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Maryland Coastal Bays Seeks Volunteers for Annual Terrapin Turtle Count

Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) is looking for volunteers to participate in the Annual Diamondback Terrapin count from May 28 through June 1.

The diamondback terrapin is Maryland’s state reptile and the mascot for the University of Maryland, but its current population status in the Coastal Bays is poorly understood.  In an effort to better understand its status, both organizations coordinate annual counts.

Trained volunteers will conduct these surveys throughout the week of May 28 through June 1. Those who are interested in becoming a trained volunteer to conduct surveys should attend training classes, which will be held at the MCBP office on Monday, May 13 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Sunday, May 19 at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, May 22 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. RSVP to Katherine Phillips at kphillips@mdcoastalbays.org if you would like to attend. The class will take place at the Maryland Coastal Bays Program office,  located at 8219 Stephen Decatur Highway Berlin, Maryland.

The surveys will take place in the Coastal Bays, including brackish-water creeks, throughout the designated week. Counts take place both on water and on land. From motorboats to kayaks and SUPs, all are encouraged to participate.

Terrapins are the only turtle occupying brackish water, but other turtles, such as snapping turtles, may venture into more brackish water, so it’s important that volunteers are trained to identify the correct species.

Locations of surveys will depend on the number of crews that are available and may take place in all of Maryland’s Coastal Bays. Those whp are interested in participating in the survey should contact Katherine Phillips at kphillips@mdcoastalbays.org or by calling 410-213-2297 ext. 109.

MCBP is a 501 (c) (3) consensus non-profit dedicated to working with the public to protect the bays behind Ocean City and Assateague Island.

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