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Why Study Turtles Anyway?


Fri, Oct 5th, 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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Fall Harvest Continues...

Fri, Oct 5th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, October 8, 2001

The days are getting so short all of a sudden; winter is closing in on us. There's still a lot to do in the garden.

At the advice of a neighbor, I made a little hoop house over my beets. They cam ..... 
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The Quest for Caulk

Fri, Oct 5th, 2001
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Monday, Octovber 8, 2001

The house sprung a leak. I needed some caulk to plug the hole to keep the house from filling with water and sinking. Talk about the road paved with good intentions.

I knew I had some caulk in the garage. It wa ..... 
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Contemporary Bunkshooters

Fri, Oct 5th, 2001
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Monday, October 1, 2001

The Rev. Jerry Falwell is what poet Carl Sandburg would call a bunkshooter. Pat Robertson is one too.

Full-flushing, bonafide bunkshooters. Conjurers, magicians, illusionists, pulling the wool over many people ..... 
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Fri, Oct 5th, 2001
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Fri, Oct 5th, 2001
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Fri, Oct 5th, 2001
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Fri, Oct 5th, 2001
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Oct 5th, 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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