Gopher Tortoise Day is on April 10, and you can celebrate it by making your yard tortoise friendly and participating in a new recognition program by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The FWC’s new Gopher Tortoise Friendly Yard Recognition Program honors Florida’s private landowners for contributing to wildlife conservation. Gopher tortoises live in every Florida county and, since more than half of the land in Florida is privately owned, the FWC recognizes the critical role private property owners play in conserving gopher tortoises.
The purpose of the Gopher Tortoise Friendly Yard Recognition Program is to recognize and encourage landowners to enhance habitat quality and take steps to protect gopher tortoises and their burrows. These efforts will also benefit the many other species that use tortoise burrows for shelter, foraging and nesting habitat. The private landowners who the take steps to protect gopher tortoises and their burrows will be recognized with a sign for their property and a certificate.
Any Florida property owner can take steps to make their land ‘gopher tortoise friendly. To apply for recognition, you must sign the Acknowledgement Form, provide contact and property information, and complete the Gopher Tortoise Friendly Yard checklist. Please expect follow-up correspondence via the email address provided in the application. Each application will be reviewed upon submission.
Gopher Tortoise Day was adopted in 2016 as a day of appreciation and to encourage people to conserve this threatened species. Learn about other ways to help gopher tortoises, such as volunteering with the FWC or being a community scientist by reporting gopher tortoise sightings to FWC’s new gopher tortoise website application. On there, you can report a tortoise sighting or notify the FWC of a sick, injured or dead tortoise.
For more information on volunteering with the FWC or to request an application, email: GTEvents@MyFWC.com.
Spring is an active time for gopher tortoises and many of Florida’s other wildlife species.