Connecting communities through local wildlife.
Welcome to Teacher Turtles, where prehistoric creatures meet the modern world. This project has grown from population studies of box turtles at Riverside Elementary School in Princeton, NJ, which is now expanding to other schools. Materials produced through this project will be aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) on ecosystems, life stages, human impact on the environment, and heredity.
Participating locations (click to learn more):
Why study turtles?
Turtles force a long view towards conservation. Many species can live for at least a hundred (or more) years, encouraging us to think over spans of centuries. They also live on every continent except Antarctica, in nearly all types of habitat, from the Blanding’s turtles of Canada to the side-neck turtles of Argentina, and from the Horsfield’s tortoise of Uzbekistan to the Speke’s hinge-back tortoise of South Africa. Nearly everywhere one goes, chances are that turtles live close–which makes them a great resource for citizen scientists to study local wildlife. With the knowledge gained comes awareness of the threats that turtles face, and the need for environmental protection–both for our own well-being and that of our cold-blooded neighbors!
Whenever possible, we will seek to incorporate cutting-edge research tools in our investigations, from DNA sequencing to digital photography, Bluetooth-enabled tracking tags, and digital recognition software. As this project grows, we will post plenty of “makerspace” projects that will give students the opportunity to develop career-building skills!
Please feel free to click around, read our blogs, learn about our participating locations, and find out what we’re doing.