George L. Heinrich, Heinrich Ecological Services
and Florida Turtle Conservation Trust

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
5:30 – 7 p.m. (program begins at 5:40 p.m.)
Phoenix Zoo Stone House Pavilion
Light refreshments provided
RSVP required by November 6 to jdeiter@phoenixzoo.org to ensure adequate seating

Turtles play significant ecological roles and are visible elements in many habitats. A long list of diverse threats has contributed to ~59% of all turtles being threatened with extinction. 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. With 62 species found here, the United States is the most turtle-rich country in the world. While species from areas such as Asia, South America, and Madagascar typically receive the majority of conservation attention given to turtles, 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. 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.

George L. Heinrich is a field biologist and environmental educator specializing in Florida reptiles. A graduate of Memphis State University, his current work with his firm, Heinrich Ecological Services, focuses on the ecology and conservation of gopher tortoises at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Petersburg, Florida, anthropogenic threats to diamondback terrapins and distributional surveys of the Suwannee cooter within its southern range. George 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.