Turtle Conservation

Blanding’s Turtle
Research on the threatened Blanding’s turtle began in 1983 with the collection of basic population and habitat data in small wetlands in Dutchess County, New York (Kiviat 1988). A graduate student working with Hudsonia, the Nature Conservancy, and the State, created an artificial nesting habitat as a surrogate for a natural nesting area in a residential subdivision (Emrich 1991). This unprecedented experiment achieved success through subsequent efforts of the Nature Conservancy. In 1993 Hudsonia teamed up with microbial ecologist Peter Groffman of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and sampled soils and vegetation in Blanding’s turtle habitats to gain a better understanding of land use – habitat relationships, and design of landscape-level reserves (Kiviat 1997).

In 1996-97, Hudsonia designed a Blanding’s turtle habitat restoration project that included wetland habitats, upland nesting areas, and a one-way turtle barrier to keep the turtles out of a hazardous development site (Kiviat et al. 2000). Hudsonia received the Project Facilitation Award from the Society for Ecological Restoration in 1997 for this work. The turtle population and the habitats at this site have been continually monitored since 1996 by Hudsonia staff and volunteers.

Bog Turtle
In 1992 we analyzed the landscapes and habitats of the endangered bog turtle in eastern New York; previous work on this subject was conducted by Kiviat (1978).

Bog turtle and Blanding’s turtle continue to provide models for the role of conservation science in land use planning (Kiviat 1993). The turtle research has been conducted in collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, State Office of Parks, Restoration, and Historic Preservation, The Nature Conservancy, American Museum of Natural History, the Wildlife Conservation Society, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and many local groups.


Emrich, M. 1991. The creation of artificial nesting sites for the Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii). M.S. thesis, Bard College.

Kiviat, E. 1978. Bog turtle habitat ecology. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 13(2):29-42.

Kiviat, E. 1988. Time and the Blanding’s turtle. News from Hudsonia (Summer):1-6.

Kiviat, E. 1993. A tale of two turtles; Conservation of the Blanding’s turtle and bog turtle. News from Hudsonia 9(3):1-6.

Kiviat, E. 1997. Blanding’s turtle habitat requirements and implications for conservation in Dutchess County, New York. P. 377-382 in J. Van Abbema, ed. Proceedings: Conservation, Restoration, and Management of Tortoises and Turtles, an International Conference. New York Turtle and Tortoise Society.

Kiviat, E., G. Stevens, R. Brauman, S. Hoeger, P.J. Petokas & G.G. Hollands. 2000. Restoration of wetland and upland habitat for Blanding’s turtle. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(4):650-657.

Hudsonia, a tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation of the State of New York, classified 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service, relies on the generous, tax-deductible contributions from members of our community to sustain our research and education. We appreciate your support of our work.