About this site

Boxturtlefacts.org is a repository for articles written by Sandy Barnett on box turtle husbandry, conservation, and rehabilitation. Sandy will continue to add articles as they are available.

About Sandy Barnett
Sandy Barnett received her BA degree in Geography from the University of California at Los Angeles and her MA degree in the same field from the University of Michigan. She worked in zoological and research facilities as an animal keeper for 28 years, serving almost 17 years as a Senior Herpetologist at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. While at NAIB, Sandy spoke at numerous conferences, and published several articles in peer reviewed journals on lizard, turtle and amphibian husbandry. Drawing upon her extensive experience in the care of box turtles in captivity, Sandy was senior author of “Indoor Care of North American Box Turtles,” which won the award as top article of the year in the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM, in 2004.
Sandy served for eight years on the Board of Directors for the Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society, and as President (2002-2006). She served as the editor of the society newsletter, Terrapin Tales. In 2010, Sandy produced an educational CD on the natural history and conservation of the eastern box turtle (“Eastern Box Turtles, Disappearing Gems of the Forest”) for MATTS. It has been distributed to secondary schools, nature centers, and wildlife agencies with youth programs, and translated into German for distribution in German-speaking countries. Sandy is currently President of the Rio Grande Turtle & Tortoise Club in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sandy remains active in rehabilitating sick and injured wild and escaped pet box turtles (Eastern, Three-toed, Ornate, and Desert). She has given many presentations on the captive husbandry and emergency medical care of box turtles at wildlife centers and rehabilitator meetings.

Sandy has designed naturalistic outdoor enclosures for exhibiting non-releasable box turtles at several nature centers, including Jug Bay Wetland Sanctuary, a 15,000-acre nature preserve in Lothian, Maryland. The preserve hosts a large, well-studied wild population of box turtles. Sandy has assisted in several box turtle studies at Jug Bay concerning population density, home range size, and movement of gravid females. 

Sandy was a member of the ICC (Inter County Connector) Box Turtle Advisory Group from 2007 through 2011. This committee worked with the Maryland State Highway Administration to establish a set of guidelines to minimize the damage to box turtle populations during the construction of this tollway. From the fall of 2007 through the summer of 2010, Sandy organized the volunteer program to remove turtles from the pathway of the future ICC and relocate the animals to safer habitat. Over this time, more than 950 turtles were relocated.

Sandy serves on the North American Box Turtle Conservation Committee which awards grants for box turtle research and education directed at box turtle conservation.  The Committee also periodically organizes scientific workshops where researchers, land managers, and educators come together to share information and ideas that promote our knowledge and conservation of Terrapene.