Bog Turtle Bill

June 12, 2017

Dear Parents,

Please take a moment (less than 5 minutes) to help us contact two Senators so we can get a bill passed regarding making the Bog Turtle New Jersey's state reptile. It is a critically endangered species, and a teacher we have been in contact with is trying to help get the turtle recognized in New Jersey so more protection can be granted for it. Our Elementary/Middle kids voted on making this turtle the state reptile and it would help if you would take the next few minutes to copy and paste a letter the teacher wrote and send it to the senators in support of the bill.

Here is the letter I received today:


Hello everyone,

Thank you again for your support in our effort to recognize a state reptile in New Jersey, or for signing up to receive updates through the teacherturtles.com website.

At the moment, our "turtle bill" is in the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee, and it will not pass to the full New Jersey State Senate without a committee vote. For this reason, I am requesting that New Jersey residents write to New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senator Jim Whelan in order to get a vote on this bill. Below, I have drafted messages that you may copy and paste, or alter however you might see fit.

First, a message to Senator Sweeney:


Dear Senator Sweeney,

I am writing to request that you post Senate Bill No. 3145, which was introduced to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee by Senator Bateman on May 8, 2017. This bill would recognize the bog turtle as New Jersey’s official state reptile.

The bog turtle is a critically endangered species, and due to our unique geography, New Jersey is the only state where the bog turtle’s range once spanned nearly every county. No state currently recognizes the bog turtle as a state reptile, despite its importance to wetlands in the eastern United States.

Since this species is already federally protected, recognition of the bog turtle as New Jersey’s state reptile would not prompt new land use restrictions or regulations; it would only raise awareness about an animal that is an important part of our natural heritage. This bill developed through the work of elementary school children in Princeton, which spread to schools from Sussex County to Cape May, and these students care deeply about recognizing this turtle's plight.

For these reasons, I ask that you post Senate Bill No. 3145 and cast your vote in support of this legislation.

Thank you,


Senator Sweeney's contact information can be found at the link below, including a way to submit messages electronically:

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/BIO.asp?Leg=216

Here is a message for Senator Whelan:


Dear Senator Whelan,

I am writing to request that the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee vote on Senate Bill No. 3145, which was introduced on May 8, 2017 by Senator Bateman. This bill would recognize the bog turtle as New Jersey’s official state reptile.

The bog turtle is a critically endangered species, and due to our unique geography, New Jersey is the only state where the bog turtle’s range once spanned nearly every county. New Jersey remains a stronghold of this species, and no state currently recognizes the bog turtle as a state reptile, despite its importance to ecosystems across the eastern United States.

Since this species is already federally protected, recognition of the bog turtle as New Jersey’s state reptile would not prompt new land use restrictions or regulations; it would only raise awareness about an animal that is an important part of our natural heritage. This bill developed through the work of elementary school children in Princeton, which spread to schools from Sussex County to Cape May, and these students care deeply about recognizing this turtle's plight.

For these reasons, I ask that your committee vote on Senate Bill No. 3145, and that you support this legislation.

Thank you,


Senator Whelan's contact information can be found here:

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/BIO.asp?Leg=301

Please share this information as widely as possible. We also need a sponsor for a bill in the General Assembly, so please contact your Assemblywomen and Assemblymen and ask them to support a bill that would complement Senate Bill No. 3145.

Thank you, Mark Eastburn Science Specialist Riverside Elementary School Twitter:@markeastburn Instagram:mark.eastburn