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Eastern Box Turtles: a Declining Gem of Eastern Forests

In early May, I visited sites throughout Pennsylvania’s forested land to investigate the presence of Eastern Box Turtles. One of the goals of my summer research project with Dr. Julian Avery at Penn State was to collect data on populations that can be used to guide habitat management.

Cole Farm

Cole Farm is a site that Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (SSHCZO) uses to extrapolate data to better understand the whole watershed. There is also interdisciplinary work being done at Cole Farm that is valuable to our understanding of the critical zone.

What Is a Critical Zone and What Is the Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory

The critical zone is “an environment where rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms interact and shape the Earth’s surface” (The Critical Zone). It supports all terrestrial life on Earth, regulates water quality, and provides fertile land to grow food on.