Happy World Turtle Day!

One of the oldest reptiles in the world…

As one of the very oldest of living reptiles, the turtle is a special animal. For generations before ours the turtle symbolized the primal mother. Honored in many cultures, the turtle is a reminder that the Earth provides for all of our needs.

The turtle is also respected for its strength and solidarity. The turtle moves by steady progression with all living things and as an animal of two elements, the turtle reflects an ability to flourish and adapt.
Awareness, longevity, and stability are important qualities associated with the turtle. At times when we cannot see the forest for the trees, the turtle can slow us down to help us see veiled opportunities.

Part of the southern forest landscape is the Eastern Box Turtle. A crucial member of our native herpetofauna, a box turtle can endlessly fascinate in the way it stands robust and vivid in color or carefully eats a worm or piece of fruit.

The box turtle’s southern cousin, the Gopher Tortoise, also shows us a part of our humanity that we cannot afford to lose. Gopher tortoises create extraordinary burrows in the ground up to 40 feet deep that they share with hundreds of other animals, such as the Florida Mouse who cannot survive the seasons without the gopher tortoise’s burrow. The burrows are also shared with opossums, armadillos, snakes, frogs, and beetles among many others.

But today the gopher tortoise and the box turtle, along with other turtle species, are exposed to a number of serious environmental threats. In recent years more and more people have realized that it is time for urgent conservation action for these important ancient animals.

But not just for the turtle. All factors, changes and conditions that impact the turtle’s habitat impact the turtle itself and eventually all other organisms in their ecosystem. Efforts to protect turtles reflect the immediate need to preserve and sustain the naturally intact pieces of our southern forests and greater biosphere.

Let today be a reminder of the part of our humanity that quietly connects to these animals and the fragile places in which they live.

For the forests,

Bud Howell

Board of Directors

Dogwood Alliance

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>