Did you know it's #WorldTurtleDay?
The American Tortoise Rescue organization has hosted this special day all about our shelled friends for the last 17 years to help people “celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.”
That mission strikes a cord with us because we often see (and occasionally interact with) turtles in our daily efforts to protect and improve Philadelphia waterways, as was the case when we rescued this massive snapping turtle in East Falls last year:
In fact, we like turtles so much that we featured the bog turtle, which rarely gets bigger than 4 inches and is the smallest North American turtle, on storm drain markers in Northeast Philadelphia’s Poquessing Watershed!
Sadly, these cute little guys are threatened in Pennsylvania due to the loss of habitat. They need clean wetlands with saturated soil that's deep and mucky.
You can help protect their home by keeping our streets and parks clean and free of harmful chemicals, like spilled motor oil. Check out the resources and tips gathered by the Partnership for Delaware Estuary for information about actions you can take at home and in your neighborhood to protect wildlife like Pennsylvania’s bog turtles from stormwater runoff pollution and litter.
You can get started on one turtle-helping project right now: find out what critter is featured in your watershed and sign up for a free marking kit to do a cool volunteer activity in your neighborhood!
Adding our storm drain markers—each with a unique type of aquatic wildlife depending on your watershed—to your block can start a conversation with neighbors about how communities can protect local waterways.
Many people don't realize that what goes down storm drains can harm local animals like otters, turtles, herons, endangered fish and more.
Alieya Crawford of The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush won 1st place in the 9th-12th Grade category for her turtle drawing in the 2016 Green City Clean Waters Art Contest:
Her drawing shows the impact watershed litter can have on turtles and other aquatic wildlife.
Mark Your Stormdrains!
Cleaner neighborhoods and cleaner streets mean cleaner Philly rivers and creeks.
You can read more about the fascinating little bog turtle with this fact sheet created by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program.