The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 25, 2013

Bob Garrett's Talking Points: Save the turtles, and the race

Daily Item

---- — "Keep calm and go camping."

Doug Walter wrote to me recently about how brokenhearted he and his family members were when they heard the news about the kids not being able to race the turtles that they found this year at the New Berlin Turtle Derby. Turns out that threatened and endangered turtle species seem to find the New Berlin area a great place to live. Wanting to be part of the solution to turtle conservation and not to be part of the problem, the race coordinators disqualified any of these rare species from racing. The problem is that fully half of the turtles were "rare" and way too many kids were turned away.

Well, Doug who was a turtle racer himself back in the 1960s and 1970s, wants to make sure that every child who wants to race a turtle in the 2014 annual derby has one and gets to enjoy the fun while learning about his or her environment. So he has offered his able leadership and proven turtle-spotting skills to help round up plenty of non-threatened, non-endangered species for next year's race.

Do you think that you might enjoy helping Doug with this effort? If so, please drop him a note at and let him know that you'll be one of his "turtle wranglers."

Weekend hikes

Catherine McLaughlin and Ed Lawrence will lead a Sierra Club-sponsored 11-mile hike on one of Pennsylvania's premier trails on Saturday morning. The T-squared Trail is named for Tom Thwaites, who is known by many as the father of the Mid-State Trail. In my mind, the Mid-State Trail is as good as it gets. Over the years, I've hiked just about its entire 325-mile distance and have enjoyed every moment while strolling along. Please give Catherine and Ed a call at 570-925-5285 if you can go along. On Sunday morning, Joe Rebar (570-259-0134) will lead another one of his legendary hikes at the R.B. State Park.

Archery classic

On Saturday and Sunday, our closest Cabela's Store, located near Hamburg, will host its 2013 Archery Classic. Hamburg is bit further than "over the river and through the woods" from the Susquehanna Valley, but the trip down Route 61 through Centralia is always interesting. The abandoned strip mines down that way are a poignant reminder that while we all enjoy our modern conveniences that are powered by electricity derived from fossil fuels, we must be vigilant in our conservation stewardship.

Cabela's Archery Classic is two jammed-packed days of activities. On Saturday morning there's a session titled "deer butchering 101." At noon Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo, who are known as America's favorite hunting couple, will discuss their tactics for hunting success. Afternoon sessions on Saturday include crossbow hunting tips at 1 p.m. and quality deer management at 2. Sunday morning's sessions are a repeat from Saturday and at 1 p.m. you can learn about getting the most out of your trail camera and food plot planting for bigger deer at 2.

What a shocker

Two-thirds of all lightning-related deaths happen while people are engaged in leisure activities. Fishing ranks first on the list of activities that people were doing when they were struck and killed by lightning. A National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration researcher analyzed the 238 lightening causalities that have occurred since 2005, and ranked the outdoor activities that people were involved in when they were hit. By order, they were: fishing, camping, boating, soccer and golf. Interestingly, 81 percent of the people who were killed were male. So, keep your head down guys.