Year of the Turtle Partners

Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) is an inclusive partnership dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians and their habitats. Members come from all walks of life, and this diversity of membership makes PARC the most comprehensive conservation effort ever undertaken for amphibians and reptiles.

The IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group is one of the more than 100 Specialist Groups and Task Forces that constitute the working network of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). Their mission is to identify and document threats to the survival of all species of tortoises and freshwater turtles and to help catalyze conservation action to ensure that none become extinct and that sustainable populations of all species persist in the wild.

The Turtle Conservancy is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization “for the conservation of turtles and tortoises around the world.” Since 2005 the Conservancy has supported a highly successful breeding program at the Behler Chelonian Center along with many other in situ research projects, adding to knowledge of chelonians.

The Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) was formed as an IUCN partnership for sustainable captive management of freshwater turtles and tor toises. The mission of the TSA is “transforming passion for turtles into effective conservation action through a global network of living collections and recovery programs.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a bureau within the U.S. Department of the Interior. Our mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

The Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) brings together people interested in advancing their knowledge of Virginia’s reptiles and amphibians. The VHS encourages scientific study of Virginia herpetofauna and its conservation and education.

Year of the Turtle Collaborating Partners

Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is active in two initiatives to preserve and assist in the propagation of Gopher Tortoises and Alabama’s Red Belly Turtle. ALDOT received the 2009 Regional Director’s Conservation Award from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service for its continued efforts in the recovery of fish and wildlife resources in Alabama, including establishing an 800-acre conservation bank for the threatened gopher tortoise. ALDOT’s mission is to provide a safe, efficient, environmentally sound transportation network across Alabama.

American Tortoise Rescue was founded to provide for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle. We offer permanent sanctuary to abandoned and lost tortoises. We also provide information about the care, feeding, and rehabilitation of endangered and captive-bred tortoises. We also work to protect the desert tortoise from collectors, off-road vehicles, and loss of habitat. American Tortoise Rescue has sponsored World Turtle Day on May 23 since it was created in 2000.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) is a state agency whose mission is to conserve, enhance, and restore Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and habitats through protection and management programs, and to provide wildlife resources and safe watercraft and off-highway vehicle recreation for the enjoyment, appreciation, and use by present and future generations. AGFD’s Turtles Project manages and conserves Arizona’s turtle species through statewide population monitoring, creation and implementation of state conservation agreements, public outreach, and coordination between state, federal, and private agencies.

The Association of Reptilian & Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) is a not-for-profit international organization of veterinarians, veterinary technicians and students, and herpetologists. The organization was founded in 1991 with the goal to improve reptile and amphibian husbandry and veterinary care through education, exchange of ideas, and research. ARAV promotes conservation and humane treatment of reptiles and amphibians through education, captive breeding, and habitat preservation. ARAV publishes the Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery, organizes an annual conference, and provides funding for research.

Australian Freshwater Turtle Conservation and Research Association (AFTCRA), Inc.‘s mission is to protect all Australian Freshwater Turtle species and to prevent extinction by ensuring sustainable populations can and do exist in the wild. Our current activities are conducting field research and promoting awareness through education. We intend to establish an education centre plus establish assurance colonies and breeding programs of threatened species. We also hope to be able to fund small research projects in collaboration with Australian universities.

Australian Freshwater Turtles Forum is a not-for-profit organisation with over 4,500 members dedicated not only to educating people with the most up to date freshwater turtle husbandry to provide a happy and rewarding life for turtles bred and kept in captivity, but also the preservation and conservation of freshwater turtles throughout the world. Our members have organised and participated in many rescues of freshwater turtles around Australia that have been put in danger by human activities and changing climatic conditions.

The AZA Chelonian Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) examines the conservation needs of chelonians (turtles) and develops recommendations for population management and conservation based upon the needs of the species and those of AZA-accredited institutions. The Chelonian TAG develops action plans that identify essential goals, scientific investigations, and conservation initiatives needed to best serve ex situ and in situ turtle populations.

Biotopo Rain Forest is a natural reserve that contains habitat with natural formations and very significant flora and fauna species for science and the natural environment. Here, wildlife has been little altered by the actions of man. The reserve has been created with the purpose of providing a protected natural space to conserve a representative sample of the tropical Pacific forests of Nariño in south Colombia. Turtle species here include Chelydra acutirostris and Rhinoclemmys nasuta.

