Rotarians welcomed a familiar face at Thursday’s regular meeting – Marie (Babb) Stone, daughter of fellow Rotarian Dr. Mike Babb. Stone was invited by Rotarian of the Day, Bill Ahrberg to speak about her passion – turtles.
Stone is a Cushing High School graduate and has earned both a Bachelor of Science degree and Master’s degree. Although she teaches at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, much of her time is spent studying red eared sliders and Sonoran mud turtles.
“Everyone in Oklahoma has dealt with turtles at one time or another,” Stone said. “But I was flattered and a bit flabbergasted when Bill asked me to talk about my turtle research.”
Stone explained how she and her fellow researchers (including her husband Paul) capture, mark and measure red eared sliders in Oklahoma and the Sonoran mud turtles in New Mexico. “We mark every turtle we come in contact with,” Stone said. She noted that the red ear turtle is known as the “rats of the turtle world” and that the common box turtle seems to have decreased in population. Part of the research includes identifying common predators such as crayfish and bullfrogs as well as those of the man-made variety.
Stone said future projects include excavating silt from areas in New Mexico, genetics study via blood sampling; and the continuance of catching and marking.