Terrapins in the Classroom: Release at Poplar Island

More than 40 diamondback terrapins recently returned to their natural habitat as part of the National Aquarium’s Terrapins in the Classroom program.

Published May 22, 2019

An effort to help Maryland’s students feel more connected to the Chesapeake Bay, the Aquarium’s Terrapins in the Classroom program brings the state’s reptile, the diamondback terrapin, directly into classrooms, giving students the chance to come face to face with nature.

Students holding their terrapin at Poplar Island

Hatchling terrapins were collected from Poplar Island in the fall and were sent to classrooms throughout the state. The students and teachers studied, weighed and measured the terrapins every week to track their progress and ensure they were growing healthy and strong.

At the end of the school year, students then traveled on a boat to Poplar Island to release the terrapins to the same marsh habitat where they were collected. On the trip, students were also given a lesson about the Poplar Island Restoration Project that has been vital to the existence of marine life in the Chesapeake Bay, including their very own diamondback terrapins.

Terrapin populations are threatened by habitat loss, car and boat strikes, excessive nest predation and continued commercial harvesting in other states. The Terrapins in the Classroom program aims to give the hatchling terrapins a better chance at survival, allowing them to gain size, strength and foraging skills while spending time with students across the state.

National Aquarium conservation education programs like Terrapins in the Classroom are made possible by support from our corporate and philanthropic partners, including Subaru.

Learn more about our Terrapins in the Classroom program!

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