The Global Wildlife Trust, Inc. (GWT) d.b.a. Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo is dedicated to broadening human understanding of the animal world through the public’s immersion in naturalistic habitat recreations and educational programs. This year they are excited to announce the “Turtles Forever -1,001 Turtles” exhibit, open from May through October in support of Year of the Turtle.

Chelonian Connection is an independent behavioral laboratory now in Oregon, which, through socialization and training, explores turtles’ cognitive abilities and potential. A goal, by means of our public lectures and demonstrations, trainings, Web presence, and publications in process, is to continue to arouse interest and respect for chelonian species that lead to positive attitudes and involvement in turtle conservation efforts.

The Centre for Coastal Environmental Conservation (CCEC) is a grassroots, local environmental non-governmental organization based in Khulna, Bangladesh, that works toward the protection and sustainable management of coastal ecosystems in Bangladesh. CCEC’s goal is to save coastal communities from sea level rise and global climate change by involving local coastal people in grassroots efforts to promote and enact environmental protection strategies.

The Center for North American Herpetology serves as a data bank for information about North American amphibians, turtles, reptiles, and crocodilians, and promotes research on them by financial support of selected publications, photography, and any other appropriate medium, as well as the establishment of awards for excellence in research about these fascinating creatures.

Chelonian Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1992 for the production, publication, and support of worldwide turtle and tortoise research, with an emphasis on the scientific basis of chelonian diversity and conservation biology.

Colorado Reptile Humane Society works to improve the lives of reptiles and amphibians in captivity and in the wild through education and action. We accomplish our mission by providing shelter and proper husbandry while securing permanent homes for the animals; providing captive care education to the public; participating in conservation efforts locally and internationally; and engaging in rehabilitation and release of native species. Our annual event is The Reptile Experience, and we will be using the Year of the Turtle as our theme this year.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s Wildlife Division (CT DEP Wildlife Division) is a state agency that has developed a number of programs to manage wildlife and contribute to diversified and healthy wildlife populations throughout the state. The CT DEP Wildlife Division is engaged in a comprehensive outreach and education effort to make the public more aware of the wildlife that can be found throughout the state. In 2011 the CT DEP Wildlife Division also has made a commitment to inform Connecticut residents about the state’s native turtles through monthly press releases, articles and species profiles in issues of the bimonthly magazine, Connecticut Wildlife, a children’s art contest, and related events.

Dallas-Fort Worth Herpetological Society is a 501c3 organization with a strong conservation ethic and focus on natural history and science. We were at the forefront of a move to protect box turtles in Texas from commercial exploitation (through the Box Turtle Partnership of Texas) and have been involved in herpetological surveys at two nearby nature centers. We partner with the Fort Worth Nature Center annually for an educational event that teaches hundreds of citizens about snakes and other herps of our area, and are involved in a variety of other educational events throughout the year.

Since 1946, the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Connecticut has provided visitors and the community with experiential science programs that further the mission to inspire and nurture appreciation and scientific understanding of the natural world and foster a personal environmental ethic. DPNC serves 50,000 people yearly with environmental science programs. The Nature Center is a private, not-for-profit organization funded by admission fees, memberships and contributions. With 10 miles of trails, live animals, and a natural history museum, many recreational and educational opportunities are provided.

The Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Las Vegas was created in 2009 when the San Diego Zoo partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Bureau of Land Management, and the Nevada Department of Wildlife to apply its expertise to desert tortoise conservation by managing basic husbandry and veterinary care, conducting health screenings, operating the pet desert tortoise pick-up service and offering callers to the Conservation Center tortoise care education. The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research is also using its experience in the reintroduction of wild animals to build upon previous desert tortoise translocation research and is implementing conservation research projects to help advance the science of population management for this species.

DFW Turtle & Tortoise Club was created to exchange ideas and information in order to create a better understanding of the care of turtles and tortoises with a focus, though not exclusively, in the Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas area.

The Dutch-Belgian Turtle and Tortoise Society is involved in international conservation projects for chelonians. Our society facilitates information on conservation projects and information on welfare, husbandry and breeding of tortoises and turtles by organizing meetings three times a year in The Netherlands and Belgium, by our magazine Trionyx, and through our website.

