by Erin Rawls, Outreach Coordinator
Every year, in the early days of summer, Northern diamondback terrapin females emerge from the marsh to lay their eggs. If you’ve visited The Wetlands Institute during those months, you might have seen a terrapin yourself, or even helped a terrapin safely cross the road and wondered – what’s that turtle’s story? Every terrapin we encounter has its own life and story, and through our 30+ years of research we’ve learned a lot!Our Terrapin Station exhibit focuses on educating visitors about these terrapins. Through generous funding from the Disney Conservation Fund, we’ve created eight different rotating “turtle profiles” that each feature a terrapin our researchers encountered that year, so that visitors can learn about the specific turtles we see on our property. Each turtle profile tells a story, and this year, our turtles range from one found trying to nest in a canoe to a recaptured terrapin that was originally tagged in 1997, making her older than several of our staff.
To make the exhibit accessible to all, we created a Virtual Terrapin Station as part of our Virtual Wetlands Experience. This online exhibit features all eight of our turtle profiles, as well as an interactive activity where virtual visitors can learn how our researchers track and monitor terrapins, and create their very own turtle profile. With additional funding from the Disney Conservation Fund, we plan to create a “Terrapins in the News” video segment, coming soon! Come check it out in person, or visit our Virtual Terrapin Station at: wetlandsinstitute.org/virtual-wetlands-experience.