2004 Summary of Accomplishments

THE ASHTON BIODIVERSITY RESEARCH AND PRESERVATION INSTITUTE
A PROGRAM OF
GOPHER TORTOISE CONSEVATION INITIATIVE
A 501-3C NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION

It was the 6th exciting year for the Institute and the 5th for GTCI. We weathered two hits by hurricanes that did no damage and refilled our two natural ponds that have been dry for more than two years. We have had quite a busy year in our educational and research efforts as well as our proactive efforts to encourage a good conservation strategy by the Florida Wildlife Commission.

Education

A NEW BOOK

The Ashton’s postponed the completion of their natural history and management book on gopher tortoises (Krieger Publ), and the Proceedings of the International Roundtable on Chelonian Relocation and Assurance Colonies to produce a new book for the general public. The book titled Gopher Tortoise, A Life History published by Pineapple Press is the first book on Gopher Tortoises that is scientifically accurate and goes into details of all aspects of the tortoise’s natural history, habitat, management, and conservation. It is in full color and has more than 100 photographs. This book can be ordered at WWW. ashtonbiodiversity.org or at your local bookstore.

BOOK CHALLENGE GRANT

Board Member MC Davis provided a challenge grant to GTCI and FWC to match $15,000 to purchase books for school libraries across the state. As of this writing, Thanks to a number of groups and individuals and FWC, it appears that match will be met and approximately 1500 copies will be distributed to schools across the state.

GTCI COURSES AND PROGRAMS

Although the course participation was down, still more than 200 professionals participated in courses on habitat management and monitoring, reserve management, and tortoise management and study techniques. This brings the number of professionals trained to approximately 2200. Lectures and workshops were given in 12 locations in 2004 with more than 1000 participants. 

INTERNSHIPS

There were 8 interns who studied and worked at the Reserve for 3 to 12 months. The interns were from the Netherlands (2), Germany, England, Bangladesh, University of Florida, New College, Eckert College, and the state of Washington.

Research

Exciting is an understatement. We worked with the National Science Foundation and the Fauna Communications Research Institute to discover that tortoises use low frequency sound to communicate. We concluded 11 years of research on how to conduct successful gopher tortoise relocation and our book The Natural History and Management of the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) was submitted to the publisher. Our work on tortoise behavior and assurance colonies continues. We are currently cooperating with 7 other institutions on projects.

A New Joint Venture Partner

In order to get our information out as best as possible we have partnered with Acoustica Projects for our sound proof studio creation needs.

What You Can Do to Protect the Wildlife

The nature that surrounds us is extremely important for the survival of mankind, and those who don’t understand now will feel it later. The truth is that every one of you can do something to protect the nature and the wildlife, not just because some species are almost extinct, but because the future generations also need to enjoy what we can see around us now.

Adopt

You don’t have to take the animal at home, but you can adopt it from a distance if you can’t afford to raise it with you. Apart from stray cats and dogs, you can adopt anything from wild animals to wild places, as there is an option for everyone who wants to make a change. You can find a conservation organization and make a symbolic adoption to help fund them, as they always need money to feed and offer medical care to the animals.

Volunteer

You don’t have to donate money if you don’t have any, because you can always donate your time for the wild animals. As we mentioned before, different organizations and zoos need people to help them and they usually have volunteer programs. Within those programs you can rescue wild animals, clean beaches or different places, or you can teach visitors about what they are seeing in the zoo.

Visit

To learn more about wild life and other interesting things, you can always visit zoos, national parks, aquariums and wildlife refuges that are all home to wild animals. You can learn directly from experts and see some of the most amazing creatures close up front.

Pay the Fees

The zoos and other wild life parks have the fees in order to help them gain some money. This helps them maintain the vital conservation areas in a good condition, and if you can’t offer yourself as volunteer, you can donate the entry fees or more if you can afford it.

Be Responsible

You can help protecting the wildlife by not buying products that are made from endangered animals – it’s a way of fighting against wildlife trafficking as most of the times these are profitable activities for those who do it.

Recycling

It’s important to have a certain respect for the items that you use, and if you can find new ways for using them, you should do so. If you can’t reuse the product or the item, then you can certainly recycle or find a new use for that. Many zoos have recycling programs, from different items, like the phones that contain coltan or other things.

Restoring

Many people think that destroying the natural habitats can help them spread the civilization. What they don’t understand is that the wild life needs their own spaces to live in, and if you can’t do anything about it, you can always plant the native trees and plants that can be generally found in your area. You can also restore the wetlands or clean the beaches in your zone, if you live somewhere close to the sea or the ocean.

Joining

You can always find the right organization that shares your passion in protecting the natural habitats or those that prevent the wildlife trafficking. You can always stay informed and actively support the organization that you have chosen.

One thing that is important in organisations like this is to build a team that can work together to affect social change when it comes to conservation. This is why we teamed up with a company run by a good friend of mine – team building sydney epping.

Influence your purchasing decisions

Influencing your purchasing decisions is extremely important – and so we recommend that if you get the chance you purchase green recycable tools like the bamboo toothbrush australia ultimo to ensure that the environment survives another 1,000 years!