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Why Study Turtles Anyway?


Fri, Sep 14th, 2001
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Weaver Dunes Field Report Late Summer 2001By John LevellMonday, August 20, 2001

With nesting finally completed, those of us working on the Weaver Dunes Blandingís Turtle Research Project can at last step back to enjoy a much needed breather. The eggs that have somehow escaped the ravaging horde of hungry raccoons, skunks and coyotes will spend at least the next sixty days underground, incubating away in snug nests warmed by the heat of the sun. Until they hatch, if indeed this yearís eggs manage to survive at all, there will be little if anything for us to actually do.

This break in the action is good, allowing the recapture of our second wind, the chance to review events of past turtle seasons. As we wait, my recollections increasingly focus on people met during the course of field work. People who, with the exception of fellow researchers and some otherwise "normal" individuals with a genuine interest in turtles, for the most part have a difficult time understanding exactly why we study turtles, or any non-game animal for that matter, in the first place.

Those lacking comprehension of our project, the "non-turtle folks" if you will, fall into two general categories, each readily recognizable on the basis of comment and reaction alone. On the one hand there are those who seem merely amused, apparently viewing both turtles and turtle researchers alike as nothing more than a joke. Those at the other end of the spectrum can sometimes be decidedly more unpleasant, confrontational and angry at what they perceive to be a waste of time and money.

Naturally, the bemused are somewhat easier to deal with. We converse freely, smile and laugh, but invariably they all ask the same question. "You all eat them there turtles? Turtle tastes good donít you know." While certainly redundant after the fifteenth or twentieth hearing, this is a comment quite readily addressed and I quite frankly savor the opportunity to do so.

Turtle meat, you see, particularly that derived from Snappers and Softshells the two species most frequently eaten here in the Upper Midwest, is almost always contaminated with extremely high levels of PCBs, heavy metals, and other environmental toxins. This is true even in areas that appear pristine and for reasons that should be readily apparent. Turtles generally live a long time, are slow to mature and typically spend most of their lives mucking around on the bottoms of ponds, lakes and rive .....
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Foods Weekly Ads

Can we go back to gardening?

Fri, Sep 14th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, September 17, 2001

By Virginia Cooper

After last week's devastating attack on America, where can we turn for peace of mind? Our sense of safety and security has been destroyed by these senseless acts of violence. ..... 
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The Day of the Cricket

Fri, Sep 14th, 2001
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Monday, August 27, 2001

It is an ill wind that blows no one any good. This summerís heat and lack of rain will result in a crop disaster for some farmers. To those of us who donít like to mow lawns, the same weather gives us a vacation from th ..... 
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A Walk in the Woods

Fri, Sep 14th, 2001
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Monday, September 17, 2001

The road is a narrow thin cut in the side of a hill near Whalan.

To the south, the land tilts steeply upward in heavy stands of hardwood forest, the ground cover a combination of spindly grass, forest underbr ..... 
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Fri, Sep 14th, 2001
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Fri, Sep 14th, 2001
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Fri, Sep 14th, 2001
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Fri, Sep 14th, 2001
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Sep 14th, 2001
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To the Editor,
Monday, September 17, 2001

To the Editor,

It is widely known that Osama Bin Laden and other Arab terrorists perceive the US as having a pro-Israel bias. Too few Americans know that from 1947-1997, the US poured ..... 
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