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):

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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.

Keep informed on all things turtle (lizard, frog, and salamander) by entering an email or phone number below:

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Activities, Animations, and Games!

The eggs have started hatching!

I was met with quite a surprise yesterday afternoon when I checked on the eggs in their incubator, which is really nothing more than a food storage container half-submerged in a 10-gallon fish tank and a aquarium heater set to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius). At that temperature, most of the babies produced should grow up into females, which I am hoping might

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Well, this is a surprise!

Time to do some editing of my turtle profiles! For the past three years, I had assumed that Bloopy Beans was a male, due to a slightly concave plastron and the fact that she (formerly he) was so shy that I never saw her eyes.   Yesterday evening, however, Bloopy Beans surprised me by digging a hole with her back legs, which could only

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Funding for an idea whose time has come

Over the fifteen years that I have been a teacher, two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and fourteen years as a parent, I have become increasingly aware of a profound disconnect in modern society. As we have become more and more heavily dependent on technology in nearly every aspect of our lives, we have lost our ancient contacts with the natural world. This

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