Metroparks Meetup: Upcoming science summit & tracking box turtles

Metroparks Meetup: Upcoming science summit & tracking box turtles
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 8:29 PM EDT
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WHITEHOUSE, Ohio (WTVG) - The Toledo Metroparks works with universities from across the country and local organizations to study wildlife in our area. One of those partnerships is with the Toledo Zoo, who has had researchers monitoring and tracking turtles in Oak Openings Metropark for years now.

“We like to call the Oak Openings region a biodiversity hotspot,” said Karen Menard, the Research & Monitoring Supervisor with Toledo Metroparks. “We have the largest amount of listed rare plants in Ohio at 161. Lucas county is the top in Ohio.”

Next week, the public is invited to attend the 2022 Oak Openings Green Ribbon Initiative Science Summit, which will highlight recent conservation efforts. It’ll be held on November 10th from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ward Pavilion at Wildwood Preserve. If you go to, you can find the link to sign up.

One of the many ongoing studies in Oak Openings is a long-term survey of the box turtle.

“They’re of concern because of general downward trends, but we don’t quite have a really good feel for how they’re doing statewide,” explained Matt Cross, the Director of Vertebrate Conservation at the Toledo Zoo.

Researchers like Matt want to see what roads the turtles are crossing, where they’re nesting, and where they settle down for the winter. To track them, they glue a tiny transmitter to the turtle’s shell.

“It essentially gives each turtle its own radio station,” said Cross. “So, we come out here, and we tune into that radio station, and we can monitor their movements around here as they move through the park and go about their turtle activities. For something that’s only about 6″ long, they definitely move around a lot more than you’d expect.”

If you’re worried about the transmitters bugging the turtles, Matt said they don’t even notice. “They don’t get hung up. They’re little tanks, they go all over the place here.”

On unusually warm days this time of year, the box turtles will come out of their hibernation burrows to soak up the sun… kind of like us humans.