The Tortoise Burrow

Jeff Goessling

Dear members,

What a year this has been. Thanks to so many of you for supporting us through what we hope to be our first and also last virtual annual meeting. This year’s meeting was held all day on Friday, November 13. The meeting kicked off in a relatively traditional (albeit virtual) format with top-notch research presentations, including six student research presentations.

safer in the burrow logoThank you to all who attended the 42nd Annual Gopher Tortoise Council Meeting – our first ever virtual meeting – on November 13th. Co-Chair Jeff Goessling welcomed attendees and captained us through the meeting, swiftly addressing the occasional logistical challenges as they emerged! The theme of the meeting was “Safer in the Burrow,” and we are grateful that so many were able to Zoom in and join us from their homes and offices this year. In an action-packed one-day meeting, attendees learned about recent and ongoing research and management activities for tortoises and upland species throughout the tortoise’s range. Thank you to all the presenters who shared their work at this year’s meeting!  

Barbara Lockhart

North Port is a 104-square-mile community in Sarasota County, FL, and its residentially zoned areas (which take up most of the City of North Port; see the beige/orange/burgundy colored areas on the attached land use map) are divided into thousands of vacant lots that measure 10,000 square feet (~0.23 acres) each on average. These vacant lots are owned by thousands of different people and multiple residential builders. North Port has no conservation land within any of its residential neighborhoods; instead conservation areas exist only on its outskirts (see the forest green colored areas on the attached land use map).

future land use map
North Port’s Future Use Map showing no conservation areas within any of North Port’s residential neighborhoods.

 

Justina Dacy

The University of Florida Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Nassau County Extension office now has a Gopher Tortoise Garden! A recipient of the Gopher Tortoise Council’s Donna H. Heinrich Environmental Education Grant, the Gopher Tortoise Garden became a reality, but not without some trials and tribulations of attempting to navigate extension education programming during a pandemic.

planting native garden
Master gardeners planting in the University of Florida, Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Nassau County Extension office's new Gopher tortoise garden.

Need to catch up with gopher tortoise updates from your state? Read about the highlights in our annual state report summaries.

tortoise in hand
A juvenile gopher tortoise at Alapaha River WMA in Irwin County, Georgia.

Some recently published articles about gopher tortoises and upland communities in the Southeast. Also check out GTC's Education & Outreach for more literature, including snake and tortoise bibliographies!

Check out GTC's new fact sheet brought to you by the Upland Snake Conservation Committee! For more information on southeastern snakes, check out GTC's Upland Snake Initiative webpage. 

 

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