Activities of the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society
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Meetings:  Regular meetings throughout fall, winter, and spring at the Arsenal in Central Park and in other locations in New York metropolitan area.  Guest speakers — zoologists, veterinarians, conservationists, and other recognized experts — present topics of special interest to Society members.  See current schedule of events.

Annual Seminar:  This full-day meeting features in-depth presentations by noted turtle and tortoise authorities on a wide range of topics, designed to appeal to both serious hobbyists and professional turtle biologists.   View program information for Seminar 2014.

Conservation:  The Society actively seeks protection for both endangered species and critical habitat.  Past activities have included participation in the nationwide campaign to require and enforce the use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in shrimp nets, the promotion of legislation prohibiting environmentally hazardous balloon releases, and petitions to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, resulting in the enactment of protection for the diamondback terrapin in New York State.  With the American Museum of Natural History’s Turtle Recovery Program, NYTTS cosponsored “Conservation, Restoration, and Management of Tortoises and Turtles—An International Conference” in 1993, and published the subsequent proceedings of that meeting, a 494-page volume documenting the dire conservation status of many of the world’s chelonians.  See an overview of the proceedings volume.

Asian Scholarship Program:  From 2000 to 2004, the Society’s Asian Scholarship Program, originally conceived as a response to the Asian Turtle Crisis, was formed to build conservation capacity in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world by bringing young aspiring herpetologists to the United States for intensive summer conservation courses—enabling them to return to their native countries armed with the knowledge and skills to begin to save their nation’s chelonian fauna.  In partnership with other conservation organizations, such as the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Gopher Tortoise Council, the Nature Conservancy, and Conservation International, NYTTS made a dramatic difference in the lives of the scholarship recipients and anticipates a profound impact on future chelonian conservation in their respective regions of the world.

Educational Activity:  Through its Public Education Program, the Society disseminates current and accurate information to promote greater awareness of turtles and tortoises.  Members are available to give educational “Turtle Talks” to schools and college classes; see slides of a turtle class presentation given at Berkeley College in Manhattan, as well as the Society’s annual display at New York City’s Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day events.

Animal Welfare:  The Society is a strong advocate of protective legislation for turtles and tortoises and actively promotes the enforcement of humane laws.  A number of our members — including some of our member-veterinarians — participate in the Society’s Turtle Rehab Program, donating their time and expertise to the care and rehabilitation of injured wild turtles.  A nationwide list of veterinarians who treat turtles, has been compiled from member recommendations.

Annual Show:  Each spring, members display their animals at the Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show.  This educational event provides attendees the opportunity to examine a wide variety of species.  Informal discussions focus on the animals’ health, diet, and captive husbandry requirements.  See Annual Show photos and list of winners over the past years.