The diamondback terrapin is the Maryland State Reptile and a species native to Calvert County. The terrapin is an animal that may be in decline within the state due to habitat loss, overharvesting, and an increase in their natural predators. Terrapins need a brackish water environment such as we find in the Chesapeake Bay and most of the Calvert County portion of the Patuxent River and can be observed here during the warmer months of the year.
Third grade students examine the various problems that the terrapins face and look for ways to keep the terrapin population from declining. Students visit Flag Ponds to assess the habitat there as a terrapin nesting sanctuary.
An additional component of the program is the opportunity for classes to assist with a terrapin “head-start” project in which hatchling terrapins are maintained for the entire school year within the third grade classrooms. The terrapins are released in June at a site near the location where the eggs from which they originally hatched were deposited the previous year.
For more information about Flag Ponds, please visit their website here: Calvert Nature Society – Flag Ponds Nature Park (calvertparks.org)