Turtle Doc to Range Control – 1 PAX 1 VIC all clear of the training area.

Well folks, the time has come for me to leave Cape Cod and say goodbye to all my turtle (& human!) friends that I have made this summer. I had an absolute blast out in the field and will miss it terribly as school starts again in Urbana. LV EBT selfie

My final week in the field was busy, busy, busy! We had a list of turtles that needed to be sampled before I left, so Nicole and I set out to find them all. It seems like every time we find these turtles they get better and better at hiding themselves. On the last day, after an hour of struggling through a large patch of dense scrub oak & briar, we joked that this was the hardest level of field season and we had to defeat the final boss to make it to our last turtle.

Also, Nicole and I could NOT stop finding new turtles! It seemed that every time we LV NM turtle selfiewould start looking for one of our original turtles, we would stumble across a new one or get a call from someone on base saying they had found one. A pretty nice problem to have huh? Even though this delayed our original sampling a bit, we could not be more excited every time we got to process a new Eastern Box turtle.

LV turtle selfie

One day when we got back to the office, we called out over the radio to Range Control to let them know the training area was clear (like we do every day) and they responded with, “Roger that, Turtle Heroes.” Nicole and I embraced our new nickname, and I thought it fit perfectly with the WEL motto “Saving the world one turtle at a time.” Our whole lab in Illinois is filled with Turtle Heroes.

Now that I am back in Urbana, I have to switch gears and start processing my samples. This will involve many hours in the lab doing DNA and RNA extraction, and I am so excited to start getting results for my study!

Final Turtle Count = 163