The next session of the Annual Ichetucknee Turtle Survey will be conducted on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19, 2017. This survey is being done for Ichetucknee State Park and is part of an ongoing, long-‐term study of the turtle populations inhabiting the Santa River basin. It is organized and managed by Dr. Jerry Johnston, a biology professor at Santa Fe College.
During the session, turtles will be captured by hand and taken to a central location where they will be given a general health assessment, measured, weighed, and individually identified with a PIT tag. They will then be released at their capture sites. The protocol for the study requires sampling the entire river (within park boundaries) both days.
We need volunteer snorkelers to catch turtles and experienced paddlers who will track the snorkelers and receive the turtles from them as they are caught. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age.
We need volunteers who can make a commitment to participate for one or both days. The study will take place rain or shine. We meet at 9:00 am and volunteers will be finished between one and two in the afternoon. We suggest that volunteers pack a lunch to enjoy in the park when they are done.
Anyone volunteering to snorkel should have a sense of adventure. Volunteers must be experienced snorkelers who are strong, competent swimmers and not afraid to capture turtles by hand. Each snorkeler needs to have their own complete snorkel gear (mask, fins and snorkel) and wetsuit. Anticipate snorkeling a one to two mile reach of the Ichetucknee River for approximately two to three hours.
Paddlers must be experienced and competent with a standard canoe. This includes maneuvering in current with a cargo of turtles while interacting with snorkelers and taking the turtles from them. Paddlers must be able to paddle upstream when required. Canoes, paddles, and life vests will be provided by the park.
This is an important scientific endeavor that relies on volunteers. Your efforts will contribute to our understanding of the turtles in our region and ultimately to the conservation of our rivers, springs, and the wildlife they support.
If you are interested in being part of this this study, please contact Georgia Shemitz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your phone contacts, which day(s) you can help and whether you are interested in paddling or snorkeling or both.
Santa Fe River Turtle Project