Earthshine Nature Programs is a small nature and outreach center in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina. Our focus is on the conservation of the Eastern Box Turtle and the education of the public and visitors to our lodge on the beauty and value of the Eastern Box Turtle and wildlife and nature in general. Our premier program is an Eastern Box Turtle mark/recapture census study and radio telemetry based movement study.

The Eastern Box Turtle Conservation Trust was founded in 1993 with the aim of developing and testing potential strategies that might enable the rebuilding of extirpated or decimated box turtle populations. Our mission is “to enhance turtle conservation, native population recruitment and repatriation, in order to improve the declining prospects of turtle species, particularly of the Eastern Box turtle (Terrapene carolina) in Northwestern Pennsylvania.”

Forgotten Friend Reptile Sanctuary is based out of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and focuses on reptile rescue and educational outreach. Since 2004 they have teamed up with animal shelters and authorities to find better homes for thousands of unwanted or abandoned pet reptiles and amphibians. Their mission can be boiled down to one simple idea: Give Reptiles a chance!

Friends of the Cache River Watershed is a non-profit citizens’ group that promotes natural resource conservation throughout the Cache River Watershed in southern Illinois. We work together with landowners and members of the Joint Venture Partnership, which includes Ducks Unlimited, Inc., Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resource Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Together we share a common goal to protect and restore 60,000 acres along a 50-mile corridor of the Cache River.

The Friends of the Mukwonago River is a volunteer organization that works to maintain high quality waters for the people and creatures of the river’s watershed. We watch over one of the highest quality river systems in the state of Wisconsin with a mostly intact series of wetlands. Our mission is to protect the Mukwonago River and its associated watershed ecosystems by way of education, advocacy, and promotion of sound land use throughout the watershed.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is comprised of six divisions which carryout DNR’s mission to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources. As one of six divisions within DNR, the Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) is charged with conserving, enhancing and promoting Georgia’s wildlife resources, including game and nongame animals, fish and protected plants.

The German Chelonia Group involves itself on national and international levels in the conservation of chelonians, including their proper husbandry and propagation in human care. The German Chelonia Group facilitates the exchange of experience and contacts amongst people with the same field of interest, for example, on occasion of the annual general meeting or through regional workshops.

The Herpetology Group at the University of Quindio (Grupo de Estudio en Herpetologia de la Universidad del Quindio – GEHUQ) is located in Armenia City, Quindio, Colombia, South America. Our mission is to preserve the amphibians, lizards, snakes and turtles present in the coffee region of Colombia through research, and to educate the community to live alongside them so future generations can know and enjoy them. Our area is home to two species of turtles – Kinosternon leucostomum and Chelydra acutirostris.

HerpDigest is the only free weekly electronic newsletter that reports on the latest news on herpetological conservation, husbandry and science—all delivered to your email twice a week.

The International Reptile Conservation Foundation (IRCF) is a member-based organization that actively pursues the conservation of reptiles and amphibians and the natural habitat and ecosystems that support them in a variety of capacities depending on the project or program. IRCF support may include funding, mobilization of volunteers, and/or logistical assistance.

Jenkinson’s Aquarium is dedicated to conservation and educating the public on marine life conservation. We strive to provide our guests with a unique and memorable experience through creative exhibits and innovative education programs. Our exhibits are designed to promote awareness of animals and their habitats and inspire an appreciation of wildlife. This connection with wildlife helps to ensure preservation of species and habitats.

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to promoting the preservation and proliferation of healthy wildlife habitats in Loudoun County, Virginia. We hold over 100 free programs and field trips annually, lead a summer nature camp, engage residents in environmental monitoring programs (Stream Monitoring, Amphibian Monitoring, Bluebird Nestbox Monitoring, Bird Surveys, Butterfly count), and execute 2-3 major habitat restoration events each year.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) is responsible for the conservation of the state’s wildlife and the habitats on which wildlife depends for the benefit and enjoyment of citizens and visitors. Year of the Turtle efforts are coordinated through DFW’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program ( and include agency newsletter articles, training sessions for citizen scientists and utilities staff, technical assistance for property owners, headstarting hatchling programs, production and promotion of turtle events across the state, and creation of turtle publications.

