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
Lexile

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)
  • SoleilE-5
    1/07/2015 - 01:41 a.m.

    Students at the Manahawkin's Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science, since 2002, have been working to get state legislature to protect endangered diamondback terrapins. The turtles have been endangered since they first started being hunted in the 1800's. Even though they were considered endangered, the turtles were still on the state's legal game list. Currently, many people are also catching the wild turtles to keep as pets. The laws passed are expected to help bring back the species.
    I think it is amazing that students took action in a cause they believed in, and that the school supported them. In school, we are not taught how to really take action in the real world, even though we are encouraged to. It is great to see that the students' efforts paid off. I hope to see the turtles' numbers increase, and I'm sure the students responsible for the laws do too.

  • MTianna-Cas
    1/07/2015 - 08:09 a.m.

    The "slow and steady efforts of students" are in common with the turtle because turtles move at a slow and steady pace. Also slow and steady wins the race always.

  • joshn-Koc
    1/07/2015 - 08:24 p.m.

    The students and turtles both share something in common. The "slow and steady effort of the students" is similar to turtles with their slow and steady way of crawling on land and swimming in water.

  • SAlexander-Sti
    1/08/2015 - 09:56 a.m.

    M - Students want to protect turtles
    E - They sent a bill to lawmakers to make it illegal to kill and catch diamondback turtles
    A - I think this is good because it will protect an endangered animal
    L - Students want to protect turtles so they sent a bill to lawmaker to see if they can make it illegal to kill and catch diamond back turtles. This is good because they are protecting animals who can't protect themselves that well.

  • jeffja2-Man
    1/08/2015 - 02:26 p.m.

    their both have things in common because they both move slowly and they can both become ninjas and are living things and thats how the turtle do

  • destinyman-Man
    1/08/2015 - 03:21 p.m.

    I Would love to save a Turtle much less any animal in danger !
    I Would love to save a Turtle much less any animal in danger !
    I Would love to save a Turtle much less any animal in danger !
    I Would love to save a Turtle much less any animal in danger !
    I Would love to save a Turtle much less any animal in danger !
    I Would love to save a Turtle much less any animal in danger !

  • kenzeys-Man
    1/08/2015 - 03:23 p.m.

    I would love to save a turtle much less then any animal in danger. You never theses turtles might become the next ninja turtles but in real life. That is the only reason why i would save a turtle.

  • brylap-Man
    1/08/2015 - 03:25 p.m.

    The slow and steady efforts of student have patience. They worked hard at what they did and when slow and steady just like turtles.

  • samanthab-Man
    1/08/2015 - 03:29 p.m.

    Turtles are cute animals why would you danger them.We have a lot of animals in this world why would you danger small animals.I hope there's going to be a lot of turtles.

  • shelbyf-Man
    1/08/2015 - 03:39 p.m.

    TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES TURTLES.



    BY, SHELBY

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