The Box Turtle Connection

Project Description

The Box Turtle Collaborative is a team of scientists, educators, and wildlife professionals who are interested in learning more about box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) in North Carolina. Representatives from two universities (Davidson College and UNC Greensboro) and four state agencies (NC Wildlife Resource Commission, NC State Parks, NC Zoo, and NC State Museum of Natural Sciences) came together in 2007 and initiated a plan to collect data on box turtles from around the state. It was an ambitious idea. We call it the Box Turtle Connection. Objectives of The Box Turtle Connect...

Project Map

Publicly Accessible: Partially
County: Ashe County, NC; Buncombe County, NC; Burke County, NC; Camden County, NC; Chatham County, NC; Columbus County, NC; Cumberland County, NC; Durham County, NC; Gaston County, NC; Gates County, NC; Guilford County, NC; Henderson County, NC; Mecklenburg County, NC; Orange County, NC; Randolph County, NC; Rockingham County, NC; Stanly County, NC; Stokes County, NC; Surry County, NC; Transylvania County, NC; Vance County, NC; Wake County, NC; Yancey County, NC
Project Size:
  • 27980.0 acres

Project Sites

  • Camp Chestnut Ridge
  • Collie Farm (Not publicly accessible)
  • Davidson College
  • Dismal Swamp State Park
  • Dupont State Forest
  • Earthshine Mountain Lodge
  • Eno River State Park
  • Falls Lake
  • Fort Bragg
  • Fortress of Solitude (Not publicly accessible)
  • Hanging Rock State Park
  • Haw River State Park
  • Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
  • Kerr Lake State Recreation Area
  • Lake Crabtree County Park
  • Lake James State Park
  • Lake Raleigh Woods
  • Lake Waccamaw State Park
  • Lumber River State Park
  • Merchant's Millpond State Park
  • Morrow Mountain State Park
  • Mountain Air
  • NC Arboretum
  • NC State Museum of Natural Sciences
  • New River State Park
  • North Carolina Zoo
  • Peacefalls (Not publicly accessible)
  • Piedmont Camp (Not publicly accessible)
  • Piedmont Wildlife Center
  • Price Park
  • Reedy Creek Nature Center
  • River Bend Farm (Not publicly accessible)
  • Sarah and Alex Project (Not publicly accessible)
  • Schiele Museum
  • Somers Berry Farm (Not publicly accessible)
  • South Mountain State Park
  • Umstead State Park

Goals and Targets

Targeted Habitats:

  • Forests and Woodlands
  • Human Habitats

Targeted Species:

  • Eastern Box Turtle Terrapene carolina

Conservation Actions

Action Status Start Year End Year


Is the success of this project's actions being monitored? Yes

Monitoring Activities
Turtles are permanently marked and measured by the project leaders for each monitoring site and data is entered into a password protected database managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Lessons Learned and/or Suggestions for Similar Activities
The 2006 book"The Box Turtle Connection: A Passageway into the Natural World" a guide for resource managers, herpetologists, nature center directors, and citizen scientists that would help direct their work on this (once) common animal. Recently updated in 2017, the revised version "The Box Turtle Connection: Building a Legacy" modifies and standardizes research protocols and portrays how the Box Turtle Connection project in North Carolina is building a long-term research study. New sections have been added to the book about gardening, mowing, and health concerns. Although research and conservation work concerns populations and not individuals, new appendices on identifying wellness and disease in box turtles have been added to the book. The strength of the BTC model is that our Project Leaders do not have to conduct special searches for the turtles because most are incidental captures. However, we do not have a suitable way to measure the time spent looking for turtles, which means there is no way to measure “capture per unit effort” (CUPE). This means that statistical methods that depend on this measure cannot be used in our data analyses. Though limited in this aspect, our data provide valuable insight into the regional and temporal differences in the life histories of the turtles and the status of our box turtle populations over the lifespan of this project. Our data are available to researchers worldwide; to request access see contact information on our website (

Any Additional Information About The Project
Free educational materials are available for download from the project's web site: Use the link below to visit the state-level Box Turtle Connection Web Site.

Quick Facts

Owning Organization

North Carolina

Managing Organization

(State Government)

Contact Information

Ann Berry Somers (Chair)
Department of Biology, UNC Greensboro

General Information

Project #: 197509
Last Updated: May 31, 2019

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