NWF Staffers Rescue Trapped Turtle

from Wildlife Promise

A recent National Wildlife Federation meeting in Vermont turned into an unexpected opportunity to rescue a stranded critter.

I was part of a group of NWF staffers in Vermont to meet with our northeastern state affiliates. During a break, I took a walk around the conference center and came across an unused outdoor pool with just a couple of feet of murky water left in it. I happened to peer over the edge and spotted what NWF naturalist David Mizejewski identified as a painted turtle trapped inside. Les Line once wrote in National Wildlife magazine that the painted is “probably the most familiar turtle in North America due to its unique coast-to-coast distribution, its vivid red and yellow markings and a habit of basking for hours on sun-washed logs and rocks.”

David warned that catching the turtle might not be such an easy task — turtles are as quick in the water as they are slow on land. Conference center staffers told us a maintenance worker had spotted the turtle a few days before and spent an hour trying to catch it with no luck. That deepened David’s concern about alarming the turtle before we had a solid plan for catching it. He circled the pool assessing the situation.

But Bill Dion, NWF’s communications manager for TV & radio production, used to live in Florida and is a veteran of many turtle rescues. As Bill and David stood on opposite sides of the pool, Bill spotted the turtle through the murky water and told David he thought we had a shot at snagging it. David said, “Don’t wait for me to get over there, he may not stay near the surface for long — if you think you can get him, do it.” Bill jabbed the net into the water with a speed & accuracy that reminded me of an egret fishing.

Sure enough, Bill made the save:

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To learn more about making your backyard a place where wildlife can thrive, visits NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat program.