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. It would require 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. They want to help educate the public about them and research the number of turtles.

Cars kill many turtles each year. Also, 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. They have studied and cared for them over the years. The bill would remove terrapins from the state's game list. It would end a confusing situation that once had them listed as a species of special concern. At the same time, they also are on a 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. It's down 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 83 times


COMMENTS (159)
  • kr2001blue
    1/05/2015 - 08:37 a.m.

    What the turtles and students have in common is they both don't rush to do what they have to do. They take their time to do whatever they have to do. They want to be careful and patient.

    • trenta-Eic
      1/06/2015 - 03:22 p.m.

      very true but do we get hit by cars as much and are we almost extinct?

      people complain but they acted we as students could never do that but they did it was amazing and is amazing some day they wont be so close to extinction this is danger close but people act right to this they will be higher then ever

  • sl2000soccer
    1/05/2015 - 08:38 a.m.

    The "slow and steady efforts of students" have the time in common with the turtles. The students took a while to make this happen because they wanted to do something good and didn't give up. In return, they are doing good and getting what they wanted. The turtles are slow and steady in general and when they walk, it takes them a while to get to where they want. They walk to get something they want and they don't give up. In return, they get it even though it takes them a while. This is just like the students.

  • JM2000Blue
    1/05/2015 - 08:39 a.m.

    The "Slow and steady efforts of students" is connected to turtles because turtles are known to move very slow. And in a famous story of the turtle and the hare, the turtle won because he took the race slow and steady.

  • ad2000softball
    1/05/2015 - 08:40 a.m.

    The thing that "slow and steady efforts of students" and the turtles have in common is that they are both taking their time, but in different ways. The students are taking their time with helping the turtles because if they rushed through helping the turtles, they could have missed information that could help the turtles.

  • ce2001sparkle
    1/05/2015 - 12:59 p.m.

    The slow and steady efforts of students have in common with turtles is they both take their time. They slowly do things and they are different in many ways.

  • AC2001curly
    1/05/2015 - 12:59 p.m.

    This student did an amazing thing. He got lawmakers to protect turtles more than anybody ever did. Turtles are an amazing creature to be honest. They're practically harmless. If nobody harms them, they can adapt to many more things than they are adapted to now.

  • giavonnad-Sma
    1/05/2015 - 01:29 p.m.

    I think that it is an good thing that a school is trying to save these animals.They don't cause us any harm so why should we cause them any harm.

  • moirag-Sma
    1/05/2015 - 01:31 p.m.

    I too think that these beautiful animals should have protection. They deserve to be protected.I also think it was nice that students are stepping forward to try and save them.

  • owenb-Sma
    1/05/2015 - 01:33 p.m.

    I think that more people should help out with turtles and other people should not destroy them because it is there home, would if someone destroyed you home, that's how turtles feel.

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