Map Turtle Project A Project of Research & Enrichment
Help an Endangered Species Find a Safe Spot to Hatch Their Young
Can the Towson community save a species of endangered turtles? Towson University Biology Professor Richard Seigel and his team of students believe so!
In 2008, Seigel and his research team discovered the only successful nesting area in Maryland for the endangered Northern Map Turtle in the sleepy riverside town of Port Desposit. The turtles travel a treacherous path from the Susquehanna River, up the river bank, and across a gravel parking lot to their nest along a chain link fence, just yards away from railroad tracks. The dangerous trek and its developing habitat have threatened the species' survival.
The Towson team has been working to strengthen the turtle's population in Port Deposit by building a safer environment for the turtles without impacting the town's other important population— people. Future plans include the following:
1) Shoreline restoration— This will ensure the turtles have more options to enter and exit the water safely.
2) Wildlife exclusion fence— The fence allows the turtles to access their nests without crossing parking lots or roads.
3) Combined research facility and ecotourism center— These resources will be established at the Jacob Tome Gas House, an existing historic structure at the site.
The Northern Map Turtle Project provides a great learning experience for Towson students. Seigel says, “This summer I had a student who would have worked as a valet if he weren’t on this project. Another student would have waited tables if she weren’t here. Instead, they worked 40 hours a week in conservation biology, doing something that will advance their careers.”
Port Deposit is located in northeastern Maryland on the Susquehanna River, about 42 miles from TU's campus.
How can you help?
You can put the endangered turtles back on the map and help continue conservation efforts! So far, Seigel and the team have pulled together remarkable support from the community and other partners.
In order to continue the project, the TU team needs your help. Make a tax-deductible gift today to help fund shoreline restoration, build a wildlife exclusion fence, and establish a combined research facility and ecotourism center. You can make a difference in TU students' efforts to save an endangered species.