Celebrate Gopher Turtle Day with a Turtle-Friendly Yard

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Press release
April 9, 2022

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) invites you to celebrate gopher tortoise day by making your yard gopher tortoise friendly. Gopher Tortoise Day is April 10, but you can celebrate year-round when you have a turtle-friendly garden.

With more than half of Florida’s land owned by private owners, the FWC recognizes the critical importance of private landowners in wildlife and habitat conservation. The FWCs Gopher Tortoise Friendly Yard Recognition Program honors private landowners in Florida for their positive impact on gopher tortoise conservation.

“The Gopher Turtle Friendly Garden Recognition Program helps recognize and encourage landowners to improve habitat and protect gopher turtles and their burrows,” said FWC’s Gopher Tortoise Program Coordinator, Katherine Richardson. “This kind of effort also benefits many other species who use turtle burrows for shelter, food and nesting.

Property owners who participate in the Gopher Tortoise Friendly Yard recognition program are recognized with a sign for their property and a certificate. Any property owner in Florida can take steps to make their land gopher tortoise friendly. For ask for recognitionproperty owners must sign the Acknowledgment Form, provide contact and ownership information, and complete the Gopher Tortoise Friendly Yard Checklist.

Gopher Tortoise Day was adopted in 2016 as a day of appreciation for our native tortoises and to encourage people to help protect this endangered species. On this Gopher Turtle Day, share your appreciation on social media. Use #GopherTortoiseDay on your social media posts and share photos of gopher tortoises you spot. Looking for more ways to celebrate Gopher Turtle Day? Go to GopherTortoiseDayFL.com for information and activities for April 10 and throughout the year, including a sample resolution for your community to adopt gopher turtle day, a guide to living with gopher turtles, and activity ideas for children, such as fun gopher tortoise coloring pages and the gopher tortoise Field Trip Guide.

There are other ways to help gopher turtles:

  • Report Gopher Turtle Sightings or notify the FWC of a sick, injured or dead turtle.
  • Consider volunteering with the FWC for gopher turtle conservation efforts. For more information about volunteering with the FWC or to request an application, email: [email protected].
  • If you see a gopher tortoise crossing a road and it is safe to do so, you can pick it up and place it in a safe place along the road. in the direction he was heading. Never put turtles in water, because gopher turtles cannot swim like turtles.
  • Remember that gopher tortoises are a protected species. It is illegal to harm a gopher tortoise, its eggs or its burrow, to move without a permit, or to possess a tortoise, its eggs or any part of a tortoise. Report wildlife violations to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Spring is an active time for gopher tortoises and many native wildlife species. Learn more by visiting MyFWC.com/News and clicking on “Spring Wildlife News.” To learn more about Florida’s only native turtle, go to MyFWC.com/GopherTortoise.

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