The Mid-Atlantic Turtle and Tortoise Society (MATTS) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting the responsible herpetoculture of turtles and tortoises, supporting the study of chelonian natural history, and conserving Mid-Atlantic chelonian species and habitat. MATTS was founded in 1997 by a diverse group of concerned hobbyists and professionals in the Baltimore -Washington- Northern Virginia area, though more than twenty states are now represented. MATTS has multiple meetings per year, field trips, very active outreach-educational and adoptions programs, an impressive newsletter and website, and actively participates in donating to worthy chelonian causes.

Nature Abounds is an emerging national non-profit dedicated to bringing people together for a healthy planet, focusing on volunteerism, education, and awareness of the natural world. Amongst Nature Abounds opportunities are Watch the Wild, IceWatch USA and the Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps, all involving volunteers in citizen-science efforts. Maximillian Terrepene (Max for short) is the spokes-turtle for Nature Abounds.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s Bureau of Wildlife is responsible for managing all the wildlife species in the State of New York. The Bureau had its origin in the Fisheries, Game and Forest Commission established by an act of the legislature April 25, 1895, at a time when many wildlife populations were threatened. Today the Bureau of Wildlife is involved in the restoration, recovery and range expansion of several amphibians and reptiles, including state endangered bog and mud turtles, and state threatened Blanding’s turtle, in order to stabilize and enhance populations for the enjoyment of future New Yorkers.

Piedmont Wildlife Rehab, Inc. sympathizes with humans uncomfortable with wildlife situations and focuses on helping people as well as injured and orphaned wildlife with the goal of nurturing an appreciation for our local wildlife and environment through education and experience with animals.

The Rio Grande Turtle and Tortoise Club is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to the care, conservation and preservation of chelonians in New Mexico. We work with individuals, organizations, veterinarians and local, state and federal agencies to educate the public and to find suitable homes for chelonians in need.

The Sandalwood Herpetology Club is actively engaged in raising brown mountain tortoises, Manouria emys, Chinese pond turtles, Mauremys reevesii, and Florida box turtles, Terrapene carolina bauri, at school. We have an almost 1000 square foot enclosure that is partitioned off for each species. Our students are learning about the plight of each species specifically and the entire turtle crisis worldwide in general.

Seneca Park Zoo provides engaging and educational experiences to give our community the motivation and skills to act as stewards of the environment. In celebration of World Turtle Day, on Sunday, May 22 the Zoo will invite visitors to learn why these animals are disappearing and what they can do in the conservation effort. Activities will include keeper talks, docent stations, hands-on activities for kids, and readings of The Tortoise and the Hare. We will host Tortoise and the Hare races, complete with costumes and prizes.

The Seattle Turtle and Tortoise Club is a charitable organization formed exclusively for the purposes of chelonian education through monthly meetings, public outreach programs, turtle and tortoise rescue, and supporting private conservation efforts both locally and globally for the preservation of the world’s turtles. We are a ten year old organization that has built a reputation on educating the public about turtle and tortoise husbandry. We work with individuals, organizations, state and federal agencies, schools, local breeders, herpetologists, and anybody with tortoises who we can help.

The Spanish Herpetological Association (AHE) has 25 years of expertise in conservation and research of Spanish amphibians and reptiles. AHE has developed a herpetological information server (SIARE; that is a system for detecting and monitoring the loss of biodiversity in Spanish herpetofauna. Another current project is the coordination of the Spanish marine turtles tagging program ( AHE will coordinate the tagging program, and also the training courses for the tagging staff.

The Susquehannock Wildlife Society exists to protect wildlife. Through outreach and partnerships with other groups we can accomplish our goal to salvage nature’s own beauty and keep wildlife free and safe in the wild. We seek to build a place for people to enjoy, learn, and talk about wildlife and a centralized home to rehabilitate and provide refuge for species in need. Whether it is through public education, conservation efforts, rescue, or legislation, we will stand as a helping hand and voice for wildlife.

