Gopher Tortoise Day is about community awareness!


Help get the word out through social media and news media to let your community know that gopher tortoises are an important native wildlife species in Florida.

Social Media

Let everyone know about Gopher Tortoise Day! Use #GopherTortoiseDay on social media sites to help carry your message far and wide.


Gopher Tortoise Day Photos

Share your accomplishments by posting photos of your local government signing a resolution, an event at a local park, or how you celebrated Gopher Tortoise Day! FWC would love to include your photos in our Flickr photos album. Complete the following use form and send it along with your photo(s) to GTEvents@MyFWC.com.


News Releases


Get published in your local newspaper or featured on the local news station! You may Invite local news media to your Gopher Tortoise Day event.

2017


Florida Gopher Tortoise Day is all about community awareness!

Monday, April 03, 2017
Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-251-2130

Florida Gopher Tortoise Day is being celebrated on April 10, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encouraging communities, organizations and individuals to help conserve this threatened species.

This year, seven counties – Alachua, Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Indian River and Sarasota – and the cities of Cape Coral, Flagler Beach, Melbourne, North Port and Venice are adopting Florida Gopher Tortoise Day resolutions. But anyone can get involved in helping Florida’s gopher tortoises.

Looking for ways to celebrate Gopher Tortoise Day and conserve the tortoise? Go to GopherTortoiseDayFL.com for information and activities for April 10 and all year long.

 During April and May, you may spot one of these gentle, slow-moving reptiles which become more active in spring. They exit their deep burrows in search of a meal of spring greenery and often to look for a mate. Look for tortoises and their half-moon shaped burrow entrances in yards, neighborhoods, along roadways and on many of the state’s private and public lands.

“If you’re a fan of the gopher tortoise, help us spread the word on conserving this threatened species, whose burrows are home to hundreds of animals, including the eastern indigo snake, gopher frog and Florida mouse,” said Deborah Burr, who heads the FWC’s Gopher Tortoise Management Program.

“If you see a gopher tortoise crossing a road, pick it up and place it on the roadside in the direction it was heading, but only if it is safe for you to do so,” Burr said. “Remember, the gopher tortoise is a land animal, so never put it into water. And don’t forget it is illegal to harm a gopher tortoise, its eggs or its burrow.”

You also can help by using the Florida Gopher Tortoise app External Website to report gopher tortoise sightings and learn about the species.

Gopher tortoises are found in all 67 Florida counties, but need plenty of sandy, sunny habitats with an open tree canopy to thrive and survive. The FWC’s Wildlife Management Area system, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, provides habitat for gopher tortoises. Local governments and private landowners External Website, including farmers, foresters and ranchers, also work with the FWC to help conserve and restore gopher tortoise habitat.

On the Gopher Tortoise Day website, you can access many resources, including a resolution template for your community to adopt Gopher Tortoise Day, a guide to living with gopher tortoises External Website, gopher tortoises and road safety External Website and ideas for kids’ activities, such as build a burrow instructions and the Gopher Tortoise Field Trip Guide.

More information on gopher tortoises is at MyFWC.com/GopherTortoise External Website. Go to MyFWC.com/WMA75 External Website to find a wildlife management area near you and find out how you can participate in WMA anniversary events across the state.

2016


Celebrate Florida’s Gopher Tortoise Day and the reptile that can really dig

Monday, April 04, 2016
Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-251-2130

On Sunday, April 10, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and its partners will celebrate Gopher Tortoise Day for the first time in Florida.

Go to GopherTortoiseDayFL.com for ideas on being a part of this day and other gopher tortoise-related events and activities all year long.

Gopher tortoises External Website live in every county of Florida and are known for their extraordinary digging skills. These gray or brown tortoises use shovel-like forearms to carve out burrows averaging several yards deep and 5 yards long. Their burrows give shelter to hundreds of other native species.

Gopher Tortoise Day is a newly-launched effort to highlight the importance of conserving this state-threatened species, whose presence goes back 60 million years.

 The FWC is encouraging the public to be aware of the gopher tortoise as a Florida keystone species and learn how their actions can strengthen recovery efforts. From now through May, for example, the gopher tortoise is increasingly active, leaving its underground burrow in search of spring greenery to eat and, in many cases, a mate. People can help by watching out for a tortoise crossing the highway and, if it’s safe for you to do so, picking it up and placing it on the roadside in the direction it was heading. Just don’t put this terrestrial animal in the water.

“Many Floridians and visitors to the state are knowledgeable about gopher tortoises and willing to take actions to help them. We’re excited about Gopher Tortoise Day as a way to get more people involved,” said Deborah Burr, who leads the FWC’s gopher tortoise management program. “Indeed the success we have had so far in conserving Florida’s gopher tortoise population and its habitats is closely tied to the enthusiastic support and participation of the public.”

Local governments and private landowners External Website, including farmers, foresters and ranchers, have worked with the FWC to help conserve and restore gopher tortoise habitat. The tortoise needs sandy, sunny habitats with an open tree canopy, such as longleaf pine forests, to thrive and survive.

Individuals also have helped by using the ”Florida Gopher Tortoise” app, External Website which gives people a chance to report gopher tortoise sightings while learning about the species.

On the Gopher Tortoise Day website, you can access many resources, including a resolution template for your community to adopt Gopher Tortoise Day, ideas on ways to celebrate with hands-on activities for kids, “A guide to living with gopher tortoises External Website,” gopher tortoises and road safety, “Build a Burrow” instructions and the Gopher Tortoise Field Trip Guide.

More on gopher tortoises is at MyFWC.com/GopherTortoise External Website.