Animal Care and Education Coordinator Zoo Med Labs
Spring and summer are our busiest times of the year in the Animal Room at Zoo Med. In addition to collecting eggs and caring for new hatchlings, over the last three years, we have collaborated with our friends from the Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group for a weeklong celebration in the end of May that we lovingly call ‘Turtle Week’.
On May 23rd, we celebrate World Turtle Day – A day to appreciate and understand the chelonians of the world. Turtles and tortoises are amongst the most endangered species on this planet. With our Turtle Week celebration, we hope to bring awareness by providing several different activities and goodies of information in the form of FREE Turtle Learning Package for Teachers, daily E-Newsletters that highlight different turtle and tortoise species from around the world, informational posts and pictures on our social networks, and a World Turtle Day photo contest for learning package recipients.
Through various social media outlets, we were able to reach out to over 22,000 turtle and tortoise enthusiasts, reptile hobbyists, and even those with little experience in our wonderful field to spark a curiosity and hopefully ignite a lifelong passion for our chelonian friends. For us, Turtle Week is about more than just a love for the shelled reptiles of the world. It is about bringing together a community of people and organizations with an interest in the natural world, to open new doors to those who may be interested in learning about and protecting turtles and tortoises, and to acknowledge those who have dedicated themselves and their resources to protecting these ancient, amazing animals.
Education is critical for preserving turtles and tortoises as well as our terrarium and aquarium hobbies. World Turtle Day has provided us with an excellent opportunity to engage those who are not already involved. By taking advantage of social media websites and e-newsletters, and by providing free educational materials, we have been able to reach an audience comprised of veteran hobbyists, young enthusiasts, novice keepers, and those who have never before considered turtles and tortoises, their importance or their plight. In the coming years, we hope to continue to promote World Turtle Day, engage other like-minded organizations, and to provide educational materials for teachers to spread the word about Turtles and Tortoises!
My challenge to you is to find even one small segment of your hobby that is interesting and important to you, and engage others! Start a conversation, spread the word, and infect those around with your passion. Together, we can make a difference for the animals, the environment, and our awesome hobby!
We would love to hear your story.
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The vivarium issue 3 vol 3 - Autumn/Winter 2015
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