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Skidaway Audubon Diamondback Terrapin Rescue Project win inaugural Community Conservation Award

In 2022, the DTWG will began recognizing public or private organizations that have demonstrated long-term and substantive efforts to promote education and actions for the conservation of Diamondback terrapins. Any DTWG member may submit a nomination for meritorious organization to be considered by the DTWG board.

The inaugural recipients of the award are the Skidaway Audubon Diamondback Terrapin Rescue Project.

The Skidaway Audubon Diamondback Terrapin Rescue Project is a citizen group founded in 2002 and currently supported by 18 volunteers. The project started with terrapin nests that were rescued from the local golf course being incubated in flowerpots on a founding member’s porch. In 2010, Skidaway Audubon adopted the program. Over its 13 years of activity, the Skidaway Audubon Diamondback Terrapin Rescue Project has protected and reared ~3,400 terrapin nests leading to the release of a ~23,000 terrapin hatchlings. They have saved 88% of terrapin eggs that prior to the efforts of these individuals were almost all destroyed by predators or golf course maintenance. In addition, the program has hosted more than 200 events attended by more than 4,000 people, and the program has been embraced so positively by the entire community that in 2020 The Landings Club renamed the “Plantation Golf Course” to “Terrapin Point” in honor of the turtles and the efforts of its residents to conserve these turtles.

Beyond their local efforts within their community, the Skidaway Audubon Diamondback Terrapin Rescue Project has partnered with the Coastal Conservation Group on the island to do numerous presentations to the families who attend their 'kids fishing events', hosted a number of exchange students and their families, conducted special events for the Landings Club employees and their families, participated in UGA's Marine Science Fairs and summer camps, led special programs for special needs children, done presentations to a number of groups on and off the island such as Kiwanis, PEO Groups, and the Rotary, and published articles to inform residents of the status of the project and the dates for the 'Hatchling Happenings'. The group worked with Mary Landers from The Savannah Morning News to publish several articles on the project, they worked with Chris Steigelman, a Landings course superintendent, to write an article about terrapin conservation for the Georgia Golf Course publication. The Skidaway group has also engaged with researchers and conservation biologists around the region to leverage their efforts in support of terrapin science.

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