Turtle Protection Program

The hay fields that Amherst College owns are a prime breeding habitat for turtles. Turtles in this habitat are state-listed Species of Special Concern under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act.

A major threat to the turtle populations is mowing at the wrong time (modern mowers kill turtles during breeding season).  The College has established a buffer strip along the banks of the river and the farmers who mow there have agreed to delay agricultural mowing until after September 15th, when the turtles return to the streams to overwinter. By establishing this buffer, we are able to provide turtle conservation while maintaining active agriculture.