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Why Study Turtles Anyway?


Fri, Aug 17th, 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 Blandings 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 years 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 dont 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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Harvesting Herbs

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, August 20, 2001

If you haven't started gathering herbs from your garden, get out there! What could be better this winter, than a nice hot cup of tea brewed from herbs you grew yourself? Many herbs have started flowering ..... 
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Edgar, Nucla and Niwot

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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By Wayne PikeMonday, August 13, 2001

I am looking out the window at our drought-scorched pasture. I should go outside to accomplish something, but it is too hot. I am just going to let my mind wander back to our trip to Colorado in June. We go ..... 
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Shark Stories

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Monday, August 20, 2001

Oh, the shark has, pearly teeth babe...

Sharks have been in the news lately. A few weeks ago, Jessie Arbogast, a Mississippi eight-year old, was attacked by a 6-1/2 foot bull shark in the Gulf of Mexico. Jessie l ..... 
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Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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To the Editor,

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Monday, August 6, 2001

We would like to address a problem that has bothered us for several years at the Fillmore Fair and also some of the other local fairs in our area.

Our problem is with the 4-H Livestock Auction. We feel the auct ..... 
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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To the Editor,
Monday, August 6, 2001

Emotions rule over law at Board of Adjustment meeting (July 30, 2001 Journal).

My sympathy goes out to the Livingoods.

My wife and I own a small farm on the outside of Mabel. Fil ..... 
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