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Slow but Steady - Gopher Tortoise Day at Koreshan Monday

April 5, 2017
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

It's all about celebrating Gopher Tortoise Day Monday, April 10, at Koreshan State Historic Site, in association with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and all are welcome to come by and enjoy the reptilian fun at 3800 Corkscrew Blvd., Estero. Celebrate Florida's only native tortoise by discovering more about these magnificent creatures and what you can do to help ensure their conservation throughout the day.

The goal of Gopher Tortoise Day at Koreshan State Historic Site is to increase awareness and appreciation for these long lived, gentle reptiles through educational programs, fun activities, informative handouts and opportunities to observe these amazing tortoises throughout the park.

The educational programs will last approximately 45 minutes and will begin at 10 a.m. that morning with "The Life and Times of Gopher Tortoises," followed by a guest speaker on FWC Protection and Conservation Efforts at 11.

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Participants at the noon program will discover more about how our actions can strengthen recovery efforts in "The Rehabilitation and Struggles of Gopher Tortoises."

From now through May, for example, the gopher tortoise is increasingly active, leaving its underground burrow in search of spring greenery to eat and, in many cases, a mate.

People can help by watching out for a tortoise crossing the highway and, if it's safe for you to do so, picking it up and placing it on the roadside in the direction it was heading. Just don't put this terrestrial animal in the water.

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The last program of the day at 1 p.m. is for the kids (and the kids at heart) to explore why gopher tortoises are such an important part of the environment, and how kids can make an impact to help these fascinating reptiles.

There is no additional cost to attend this special celebration, just standard park admission.

The full schedule of events includes:

10 a.m.: The Life and Times of Gopher Tortoises

11 a.m.: FWC Protection Efforts

Noon: The Rehabilitation and Struggles of Gopher Tortoises

1 p.m.: Hey Kids! How Can You Help Gopher Tortoises?

For additional information, contact the Ranger Station, 239-992-0311 or visit



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