The South Jersey group Margate Terrapin Rescue Project was started by locals who were concerned about the number of turtles that were getting killed crossing the Margate Causeway.

The project officially began in 2007, according to their website, trying to increase public awareness and decrease fatalities of terrapins by installing various types of fencing or barriers to keep the turtles from crossing the road.

Many concerned local people, groups, and organizations have lent a hand over the years to help maintain and improve the barrier system.

Other volunteers help by performing daily road patrols and walking, and/or driving along the causeway looking for any crossing terrapins or injured terrapins, especially during the nesting season, which runs from May through July.

Margate Terrapin Rescue refers to this group of volunteers as their citizen scientist program. They are now recruiting new volunteers to join in this effort.

Here's what the important volunteer work would entail.

  • Perform daily road patrols (walking or driving or combination) looking for any crossing terrapins, injured terrapins and unfortunately deceased terrapins as well.
  • Collecting data on any sightings (alive, deceased, injured and nesting)
  • Marking and protecting terrapin nests with predator exclusion cages  (after they have laid their eggs)
  • Taking injured terrapins to permitted wildlife rehabilitators or eggs to Stockton University or Wetlands Institute for incubation

Patrols can be either morning or afternoon/evening but we do encourage our volunteers to try to go at high tide on your assigned day/timeframe when the most terrapin activity occurs.  Expect the patrols to take anywhere from 30 minutes to upwards of 2-3 hours.

If you are interested in finding out more, go to the Margate Terrapin Rescue Project Facebook page or the Margate Terrapin Rescue Project website for more details.

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