Setting Up Your Study
Refer to the how-to box turtle research manual, The Box Turtle Connection, for information on collecting data.
NAME YOUR SITE:
You need to name your Site (e.g., the name of your state park, nature center, neighborhood)
Examples of Site Names: Piedmont Wildlife Center, Fort Bragg, Lake James State Park, etc.
SELECT A DEFINED STUDY SITE (DSS):
DSS = Defined Study Site
DSS Definition: an area with a well defined boundary that is usually smaller and falls within the boundary of your Site. It is a part of your Site that is repeatedly surveyed.
Purpose of DSS:
- To help Project Leaders focus effort on a specific area within their Site
- To be able to estimate population density at your Site
- Can have one or more DSS within your Site
- Should be based on where you (and your staff) spend most of your time
Criteria for choosing a DSS:
- Is an area you are in frequently
- Easily defined boundaries (roads, trails, rivers, creeks, obvious property boundaries, obvious habitat changes, ridgelines, etc)
- Small enough that you are in all areas of the DSS at some point during the year
– Size will vary for each of you
– Size will depend on how much time you spend in this area and how much you hike/drive around in it
Example Maps of DSS’:
Example 1: Site Name: Falls Lake; DSS 1 (in light purple) and DSS 2 (peach colored). Note that some turtles were found outside of the Site
Example 2: Site Name: Lake Raleigh Woods; Only has 1 DSS; the DSS is small and encompasses the entire Site (i.e., only a few turtles were found outside the Site). Yellow shaded area is the entire Site.
Possible Scenarios when you find a box turtle (see diagram below):
- Turtle is OUTSIDE your Site (e.g., outside the Lake James State Park boundaries): report turtle observation on Carolina Herp Atlas
- If Turtle is on the property of your Site, report turtle on Box Turtle Connection project (e.g., turtle is somewhere on the Lake James State Park land)
– Scenario 1: Turtle is on Site property but NOT inside the boundaries of one of your DSS’
— Report turtle on BTC project, but indicate that turtle was outside your DSS (e.g., on Lake James State Park land but not within the boundaries of any DSS).
– Scenario 2: Turtle is on Site property AND inside the boundaries of one of your DSS’
— Report that turtle is inside a DSS and give the DSS name (e.g., on Lake James State Park land and inside DSS #1).