Learning about how to protect turtle nests. (Photo by Martha Querin-Schultz)

The Southwest Chapter of The Prairie Enthusiasts held a Wisconsin turtle workshop on Saturday, June 26, 2021, at Jack Kussmaul’s beautiful home near Woodman, Wisconsin.

“Taking Time for Turtles” was conducted by Dr. Rebecca Christoffel who is co-director of Turtles for Tomorrow, a non-profit organization devoted to protecting Wisconsin turtles.

Our enthusiastic group of 18 learned all about Wisconsin’s turtles from Dr. Christoffel, including who they are, how to identify them, where they’re found, and how they are managed and conserved. The group spent the morning in the classroom, learning about Wisconsin’s turtles and how to identify them including some practice identifications. Wisconsin has eleven turtle species. Ten are aquatic or semi-aquatic and one is strictly terrestrial (land dwelling).

Host Jack Kussmaul, along with guest speaker, Dr. Rebecca Christoffel, co-director of Turtles for Tomorrow). (Photo by Martha Querin-Schultz)

In the afternoon after lunch, we went to Jack’s amazing property which is along the Wisconsin River, searching for turtles and signs of turtles, and we learned what we can do to protect turtle nests found on our properties.

While we were out walking, a couple of wild turtles came right up on to Jack’s property to lay eggs. We also were able to get up close and personal with Dr. Christoffel’s “Ambassador Turtles” that she uses in her teachings. The group had the chance to meet and hold two of the endangered and threatened turtle species in Wisconsin, the wood turtle and ornate box turtle.

Thank you to Jack Kussmaul for hosting and thank you, Dr. Christoffel, for teaching us so much!

Article by Martha Querin-Schultz