracking expeditions are filmed by Steve and placed on his Youtube.com site where you can watch your field expedition online once you return home and for years to come.  Also, check out a video compilation of the 2008 turtle tracking season below to see Turtle Tracks in action!

Our second program is Snake Tracks and, like Turtle Tracks,  it is also a wildlife conservation,  research and environmental education  program that is studying the Timber Rattlesnake.

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Currently, we are following the movements of two wild Timber rattlesnakes with radio telemetry techniques in order to learn more about their natural movements in the deep forests near Earthshine Lodge.  We have named the male snake Utsa’nätï –the Cherokee word for Rattlesnake and the female snake Zoe–Greek for life.  As with the box turtles we plan to follow these snakes for several years in order to learn all that we can about their travels in order to  educate visitors to Earthshine and viewers like you on the interesting, beautiful and greatly misunderstood life of the Timber rattlesnake.  We will bring you updates on their travels on the Earthshine Nature Programs Blog in the form of photos, videos and maps but unlike Turtle Tracks we do not plan to take folks into the field in search of these snakes or reveal their exact locations…for obvious reasons.

However: if you are a herpetologist, biologist, naturalist or scientist with a genuine interest, adequate safety equipment, and a valid reason to visit the rattlesnakes then there is a possibility that you could accompany Steve into the field on a tracking day.

Take a look at one of the most recent videos of Snake Tracks below.

You may also be interested in watching the video of the radio transmitter implantation on Utsanati below.  Note: My videos are longer than many found on  Youtube because I am not trying to create pop art–I am attempting to actually educate the viewer on wildlife and nature conservation so I do not leave much material out.

If you are a friend of herps and find these animals as remarkable and beautiful as I do, then consider bringing your family to Earthshine Mountain Lodge for a one of a kind fun filled all inclusive Blue Ridge mountain vacation that includes your favorite animals–reptiles and amphibians!

Other herp related activities we offer:

Nature/Science Education Center

Critter Hunt guided nature hike focusing on cover board/tin site surveys and conservation based field herping.

Creek Hike searching for native salamanders–this hike ends in a natural rock water slide.

And more!

For more details on Earthshine Mountain Lodge visit our website.

For more about Earthshine Nature Programs please visit our website.

Follow our projects on the Earthshine Nature Blog.

Earthshine Nature Programs is a small, grass roots 501c3 non profit striving to educate people about the beauty and importance of the misunderstood creatures of the world, reptile and wildlife conservation and our place in the circle of life and energy in the universe.


One Response to “Unique Reptile Conservation and Education Programs”

  1. Leonard Marks 07/04/2012 at 4:49 am #

    great post

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