by Heather Lowe
The Turtle Survival Center recently welcomed several groups of volunteers in late March and early April. On March 22, volunteers from Hofstra University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences visited South Carolina and quickly got to work.
During their time there, the group worked with TSC staff to finish gathering the rest of the storm damage debris remaining after February’s ice storm and cut down and removed broken limbs from one of the large trees on property. Additionally, the crew completely drained, cleaned and disinfected one of the existing ponds, then completed the installation of hardware cloth around the bottom of the chain link surrounding the pond. The hardware cloth was installed to make the fence “hatchling proof”, ensuring that even the smallest turtles can not slip through.
The Turtle and Tortoise Club of Florida drove up to South Carolina for the weekend of April 5-6. During a very busy couple of days, the group cleaned and disinfected two additional ponds, cleaned out two drainage trenches, completed carpentry projects, mulched some outdoor tortoise enclosures, helped to burn off some of the storm debris from February (ensuring that the piles of dry brush and limbs would not present a fire hazard later this spring), dug a trench inside greenhouse for electrical cable, dug a trench along the fenceline of an existing pond to fasten hardware cloth to inside perimeter (meaning that all existing ponds are now hatchling-proof!), transplanted a bald cypress tree, and gathered several bags of leaves and then used them to mulch more exhibits. The group also enjoyed releasing the Vietnamese Pond Turtles (Mauremys annamensis) back into the ponds which they had cleaned earlier in the weekend.
Aside from the mountain of work accomplished by the great volunteers at the TSC. The staff has also been working with a variety of contractors and service providers in the community on large projects. There is progress being made on the greenhouse and tortoise barn and we can’t wait to share more information and photos of those new structures with you in the near future. Additionally, a brand new security system is now in place, helping to ensure the safety of the collection. We are thrilled with the progress at the TSC and would like to thank all of those who have made it possible including donors, volunteers and a very dedicated staff.