The Florida Turtles Natural History Tour

In June 2009 six NYTTS members joined turtle biologist and conservationist George L. Heinrich on a weeklong field trip exploring Florida’s natural areas in search of imperiled species. Nearly half of Florida’s turtle diversity was observed in the field, and participants experienced a trip that will long be remembered.

Ty and a gopher tortoise on a coastal island

Florida is home to over eight percent of the world’s known turtle species and is a significant area for both turtle diversity and habitat. Twenty-five of the 54 turtle species found in the United States occur in Florida. Certainly, habitat diversity and species richness make Florida a chelonian hotspot. Trip highlights included:
  • visiting a coastal island that is home to many gopher tortoises and Florida box turtles;
  • hiking in an endangered longleaf pine ecosystem, home of many rare and threatened species, including the gopher tortoise;
  • canoeing and snorkeling on spring-fed rivers with Suwannee cooters, loggerhead musk turtles, and Barbour’s map turtles;
  • watching marine turtles nesting at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge; and
  • visiting the Chelonian Research Institute, a center for turtle research established by Dr. Peter C. H. Pritchard.
We are planning another trip in the future, so those of you who missed out on this wonderful experience will have a second chance. Information will be posted on this Web site as it becomes available.

Slide show photos by George L. Heinrich. Download information brochure (PDF) on the 2009 NYTTS tour.
Visit George’s Web site, heinrichecologicalservices.com.