by Heather Lowe
This is the first of a three-part series in our blog, highlighting the progress that has been made in our first year at the Turtle Survival Center (TSC).Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer
What a difference a year makes! The Turtle Survival Alliance took possession of the TSC in January and to say that we hit the ground running would be an understatement. While the property already had much of the infrastructure that we would need, we knew that it would need some modification to turn it into the world-class turtle facility that we envisioned.
New construction on the property includes a completed 1,000 square foot quarantine barn and an 800 square foot tortoise barn that is almost finished. A large outdoor forest complex that will be home to shade-loving forest turtles should be completed by March 2014, and will be followed up by an additional forest complex in the spring. All total, roughly 6,320 square feet of enclosures have been added to the property.
Some of the existing structures also required a bit of renovation. The interior of the existing barn has been ‘finished out’ with a concrete floor and drains that will allow for easy cleaning. With all of the construction and expansion, there has also been a need for extensive electrical and plumbing work. We estimate that in total about 1,000 feet of plumbing and 2,500 feet of electrical wire have been used on site so far! Additionally, the well pump has been upgraded to one with higher horsepower that is capable of supplying the center with 80 gallons of water per minute.
Obviously, security is a major concern at the center. With that in mind, much of the old perimeter fence has been completely removed and a new 2,800 foot perimeter fence has been put in its place. That fence represents the first line of defense in a multi-layer security plan put in place to keep our chelonian residents safe.
Given the seemingly non-stop rains that pounded the area in the spring, the fact that the staff and volunteers at the center managed to get so much completed in 2013 (in crippling mud!) is a testament to their innovation and dedication to the cause. We’d like to give a very special thank you to Jay Allen at Aquarium Innovations, who has donated countless man hours and construction materials to helping us reach our goal. Our summer intern Theresa Stratmann also invested a huge amount of volunteer energy into the many construction projects and we miss her cheerful smile terribly.