Bald Head Island Conservancy

Notes From the Classroom: New Educational Program Teaches Totally on Turtles

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by Heather Bariso, Education Technician

The Education Department of the Bald Head Island Conservancy is very excited to announce a new upcoming program called Totally Turtles! Our program is an excellent opportunity for families to learn about the many turtles that live on Bald Head Island. We recently introduced this program for the first time with The Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Bariso demonstrates how TEDs work on traps

During this program, Conservancy educators will introduce participants to the unique adaptations that help turtles survive in their habitats. The program covers a range of topics such as the differences between shell shape and size, webbed versus stump-like feet, and what all of the turtles eat. 

Totally Turtles also showcases threatened species such as the Diamondback Terrapin and the importance of utilizing Terrapin Excluder Devices (TEDs) when crabbing! Our program stemmed from my Fall 2022 internship research project on crab size ratios while using TEDs in Bald Head Creeks.

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Students measure the carapace of a Leatherback

Additionally, this is a great opportunity for kids (and adults) to get an immersive experience and learn what it’s like to work as a member of our Sea Turtle Protection Team. Participants have the opportunity to scan for PIT tags and measure the turtles just like we would out in the field.

The program also includes a live animal encounter where participants can meet and interact with various turtles found on the island, such as Musk turtles, Box turtles, and Yellow-bellied sliders.

Click here to view and register for summer educational program offerings.


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