Terrapins in the Classroom

Diamondback terrapin

Make Connections
With the
Natural World

The National Aquarium's Terrapins in the Classroom Program brings Maryland students face to face with the state reptile, the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin).

Hatchling terrapins are collected from Poplar Island and provided to 45 schools for students to observe and study throughout the year. 

During the turtle's stay, students collect growth data, observe behaviors, learn animal care techniques, and research the natural history of the species. At the end of the school year, students take a field trip to Poplar Island to release the terrapins back into the their natural habitat. 

The combination of scientific applications, hands-on involvement, and the emotional attachment to the terrapins provides an unprecedented opportunity to inspire a meaningful connection with the Chesapeake Bay and its inhabitants. As students wave goodbye to the terrapins, they begin to understand the direct impact the health of the Chesapeake Bay will have on the animal. We hope these little hatchlings spark a lifelong sense of environmental stewardship and respect for the natural world. 

The program uses ongoing research conducted by Dr. Willem Roosenburg, associate professor of biology at Ohio University. Dr. Roosenburg has completed extensive research on terrapin nest predation, temperature-dependent sex determination, population dynamics, and crab pot mortality. He is widely known as a national authority on terrapins, and is a leading voice in the conservation of the species.

There is currently a waiting list join this program. For more information, contact conserve@aqua.org.

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