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Conserving the Nature of America
An ornate box turtle.
An ornate box turtle in the wild. A New Jersey man was found guilty of unlawfully collecting and selling two species of box turtle, including the ornate, or western, box turtle. Credit: USFWS

Concerned Citizen, Partnerships Help Service Dismantle International Turtle Smuggling Operation

February 25, 2020

After a hotel housekeeper tipped off authorities when she found hundreds of box turtles in a guest’s room, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents and partners arrested an Oklahoma man and charged him with offenses under the Lacey Act. A federal judge has now sentenced the man to two years of probation and $350,000 in restitution and fines.

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A patch of a rare hairy rattleweed plant growing among grass.

A rare hairy rattleweed plant. Credit: Daniel Chapman/USFWS

Learning to Love a Hairy Rattleweed

February 21, 2020

It sounds like the name of a punk rocker. It lurks under power lines, along roadsides and between rows of commercial pine trees. It's covered in tiny, cobwebby hairs. It's got a shape only a botanist could love. Pity the endangered hairy rattleweed, one of the nation's rarest plants. But a consortium of government and nonprofit agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced recently that a 1,666-acre tract of timber company pinelands in rural Wayne and Brantley counties had been bought and preserved. More than 3,000 rattleweeds survive on a former Rayonier pine plantation alongside longleaf pines, saw palmettos and gallberry bushes.

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mist rises off of the water as ducks swim in dappled sunlight.

Misty Marsh. Credit: Lamar Gore/USFWS

Why I Took These Shots

February 13, 2020

National wildlife refuges are great places for nature photography – for visitors and employees. Manager Lamar Gore makes a point of taking photos at Pennsylvania’s John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. Of this photo, he says: “Lighting makes or breaks a photo. In this scene, the sun is casting perfect beams and shadows in the light fog and on the waterfowl. I'm always looking for the perfect lighting conditions when my camera is in hand.” See more of his favorite photos and why he took them in our story.

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