The University of Tennessee Arboretum Society is offering two opportunities to hear renowned turtle expert George L. Heinrich in October as part of a nationwide speaking tour. Heinrich is executive director and co-founder of the Florida Turtle Conservation Trust.
The first opportunity to hear him speak will be at the UT Arboretum Society’s Annual Membership Dinner and Silent Auction. It’s scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Monday, October 15, at Calhoun’s Event Center at 100 Melton Lake Peninsula in Oak Ridge. Heinrich will be the featured speaker. The public is welcome to attend, and the cost is $30 for members and $35 for non-members of the UT Arboretum Society, a press release said.
Reservations are required for the dinner. To reserve a place or for more information on the annual dinner and silent auction, call Pat Row at (865) 482-9096 or send her an email at [email protected]. Credit cards, cash, or checks will be accepted at the door, the press release said.
“Come enjoy an evening of great food, an interesting presentation, and silent auction,” the press release said.
The deadline for reservations is October 11.
The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour, cash bar, and silent auction. At 6:30, there will be a buffet dinner followed by Heinrich’s presentation, the press release said. A brief business meeting will take place after the program. Dinner music will be performed by Elza Gate, with Bob Cushman and Pat Parr. Silent actions items include fine crafts, gifts certificates, signed books, art, wine and accessories, hand tools, and much, much more. All proceeds go to support the UT Arboretum.
“Arrive early for the best bidding and to chat with other UT Arboretum supporters,” the press release said. “Be prepared to bid on the diverse collection of auction items.”
Heinrich will also present this program for the general public at Roane State Community College the next night, Tuesday, October 16. It’s scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in the City Room. There is no charge for the lecture, but contributions to defray UT Arboretum Society program costs are always accepted, the press release said.
“A special thanks goes to John Byrd and CRESO (Clinch River Environmental Studies Organization) for helping sponsor these programs,” the release said.
The program is titled, “The Big Turtle Year: Celebrating Wild Turtles Across the United States.”
Turtles play significant ecological roles and are visible elements in many habitats, the press release said.
But a long list of diverse threats to species globally has contributed to about 59 percent of all turtles being threatened with extinction, the release said.
“Working in negative synergy, these threats present broad and immediate conservation challenges for one of the most endangered wildlife taxa in the world,” the press release said. “Despite the urgency of the situation, opportunities for conservation are abundant and the charismatic attraction of turtles makes them an excellent group for education and outreach efforts to enhance ecological, conservation, and environmental awareness.”
The United States is the most turtle-rich country with 62 species and 89 terminal taxa, and many taxa of conservation concern, according to the press release. While species from areas such as Asia, South America, and Madagascar often receive the majority of conservation attention, the plight of species within the U.S. quietly goes unnoticed. The goal of The Big Turtle Year initiative is to increase awareness regarding the status of these often overlooked species and to emphasize their rich diversity, natural history, and conservation, the press release said.
Throughout 2017, Florida Turtle Conservation Trust researchers visited numerous sites accompanied by other biologists and conservationists in an effort to see as many species as possible during a single year, while examining threats and conservation actions needed. For more information on the Florida Turtle Conservation Trust, visit http://www.thebigturtleyear.org/
George L. Heinrich is a field biologist and environmental educator specializing in Florida reptiles. His company, Heinrich Ecological Services, is based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and it conducts wildlife surveys and research, natural history programming, and nature-based tours. A graduate of Memphis State University, his current work focuses on the ecology and conservation of gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (St. Petersburg, Florida), anthropogenic threats to diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin), and distributional surveys of the Suwannee cooter (Pseudemys concinna suwanniensis) within its southern range. Heinrich is an invited member of the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, served twice as co-chair of the Gopher Tortoise Council, and is the executive director of the Florida Turtle Conservation Trust.
To learn more about this program or the UT Arboretum Society, go to www.utarboretumsociety.org. For more information on the program, call (865) 483-7277.
Celebrating 53 years in 2018, this program is one of many lectures and activities that will be offered this year by the UT Arboretum Society. The program is cosponsored by the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center.
The Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, is one of 10 outdoor laboratories located throughout the state as part of the UT AgResearch system. AgResearch is a division of the UT Institute of Agriculture. The Institute of Agriculture also provides instruction, research, and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, and UT Extension offices, with locations in every county in the state.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Most news stories on Oak Ridge Today are free, brought to you by Oak Ridge Today with help from our advertisers, contributors, and subscribers. This is a free story. Thank you to our advertisers, contributors, and subscribers. You can see what we cover here.
Do you appreciate this story or our work in general? If so, please consider a monthly subscription to Oak Ridge Today. See our Subscribe page here. Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today.
Copyright 2018 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.