TALLAHASSEE — The Gopher Tortoise Council officially adopted the date of April 10 as Gopher Tortoise Day to encourage organizations and individuals to work together in conserving them.
In the hopes of minimizing further loss, the council suggests the following to increase gopher tortoise awareness:
Host a Gopher Tortoise Day event to promote appreciation for the species. Distribute informational materials to help attendees learn how to help conserve them. Download materials from the GTD website, https://bit.ly/2Oq36wb.
Plan a volunteer day at a nearby park to improve gopher tortoise habitats by cleaning up trash, removing invasive plants, or assisting park managers with native planting or vegetation maintenance.
Lead a group to look for gopher tortoises in your community. Show others their location by submitting gopher tortoise photos through the Florida Gopher Tortoise smartphone application. Download it at https://bit.ly/2JDSRFx.
Encourage kids to appreciate nature by using the Gopher Tortoise Field Trip Guide at https://bit.ly/2uv2MDa.
Highlight the animal at a wildlife appreciation festival by hosting on-site activities, setting up a booth or table, and distributing brochures and information.
Organize hands-on activities for kids at a school or camp, such as designing Gopher Tortoise Day T-shirts, or coloring gopher tortoise hats and masks. Sample activities are available on the Gopher Tortoise Day website, including a taxonomic match game, classroom presentations, coloring pages, and instructions for building an interactive gopher tortoise burrow.
Landscape your yard or neighborhood using the Florida Guide to Gopher Tortoise Friendly Plants at https://bit.ly/2uw41lC.
Install informational signs where gopher tortoises are known to occur. Make sure you have received permission from the property owner.
Volunteer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to help conserve gopher tortoises.
To find the resources listed above, and for more ideas on how to contribute to the event, visit the Get Involved page on the GTD website.