Now, in deep winter, all is quiet at Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Stroudsburg. Or so it seems.
These 6,000 acres under the protection of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service host an unusually large number of mammals, birds, and other wildlife listed as a “federal trust species," including five threatened or endangered species.
Find out more about these critters at “Turtle Talk," led by Mike Horne, refuge manager, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, at refuge headquarters, 2138 Croasdale Road, Stroudsburg.
The star of the show is the bog turtle, a Pocono native. Maxing out at barely four inches long, bog turtles are the smallest turtles in North America. And the cutest. They eat just about anything that fits in their mouths, and most spend their whole lives in the wetland where they were born.
Even in summer, they spend much of their time buried in mud, able to survive without oxygen for long periods. Now through mid-April, they are hibernating in small groups. In spring, they will come blinking to the surface, ready to bask in the sun and look for a mate.
Females lay clutches of just three or four tiny eggs. Eggs and hatchlings are prey for birds and mammals, but if a young turtle survives, it may live 50 years. In all of North America, there may be as few as 2,500 bog turtles alive today, their numbers slashed by disappearing habitat.
The free talk is sponsored by the Friends of Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge, National Fish and Wildlife, and Brodhead Watershed Association. Registration is not required but appreciated. To register call 570-839-1120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit brodheadwatershed.org.