Students push lawmakers to protect turtles Michael Signorelli, a student at the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science in Manahawkin, N.J. holds an adult diamondback terrapin turtle (AP photos)
Students push lawmakers to protect turtles
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The slow and steady efforts of students at a New Jersey environmental science school to protect turtles are about to pay off.

They've gotten state legislators to introduce a bill making it illegal to catch or take diamondback terrapins from the wild, and requiring the state to investigate ways to protect their population.

Students at Manahawkin's Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science have been studying and trying to protect terrapins since 2002, educating the public about them and researching the turtles' numbers.

Cars kill many turtles each year, and their habitat in coastal marshes is shrinking.

Michael Signorelli says he and other students in the school's Project Terrapin are excited at the prospect of legal protection for the animals that they have studied and cared for over the years. The bill would remove terrapins from the state's game list, ending a confusing regulatory situation that once had them listed as a species of special concern, but also on the list of animals approved for hunting.

John Wnek, the school's supervisor, said the population of terrapins on Sedge Island near the Barnegat Inlet has been declining, from about 100 in 2002 to the low 70s now. And 21 percent of the animals that student researchers catch show signs of injuries from boats.

Wnek said the turtles were widely hunted for food in the 1880s. The turtles are more in demand now as pets, he said.

The students contacted Sen. Jeff Van Drew, who sponsored the bill with Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak.

"It's a good lesson in civics," Van Drew said. "They had an idea and reached out and now they're actually making something good happen."

The bill is awaiting hearings in two legislative committees.

Critical thinking challenge: What do the slow and steady efforts of students have in common with turtles?

Assigned 17 times


COMMENTS (32)
  • r2000soccer
    1/05/2015 - 08:41 a.m.

    Slow and steady efforts of students because they students in the school's Project Terrapin are excited at the prospect of legal protection for the animals that they have studied and cared for over the years. and they start from 2000 and finish it this year so they work slow and steady and that's why they have in common in turtles.

  • TF00Music
    1/05/2015 - 01:00 p.m.

    The slow and steady efforts of students have in common with the turtles because turtles are slow themselves and they don't go very fast/ As someone said that I can't remember, "Slow and steady wins the race"

  • ws2001wrex
    1/05/2015 - 01:01 p.m.

    The slow and steady efforts are similar to turtles because, turtles move at a very slow rate and they quote, slow and steady win the race.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    1/05/2015 - 01:59 p.m.

    It's nice to see students trying to take care of the environment around them. Creating a law to keep people from hunting and taking turtles from their ecosystem may help the population grow, but that won't help the the turtles that are getting run over by cars. I hope the students' efforts pay off.

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    1/06/2015 - 09:36 a.m.

    Due to there aren't tons of turtles that you see daily, I think turtles should be treated just as if you were about to hit a deer. People most likely pass the thought that turtles are more than just a squirrel darting out in front of you.

  • MFrancisco-Sti
    1/06/2015 - 10:00 a.m.

    M - Students are trying to save diamondback terrapins.
    E - They got a bill saying that it is illegal to catch and kill wild turtles.
    A - I think that this is the right thing to do because they are being killed and catch them and there is not a lot of them.
    L - Around the world are trying to save diamondback terrapins and they might just successful.

  • LAvery-Sti
    1/06/2015 - 10:04 a.m.

    Why would they even want to eat these animals when there are many other things to eat? I think that eating these animals is not right because they have a wright to live to. For one thing when being hunted they don't have a very good chance of living and that is not fair to them. I get if we really needed to because of low food but we had enough food so I don't think that it is right hunting these animals.

  • JKaitlyn-Sti
    1/06/2015 - 10:11 a.m.

    I saw in here about how cars kill turtles a lot every year. I did not know that. I used to have a turtle so I like turtles. I think it's sad so I agree with this article.

  • PJuan-Sti
    1/06/2015 - 05:22 p.m.

    I think its really cool that people help the environment. I would help people to take care of the environment. But I dont care what other people say. At least im helping the environment.

  • BrigitteA-3
    1/06/2015 - 08:12 p.m.

    Many students enrolled in New Jersey Environmental Science School have studied turtles since 2002. They researched population of the turtles and how they were killed. Many showed signs of boat injuries, so they students started to stand up for these turtles. They sent in a bill the other day in order to create a law protecting these soon to be extinct turtles. I think that is awesome how the student care so much for these animals that they would help pass a law to save them.

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