Raise a Toast to Turtles

Terrestrial Brewing Company Partners with Nonprofit Splash Fund
to Support Spotted Turtle Conservation Efforts

CLEVELAND, OH –Declining water quality, loss of habitat, illegal black market poaching and an increase in natural predators have made the spotted turtle increasingly difficult to find in Northeast Ohio. Alarmed by its dwindling numbers, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife listed this shallow wetlands turtle as a threatened species that should be “vigorously protected.” That’s why the Greater Cleveland Aquarium has spent the last 6 years working with the Wild4Ever Foundation and numerous other environmental and educational agencies across the region to boost the number of little turtles with the distinctive yellow spots in the wild. And now Terrestrial Brewing Company (7524 Father Frascati, Cleveland, OH 44102; 216. 465.9999) is championing those efforts with a special beer—“I Love It When I Save the Turtles Porter.” Although not overly sweet, the chocolatey caramel-and-pecan porter with a hint of coffee is modeled after the decadent dessert “turtle” confection. “You can consume to help conserve,” says Ralph Sgro, Terrestrial’s Co-Founder and Chief Brewing Officer. Terrestrial will put the porter on tap a few times throughout the year, donating $1 from every pint sold to the Splash Fund, the Aquarium’s nonprofit arm focused on education outreach, beach cleanup and the spotted turtle headstarting program.

“Terrestrial means ‘of the earth’,” points out Sgro. “We recognize that we share this planet with other creatures and highlighting the positive and negative impact people can have on a co-inhabitant’s struggle to survive is something the whole team here could really get behind,” he adds, noting that his artist wife Stephie even created an original watercolor to commemorate the beer and the partnership. However the collaboration doesn’t begin and end with a brew that benefits wildlife. A summer beach cleanup and a fall conservation-focused SPOTD friendraiser are also in the works. The lakeside brewing company hopes to raise awareness and between $2,500 and $5,000.”

“From forgoing a plastic straw to taking a shorter shower, small decisions we make every single day do impact the world we and other animals live in,” explains Aquarium GM and Splash Fund Director Tami Brown. “Admittedly, choosing to drink a beer from a local brewery as a contribution to the monitoring, incubation, rearing and tracking of an imperiled native species is one of the more fun options that comes to mind.”

With Splash Fund and Wild4Ever Foundation donations, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium currently is rearing nine spotted turtles in quarantine, some of which are likely candidates for a late-spring or early summer release at remote, protected Northeast Ohio habitat. It will be the Aquarium’s second cohort of spotted turtle hatchlings released to the site, and they will be microchipped and monitored by radio transmitter. “The group we released last spring will also be coming out of hibernation and we’re excited to find how they fared after their first full year out in the wild,” notes Brown.

In addition to the Wild4ever Foundation, other partners working to ensure a future for the spotted turtle in Ohio as part of SPOTD initiative include the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Geauga Park District, Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services, The Ohio State University, Summit Metro Parks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Lake Metroparks, and the Medina County Park District.

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ABOUT THE SPLASH FUND Established in 2012, Greater Cleveland Aquarium Splash Fund’s mission is “to educate and encourage passion about aquatic life and participation in the conservation of fresh and saltwater habitats through sustainable human practices.” To-date, monies raised by this nonprofit fund have been used to enable regular community Adopt-A-Beach cleanups at Edgewater Park, underwrite conservation education fieldtrips for schools with demonstrated needs, place aquariums in Cleveland Metropolitan School District classrooms in accordance with curriculum standards and support efforts to encourage a more robust Northeast Ohio spotted turtle population.