Urban Turtle Festival celebrates slowly, hopes to raise money for turtle conservation in Fort Wayne

You can learn about snapping turtles, pictured here, and cuter turtle species and how to help them during the Urban Turtle Festival this Saturday at Eagle Marsh. (Courtesy of Rikki Ratsch)

They plan to have a 5K event at the Urban Turtle Festival this Saturday at Eagle Marsh. In keeping with the day, though, it’s a walk — not a run.

The non-competitive event leads off the day at 10 a.m. at the 756-acre marsh, 6801 Engle Road. Eagle Marsh is the largest inland urban wetland restoration project in the United States, according to Little River Wetlands Project, which owns Eagle Marsh and which organized the Urban Turtle Festival.

Other events take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include learning more about turtles and a turtle costume contest. Admission is free.

Money raised by the 5K walk will go toward turtle conservation and research, said Betsy Yankowiak, Little River Wetlands’ director of preserves and programs. Entry fee is $20 for adults, $10 for ages 6-17, and free for ages 5 and younger. Register by clicking here.

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A one-mile loop also is available and contains the education stations, where people can learn more about turtles and how to protect them, Yankowiak said.

“There really is something everyone can do for turtles,” she said.

One of the simplest things people can do is to pick up litter because turtles often try to eat plastic, she said.

If you see a turtle trying to cross a road, carry it across the road in the direction it is traveling, and then set it down gently to continue on its way.

However, she stresses, never endanger yourself to try to save a turtle.

TURTLE TIME

WHAT: Little River Wetlands Project will host the Urban Turtle Festival, with a 5K non-competitive fundraising walk, education stations, turtle costume contest and other activities. Proceeds go to turtle research and conservation at Eagle Marsh.

WHEN: Walk at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by the festival 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

WHERE: Eagle Marsh, 6801 Engle Road

COST: Race is $20 for adults, $10 for ages 6-17, and free, ages 5 and younger. Festival admission is free. To register for the walk, click here.

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