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Below The Surface

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Baby Spiny Softshell Turtles Released Back Into Lake Champlain By Superstar Families

The Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtles were successfully released into Lake Champlain on a cloudy and rainy day this past June. The rain cleared just in time for seven of our Superstar families to release the turtles, one-by-one, into the northern lake.

The nineteen baby softshell ready to go home!
Photo by J. Kiedaisch
State Biologist, Steve Parren, gave all the families a lesson in turtle biology, explaining how these special turtles, that over-wintered at ECHO, are twice the sized they would normally be, had they stayed in Lake Champlain over the winter. There were two species of turtles released on this day, 19 Northeastern spiny softshell turtles as well as three Northern map turtles.  Also on hand were our dedicated ECHO volunteers and animal care staff who spent untold hours caring for these neonates throughout the winter.


As part of ECHO's Head Start Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle program, these families donated to the care and upkeep of the baby turtles.  Adoptive parents/families choose the sponsorship level, either the Softshell Supporter or Softshell Superstar.  Along with a certificate verifying their adoption, the families received a plush softshell toy and monthly e-mail updates on the progress and growth of the turtles.  In addition, the Softshell Superstars received four passes to visit the turtles and an exclusive invitation to attend the release.
Two young volunteers help to release the turtles with coaching by
ECHO's Director of Animal Care Steve Smith'.

After months of corresponding with the adoptive families, it was very fulfilling to share in their joy and excitement at making a difference in the lives of these turtles. Most rewarding is the fact that the families, and especially the children, are learning about the importance of Lake stewardship and environmental caring.

I look forward to meeting the next group of stewards when ECHO welcomes another batch of baby spiny softshell turtles this fall.

Do you want to be a part of ECHO's Head Start Program? Please learn more about our turtle adoption program here. Adopting a turtle is just one way to make a positive difference. All it takes is one action to create ripples of positive change, just one drop....what is your "one drop" today?

View a photo album of our turtle release day here: http://bit.ly/turtlerelease2014.

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