Posts Tagged Fincastle

Playwright and . . . naturalist?

The first eastern snapping turtle recorded in Botetourt County, Virginia. Who knew?

The first eastern snapping turtle recorded in Botetourt County, Virginia. Who knew?

Almost every morning, I take a walk. To breath in the fresh country air. To exercise body as well and mind. This morning, as I was hoofing it back home, I looked up and . . . “holy crap!” (Actually, I said something a little more colorful). There was a giant turtle crossing the road. And doing so at a pretty good clip for a turtle.

Naturally, I did what anybody else nowadays. I took a picture with my photo, and posted it to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, where a small fight soon broke out among some of my Facebook friends over just what species it was. Eventually, they all agreed, but that’s getting ahead of the story. Fellow Botetourt County filmmaker (and Girl Scout leader) Jane Garnett identified it as an eastern snapping turtle, and provided a link to the Virginia Herpetological Society’s turtle page as proof. There, I discovered an email address called “animal identification,” so I clicked it and sent ’em my pix of the turtle in question.

Lo! Before long, I received an email back verifying this was an eastern snapping turtle. Even better, I was told this was the first time an eastern snapping turtle had been documented in Botetourt County. Obviously the critters have been around a long time — it’s well within their range — and surely others have seen ’em. But no one had documented this with the society until now! I was promptly invited to file a scientific field note — instructions were provided! — and I was told:

“Once your field note is published in Catesbeiana, we will update our website/databases and you’ll be recorded in Virginia history as the first person to document an eastern snapping turtle in Botetourt Co.”

As if that wasn’t enough, the society president himself soon emailed me to chime in:

“This is a great opportunity to get recognition for your observation! But if you are not interested or unable to create the field note, let us know and one of us will help you as a co-author.”

Recognition? Who knew! So now can I add “naturalist” to my name?

For the record, and by golly, this is all for the record, here’s the field note I submitted: Read the rest of this entry »


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