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Gopher Tortoise Day is April 10

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is counting on people and organizations like you to help us with conservation of this important species by adopting April 10 as Florida Gopher Tortoise Day in your community! We hope you join us in promoting Gopher Tortoise Day to increase awareness and appreciation for these long-lived, gentle reptiles. Now is the time to start your planning!

Go to the Florida Gopher Tortoise Day website, gophertortoisedayfl.com, for the resources to assist you in adopting April 10 as Gopher Tortoise Day in your community, including a resolution template, sample press release and sample social media post. You also can find information on hosting a Gopher Tortoise Day event, including educational materials that can be downloaded and distributed at events and in neighborhoods, local schools, or local government offices. Last but not least, the website includes gopher tortoise photos, a video and fun facts that answer common questions about gopher tortoises.

If you have questions about Gopher Tortoise Day, hosting an event, or adopting a resolution, please contact the Gopher Tortoise Education and Outreach Coordinator at Theresa.Dash@MyFWC.com or call (850) 921–1025.

Goodbye to Dr. Bob Herrington

It is with great sadness to announce the passing of Dr. Bob Herrington, a longtime Gopher Tortoise Council officer and friend. Bob served as the chair of the GTC Research Advisory Committee for more than 20 years and was responsible for awarding Larry Landers Student Research Grants to undergraduate and graduate students whose research focused on Gopher Tortoises, their habitat and commensal species. His dedicated service to GTC and to tortoise conservation will not be forgotten and he will be missed by all of us who have had the pleasure of knowing him.

Recommendations for Solar Development: Minimize Impacts to Gopher Tortoises

As solar energy investments come to the southeastern United States, there is growing need for conscientious development of utility-scale projects in a manner consistent with environmental protection. Often, lands that are undeveloped and being considered for solar arrays are native habitats for protected species and support other valuable ecological resources. In keeping with the environmental benefits of solar energy, we urge the solar industry to consider conservation when moving forward with projects. We believe this awareness should apply broadly to all energy development, not solar alone; however, as the newest and emerging source of green energy in the Southeast best management practices relevant to solar development are urgently needed.

The following resources provide Voluntary Best Management Practices for the solar industry to minimize and possibly avoid impacts to at-risk species and habitats, like the gopher tortoise and sandhills. It is important to note that some states, such as Florida, have regulatory requirements for impacts to gopher tortoises and other wildlife on sites proposed for solar farm development.

Link to more information

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