Citizen scientists are convening throughout Birmingham this weekend to study the Magic City’s urban turtle population.
Led by Birmingham Audubon’s Andy Coleman, the Urban Turtle Project is a new conservation project that is surveying the area’s turtle populations that inhabit the urban waterways of the Birmingham metro area.
According to Coleman, turtles are long-lived species, thus, can serve as indicator species of the environment. The Urban Turtle Project will document populations and examine various aspects of their ecology. The work this weekend, will help build a long-term dataset to begin asking some critical conservation questions regarding our impacted streams and rivers.
Birmingham has about 10 turtle species. Statewide, Alabama ranks first nationally with the number of different kinds of turtles. Presently 27 freshwater turtle species live reside in Alabama, which represents 57% of the turtle species in North America.
Want to watch the Urban Turtle Project in action?
For several weeks, citizen scientists have been trained how to conduct the research that will be occurring this weekend. Even if you did not get an opportunity to go through the training, observers are welcome at two sites the volunteers will be surveying the turtles.
Here are the dates, locations and times.
May 19, 10:00am – Meet at the parking lot of Union State Bank along Greenway Trail in Homewood. They will be sampling Shades Creek in Mountain Brook and Homewood.
May 20, 10:30am – Meet at Cahaba River Park in Mountain Brook.
On May 22, 7:00am at Samford University’s College of Health Sciences Rm 1222, the public is invited to Samford to hear the recap of the weekend and see some of the turtles.
A great weekend for turtle-lovers, hope to see you out on the stream banks or at Samford Tuesday night! To keep up with all the turtle research, follow the Urban Turtle Project on Facebook.