It has been a while since our last post about the little Blanding’s turtles that we search through the wetlands to find each week. We had an incredible season last year- every turtle that was raised at KTTC and released into the wild made it in to hibernation. Our staff and volunteers will be posting to let you know how they are doing now, check out Field Technician Lynda’s first blog post of the year below:

Turtle Time

The sun is peaking through the clouds, the air temperature is minus twenty-two degrees and the wetland is covered in snow and ice.   The headstart Blanding’s turtles we released last season are out there somewhere.  After spending summer and fall tracking their movements, I left them during the cold season (I hibernate as well!)  This year it felt like a long, cold, winter so when the temperature increases to plus one,  that intuitive pre-spring bell starts ringing.  I go into what I like to call a “pre-spring awakening”…where I go into the pre-turtle phase of pure excitement about all the spring emergences that are about to start occurring.   I begin to feverishly plan all of my seasonal movements and the big moment for me is when I take out all the field equipment and camping gear and go through it piece by piece…checking it off the list…deciding what new gear I need.  After pulling out of MEC, I the begin refurbishing the canoe.  Sanding…. filling the holes…. painting…. such a beautiful thing!  After I pass through the pre-spring phase…. it’s nitty gritty time.  The weather is warmer…more importantly the lake is not frozen anymore.   It’s Turtle Time!

My first weekend out- I set up the tent and got the antennae ready.  Off I go to find some turtles!  The water levels are high, which means my canoe can get just about anywhere in the fen.   My very first turtle I tracked was real easy…. it was out sunning itself along the edge! It’s alive!

Down the list I go, headstart turtle after headstart turtle…all found alive at this site.  They made it through this cold, long winter…. but is that really surprising? Turtles are resilient; they have an innate ability to survive in the harshest circumstances…when you seemingly think that there is no way they could have endured that injury or cold weather…they keep on going.  They have survived for millions of years and have remained structurally the same; a resilient reptile that lives in a shell.  One of the beautiful lessons I receive from turtles is that in times of what seems to be chaos or unbeknownst changes there is stillness…. stillness within each of our “shells”. It reminds us that we are all going to be all right.

Turtle season has begun and so have the adventures they always take me on!!

Field Technician
Lynda Ruegg