May 19th 2016


Forest Glen Preserve is my absolute favorite site to search for turtles in Vermilion County!! What makes this endeavor even more spectacular is that we had guests from the Box Turtle Conservation Workshop hike with us to search for eastern box turtles.


The Box Turtle Conservation Workshop was held the weekend after this search effort. Professionals involved in their own turtle projects, or who just love turtles, came to the event to listen to speakers present their research. Students from Wildlife Epidemiology Lab were even involved by presenting research of their own!


At Forest Glen, we captured twelve turtles in total during a 2 hour search with the trained canines.

for glen

Trail map of Forest Glen from the Vermilion County Conservation District.


The Wildlife Epidemiology Lab hosted turtle lovers from North America and Mexico. Here is part of the crowd during a break in presentations.

Overview of 12 turtles captured today


Three of the turtles were found by humans, rather than the canine team.


Two of the twelve turtles captured were recaptures.


Five of the Eastern Box Turtles were females and five were males. Two of the turtles had unknown sexes due to being too young to distinguish.


Three turtles were juveniles, while nine were adults.


Katie Hayward is taking a break from the heat by posing with the best turtle in the world. Obviously needed!

forest glen

Evan and a few of our guests, from the box turtle workshop, hiking in search of our beloved Eastern Box Turtles.

Here are the abnormalities of note from this search effort:

  • Erosion on carapace
  • Flaking and pitting on carapace
  • Predator injuries
  • Fused digits

One of the canines showing off the turtle that she captured. Way too cute!

Box Turtle Conservation Workshop

During the conference, attendees had the opportunity to participate in the turtle shell repair lab!

All shapes and sizes of turtles tend to seek out roads. They want to bask on the wonderful warmth! Unfortunately, this is detrimental and hit-by-car is a common presentation for turtles admitted to wildlife rehabilitation centers, like the Wildlife Medical Clinic at the University of Illinois.

During the wet lab, attendees used a hammer on the 3D printed turtles to simulate the turtles getting hit by cars. Then the attendees were taught how to mend the shell fractures as if it were a real life scenario. This is an important skill to learn as a veterinarian that is interested in wildlife, or just turtles because they are amazing!


We decided to take a ‘shell-fie’ at the conference. Some of the faces of Wildlife Epidemiology Lab: Kayla, Marta, Brittany, Grace, and Dr. Matt Allender.


Kelsey Low collaborates with both W.E.L. and Illinois Natural History Survey. During the conference she spoke of how turtles are freeze tolerant. How freaking cool!


Evan spoke about the turtle body temperatures collected by the thermography camera, a.k.a. his toy from last summer.


Dr. Laura Adamovicz, a veterinarian and PhD student associated with W.E.L., presented mortality events that our lab has investigated.


3D printed Eastern Box Turtle for the turtle shell repair wet lab. Marta even painted all of them!


John Rucker, the trainer and owner of the canine search team, presented at the conference! He noted the importance of prairie grass for the survival of juvenile box turtles.


Grace has basically been involved with the Wildlife Epidemiology Lab…forever. It is fitting that she presented on co-pathogen data that we have been collecting for years!


I presented on our canine team capturing Eastern Box Turtles in Tennessee and Illinois! Other data that we collect, like environmental data or turtle health parameters, helps us evaluate the search method that we use.


Brittany presented her summer project about transmission of ranavirus through mosquitoes!

The Box Turtle Conservation Workshop was held at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and was hosted by the Wildlife Epidemiology Lab. Check out our twitter page!!