Diamondback Terrapin Field Research and Conservation

By Meghan K. Hill

The Open University of Wellfleet is offering “Diamondback Terrapins Field Research and Conservation,” with Barbara Brennessel.


The spring course meets on four Tuesdays, 12-2 p.m. starting May 12. The first class is an overview and introduction, held at the Wellfleet Library. All other classes will be held in the field, from 12-2 p.m. The cost of the course is $50.

The diamondback terrapin is a species of turtle native to the brackish coastal swamps of the eastern and southern United States. It belongs to the monotypic genus, Malaclemys. It has one of the largest ranges of all turtles in North America, stretching as far south as Florida Keys and as far north as Cape Cod. Diamondback terrapins are a threatened turtle species in Massachusetts.

Course participants will get to know this charismatic turtle in its Wellfleet Harbor habitat, via field work, discussion and lecture, and by capturing and marking terrapins for the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary population study. Exploring the turtles’ aquatic and terrestrial habitats and learning how to contribute to efforts to protect their fragile nesting habitats will also be a part of the coursework.

Note: Participants should have access to waders and be willing to get wet.  Classes may be rescheduled if weather does not cooperate.
The Open University strives to sustain and enrich intellectual life on the Outer Cape during the shoulder seasons, by offering courses to the public that celebrate the area’s rich history and culture, and that draw on the talents and expertise of Cape Cod residents.
Learn more about the Open University and their course offerings click here

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