Boxed Out – A Day in the Life of an Eastern Box Turtle

Imagine coming home…to find it’s gone.

Foraging the forest for berries, spiders and worms to eat, the Eastern Box Turtles – the turtle most commonly found on land throughout Monmouth County’s forested landscapes and meadows--can be easily displaced by their home’s destruction.  Once surrounded by thousands of acres of woodlands, filled with the sounds of streams and whispering leaves, much of the habitat they and other wildlife need to survive has been lost.

You can make sure that turtles, and other wildlife, have a place to call home…forever. Critical habitat, throughout the county, is facing development pressure that will eliminate habitat for these beautiful reptiles.

You can make sure that turtles, and other wildlife, have a place to call home…forever. Critical habitat, throughout the county, is facing development pressure that will eliminate habitat for these beautiful reptiles.

With haphazard and sprawling development, on the rise, these beautiful reptiles, marked by their iconic yellow and black shell, find their habitat more at risk than ever before.

The good news - we still have a chance to conserve some of the best remaining forests and meadows in our region. In Colts Neck and Wall Townships, local families are looking for Monmouth Conservation’s assistance to conserve these lands rather than sell them for development.

It takes only a few minutes to fell a forest tree while the sounds of chainsaws echo throughout the remaining woods.  In that wake, the natural habitat of not only the Eastern Box Turtle, but all kinds of wildlife, is wiped out.

These families know, just like you, that development isn’t bad, or something to be rejected, here in the County. Rather, we just need to balance the conservation of wildlife habitat, farms, parks and areas around waterways with development to ensure a stable tax base, quality of life, and enhance resiliency from extreme weather.

Study after study has documented that maintaining a balance between undeveloped and developed lands is important to our economy, our health---and the survival and habitat of wildlife that inhabit those lands.

But we are running out of time to conserve the essence of what makes these areas viable for wildlife. That’s because once the habitat demolished, and gateways between them is destroyed, it often loses the ability to provide the habitat needed for many of these animals to live.

The turtles are at risk. But so are the butterflies, songbirds, hummingbirds and the wondrous variety of wildlife that enriches our lives in so many ways.

According to a  Global Assessment report released in May 2019 by the United Nations , human activity has resulted in the sever alteration of more than 75 percent of Earth’s land areas. The earth is at risk of losing one million species, like the Eastern Box Turtle, to extinction due to over-development like this site in Middletown, New Jersey.

According to a Global Assessment report released in May 2019 by the United Nations, human activity has resulted in the sever alteration of more than 75 percent of Earth’s land areas. The earth is at risk of losing one million species, like the Eastern Box Turtle, to extinction due to over-development like this site in Middletown, New Jersey.

We are facing a critical choice whose impact will last for generations to come. With your help, we can conserve hundreds of acres before they are lost and create the protected corridors of woodlands and meadows, along with streams and waterways, for animals to migrate, raise their young, and find food and shelter.

It’s the gift of ensuring they have a home. It’s a gift that also defines our home, and our community, here in Monmouth County, for years to come.

  • Over the past 20 years, thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, have been lost to haphazard and sprawling development like that pictured below.

  • The next five years are critical to create wildlife corridors along streams and farms, before they are developed.

  • Extreme weather is requiring greater diversity of wildlife habitat to allow them to migrate food, water, and places to raise their young.

  • You love of wildlife will make a difference.  There are projects ready to be conserved – all we need is you.  To take action through your donation, please follow the link below.

  • Learn more about a statewide effort to protect and connect wildlife habitat across New Jersey by visiting the New Jersey Division of Wildlife website for Connecting Habitat Across New Jersey:  https://www.njfishandwildlife.com/ensp/chanj.ht