The purpose of World Turtle Day, May 23, sponsored yearly since 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue, is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive.
Turtle Day is celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities. Turtle Day lesson plans and craft projects encourage teaching about turtles in classrooms.
Founded in 1990, American Tortoise Rescue is the founding sponsor of World Turtle Day. American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) is certified by state and federal agencies as a nonprofit 501(c)(3)corporation to provide for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle. Foundlings that cannot be adopted because of ill health remain in the care of American Tortoise Rescue for the remainder of their lives.
Featured in Chase’s Book of Annual Events, the day was created as an annual observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, founders of the rescue American Tortoise Rescue advocate humane treatment of all animals, including reptiles. Since 1990, ATR has placed about 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes. ATR assists law enforcement when undersize or endangered turtles are confiscated and provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles.
In 2013, over 160 free Turtle Day Lesson plans and teaching materials were sent out to classrooms for use with over 5,500 students. Lesson plans were provided by the Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group (TTPG), an organization that is open to all people interested in the welfare of chelonians. The TTPG is a non-profit 501c3, founded in 1996 to help ensure survival of the world’s turtle and tortoise species. Individuals that maintain captive collections have a great responsibility to ensure their chelonians are properly cared for and maintained. Whether you are a member or not, the TTPG will help you fulfill this responsibility by providing information on the care and maintenance of turtles and tortoises.