Volunteers Tag Along with Maryland Coastal Bays Program to Count Terrapins
It was a day well spent on the water for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and a few volunteers during the sixth annual Maryland Coastal Bays Terrapin Survey.
The yearly survey occurs once in the spring, this year beginning on May 31 and lasting until June 4.
According to MCBP Watershed Program Coordinator, Amanda Poskaitis, the organization is looking to collect data for the Maryland Terrapin Working Group, a group MCBP is apart of. The main goal of the survey is to figure out how many terrapins there are and where they are.
“Terrapins come out of the marshes from hibernation and they congregate,”Poskaitis says. “We want to figure out what they are doing and we want to figure out how many there are and we are trying to get some type of population estimate to see if they are doing well or declining.”
Poskaitis works with a variety of citizen scientists to help get these numbers—Vernon Odle is one of them. Odle became involved with the MCBP when he volunteered to watch a seal that was down on Ocean City beaches from the storm.
“We did two hour shifts, and from there on I realized this is something I want to do to help my community and be out there helping the animals,” Odle says.
Poskaitis says one of her favorite parts of the job is being outside on the water with the volunteers and helping people to understand why these organisms are important to the community.
“We had a little over 40 citizen scientists volunteers for the Terrapin Survey last year. With the Maryland Coastal Bays Program we rely on our volunteers, we have a very small staff and a very large group of volunteers throughout the community that helps us with a lot of different programs and we are very grateful to have them.”
To learn how you can be apart of the MCBP or to take part in the Terrapin Survey, visit mdcoastalbays.org/terrapin-project.