Why Turtles Need Bridges Too

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Every day I want to learn something new. Today, what I learned was not only new, but also involved very cool science. I was catching up on listening to some podcasts and I heard a story about a guy named Michael Musnick. Mr. Musnick was described in the story as a “citizen scientist” who lives in Duchess County, New York. With no formal training, he wrote a grant to study wood turtles in the Great Swamp in Duchess County. He wanted to study the turtles because he had the time to do so and, in his own words, he thought the turtles were cute.

His study involved attaching radio transmitters to the shells of wood turtles. During his studies, he observed and counted dead wood turtles on a set of railroad tracks. New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a train rail running right through the area he was studying. What he discovered was that the dead wood turtles were not being killed by passing trains, but were getting stuck between the rails and were dying from the summer heat. On his own, he came up with a solution....turtle bridges. What the heck is that? Click here and take a look at the video.

So, today I learned what a turtle bridge looks like and what purpose it serves. But the thing I find really cool about this story is that a private citizen had an idea to study something in the world around him, discovered something new, and came up with a simple solution to a problem. It makes me want to run out and look more closely at the world around me. Is there something that I’ve seen before but never thought deeply enough about to allow me to see how I can lend a hand? How about you, reader? If you look more closely at the world today, will you spot something new? Let me know!

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