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Forget ties and tools for Father’s Day — think turtles.
Greenspace hosted its annual Turtle Walk on Sunday, giving families a unique way to spend Father’s Day.
The walk is led by Paul Gerard, a local physician who has had a lifelong interest in reptiles and amphibians. The hike covered Buffalo Lake Trail and began with a presentation by Gerard on several kinds of turtles.
“This whole area is just absolutely a wonderland,” he began, telling the crowd gathered the woods are home to a number of different animals.
He showed several turtles, including a painted turtle, which can hold its breath for up to five months, he said.
“They’re the champions for being able to hold their breath,” he said.
He discussed one of the smallest freshwater turtles, a musk turtle, and then one of the largest, an alligator snapping turtle, which Gerard and an assistant wrestled out of a bag. The turtle wasn’t thrilled to be disturbed, and Gerard struggled to hold him up for everyone to see.
“This may be the last year for this,” he joked, saying the animal continues to get larger but he isn’t getting any stronger
Gerard was asked to lead the walk several years ago. He became interested in the natural world as a child. His grandfather was a biology teacher.
“I’ve been interested ever since I was little kid,” he said.
He likes showing people local animals, saying there are a lot of wild creatures right at home. He thinks people are interested in seeing the natural world.
“I think people just like to be outside and see what’s around them,” he said.
Tracee Troutt is a friend of Gerard’s, and she took her daughter, niece and nephew to the walk for the first time this year.
“I think it’s amazing,” Troutt said.
Jane Clifford, her husband, and their grandchildren, Preston and Corbin Smith, used the event as a way to celebrate the holiday.
This also was their first time, “and this is what my husband wanted to do for Father’s Day,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@ thenewsenterprise.com.