Head Start Program

Diamondback terrapin conservation is an important means to maintain populations of terrapins across their range. Head starting terrapin hatchlings is a drastic conservation measure and should only be considered when populations are in decline.  At Island Beach State Park and N. Sedge Island, we have been working with terrapins the past 20 years and have documented a significant decline in our nesting population at Sedge Island.  Our hatchling head start program provide classrooms with an opportunity to help ensure terrapin population stability in our study area as well as provide an opportunity for stewardship.  

Because we are working in the Barnegat Bay Estuary, we will provide hatchlings to schools in the local area first and to our first head start schools that were a part of this program.  The hatchlings are from clutches that hatch later in the season, thus giving them a chance to increase survivorship.  All hatchlings that are released are marked with a year notch code to denote regular hatchling release during the summer versus those head started and released in the spring (June of the following year).  If interested please see the documents for care and the agreement that is required for schools to participate. Project Terrapin is a research, conservation and education initiative of the MATES School and a volunteer project. A MATES Project Terrapin student member will serve as a liaison (hatchling ambassador) to our head start schools.

Northern Diamondback Terrapin Hatchling

View the Hatchling Guide


The following schools were part of our 2021-2022 program and released terrapins in June 2022..

 Bass River Elementary School

Beach Haven Elementary School
Bear Tavern School

Haddon Heights 

Marine Academy of Science and Technology  (MAST)

Millstone Middle School
Ocean Township School

The Peddie School
Rumson High School

St. Joseph's University, PA

Other great partners in the Head Start Program 

Contact Us!