The Pond Turtles of Golden Gardens

By Robin FitzClemen

September 4, 2020
At Golden Gardens Park in Eugene, OR, state and local wildlife managers are working to restore old gravel extraction ponds into critical habitat for juvenile Northwestern pond turtles, a threatened species. The Northwestern pond turtle is one of two freshwater turtle species native to Oregon. They’re small, about the size of an average pancake as adults. They’re mostly drab brown, although males can have vibrant yellow throats, and they all sport a characteristically calm smile. Pond turtles thrive in wetlands, but only about one percent of wetlands remain in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. And where populations of pond turtles appear to be thriving, they face an ominous challenge: young turtles are not surviving to adulthood. This short film introduces the population of turtles living in the Golden Gardens Ponds and the people working to keep them alive.