The Terrapin Institute began in 1998 as a consortium of concerned citizens, scientists, resource managers, and educators dedicated to the understanding, persistence, and recovery of Diamondback Terrapins and other turtles through effective management, thorough research, and public outreach. They work to protect an abundance of adult turtle populations, preserve nesting and forage habitat, and improve recruitment.

Texas Herp Naturalists aims to advance appreciation of herpetofauna and other wildlife and wild places in Texas, understanding of natural history and biological concepts, and support for conservation of plant and animal communities in Texas. Texas Herp Naturalists is a project of Michael Smith and Clint King, consisting of a website and a quarterly e-publication, Texas Field Notes, distributed free to subscribers.

Toronto Zoo’s Adopt-A-Pond Programme undertakes community-based social marketing research to develop programs for audiences whose behaviors have an impact on turtle species at risk. Their Ontario Turtle Tally monitoring program gathers important data on species distribution and abundance, while research projects investigate habitat use and the threat of roads. They have also developed innovative outreach tools and identification guides for the public. Additionally, the Programme provides financial support to partners like Turtle Survival Alliance and Turtle Conservation Fund.

The Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF) is a strategizing and funding coalition of leading turtle conservation organizations and individuals focused on ensuring the long-term survival of tortoises and freshwater turtles. The TCF mission is “to ensure that no species of tortoise or freshwater turtle becomes extinct and that sustainable populations of all species persist in the wild.”

The Turtle Conservation & Research Programme (TCRP) is a scientific society dedicated to safeguarding freshwater turtle species in northeast India. The TCRP seeks global input for local solutions to saving endangered turtles. Since its inception in 2009, the TCRP has initiated a freshwater turtle conservation program in the state of Assam and has started a community awareness and capacity building project for safeguarding the region’s turtle.

Turtle Foundation is dedicated to protecting and conserving endangered sea turtles. We focus on small projects that have a high probability of success. Our organization is primarily volunteers. In East Kalimantan, Indonesia, our nest protection program has resulted in 4 million hatchlings released to the sea since 2000. Our monitoring and research project in Cape Verde, West Africa protects female Loggerhead Turtles from being slaughtered as they come ashore to nest and works to educate and help the local community.

Turtle Talk Rescue, Inc. is dedicated to the care of abandoned, injured and unwanted turtles and tortoises in the Northwest U.S. Since its beginnings in 2001, Turtle Talk Rescue has taken in hundreds of turtles and tortoises for care. Their Education Program takes the message of “responsible pet ownership” to schools, daycares, summer camps and animal venues.

The Turtle and Tortoise Preservation group (TTPG) works on conservation of turtles using captive breeding. The TTPG is involved with the dissemination of information about the world’s turtles and tortoises and their proper care. TTPG has also been the proud host of Turtle Night at the National Reptile Breeders Expo for ten years and recently hosted their first annual Conference on Captive Care and Breeding of Turtles and Tortoises in Phoenix, Arizona in November.

The Turtle Rescue League is a non-profit organization based in New England that is committed to the welfare of all turtle species. Our mission is to keep turtles a part of the future and not a thing of the past. We accomplish this through education, conservation, rehabilitation, and adoption programs. The Turtle Rescue League has a dedicated staff and a membership of volunteers from across the country.

The Walter L. Stasavich Science & Nature Center is located at River Park North in Geenville, North Carolina. The Science and Nature Center is an educational hub, home to an exhibit area that includes a 10,000 gallon freshwater aquarium, a live snapping turtle tank, a “Turtle Touch” tank, two wildlife dioramas, an interactive frog and toad identification computer game, five snake habitats, and more.

The Wetlands Institute, located in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, USA, is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization focused on promoting appreciation, understanding, and stewardship of wetlands and coastal ecosystems through programs in research, education, and conservation. From its inception in 1969, the Wetlands Institute has worked with numerous regional, national and international organizations to foster stewardship of wetlands and coastal ecosystems worldwide.

Wisconsin Wetlands Association (WWA) was established in 1969 to protect the state’s wetland resources through education, training, advocacy, and research on key issues that affect wetlands. WWA is the only statewide organization focused exclusively on wetland protection. More than 1450 members include wetland scientists and educators, conservationists, hunters, concerned citizens, and local and regional organizations. Our newsletter, Wisconsin Wetlands, is received by more than 1,500 individuals and organizations quarterly.