When two northern Iowa brothers spotted a bunch of dead turtles that had been run over by cars, they sprung into action. Cole Meyer, who is 10, and his brother, Blake, 8, had been riding their bikes heading to go fishing, when they stopped, picked up a few injured surviving turtles, and carried them across a roadway. That began their turtle rescue mission.
Cole, who lives with his family in the tiny town of Ventura, recalls his horror over seeing the dead turtles: “They were all squished, and their shells were broken. We felt really sad for them.”
The brothers then spent the entire day scooping up brightly colored, slow-moving western painted turtles and carrying them across the road between a marsh and lake.
Three friends soon joined them, and for the past month, they’ve spent hours every day rescuing the reptiles. They figure they’ve saved more than 200 turtles.
An Iowa fisheries biologist says spring and summer are busy times for turtles in the area crossing the road, looking for new nesting spots.
A few years ago, former Ventura City Administrator Else Taylor, alarmed by the number of turtles killed by cars on the roadway, installed turtle crossing signs, but says many still get run down.
Says Taylor: “These boys give me hope for the next generation. What a way to spend the summer.”