Why did the turtle cross Cove Road in Oyster Bay?

by Molly Gagliano

A brief observation of nature generates a great deal of inquiry and discovery. While driving down Cove Road to get to work at The WaterFront Center, looking ahead, I spotted something in the road to avoid. It was a turtle! Before I could even think to pull over and assist, a woman was walking quickly from her car to help the turtle.
What’s there to help? Have you seen how slow turtles walk!? Fifty cars will drive by on this quiet road before that little turtle gets to the other side. Why should we care if it gets run over?
Turtles are a pollution sensitive species and to see a turtle is a good sign. This area must have good habitat being that a turtle is surviving here. Not for long, if it doesn’t get to the other side!
The woman also knew to bring the turtle to the side of the road that it was headed. Some people make the mistake of bringing a turtle in the road back to where it came from. Only to see the turtle trying again to cross the road. Most likely the turtle is in search for food and water. It needs to explore further and unfortunately the road is in its path.
On arrival at The WaterFront Center, I shared the news with co-workers, staff and volunteers. One high school student was shocked to learn we have turtles on Long Island and her inquiry continued. I think the turtle crossed the road to remind us we need to protect what little natural space is left. Especially while the habitat surrounding Cove Road and Oyster Bay is still enough to support sensitive species like turtles.
If you’re willing, here are some turtle friendly suggestions for your yard; do not spray herbicides or pesticides, do not use fertilizer, plant native plants, compost your food waste and mulch your lawn clippings and leaves.