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Painted Turtles

There is nothing better than the sound of a group of children sharing a belly laugh. And that’s just what I heard a few ago while I was out on one of my weekly property walks at Irvine Nature Center. As I rounded the corner around a small grove of trees to our wetlands I saw a group of students and one of our naturalists standing on the bank of one of our ponds, staring intently at the surface of the water. What happened next was temporarily confusing: one student pointed at the surface of the water and the entire group roared with laughter. I didn’t want to intrude, but when I saw that same naturalist later I had to ask: what on earth was so funny out at the pond?! Her answer surprised me. . .turtle farts.

W. Brooks Paternotte took the helm of Irvine Nature Center as executive director in July 2013 and immediately began building on the strong 35-year foundation. Brooks is a Baltimore native who was a teacher, coach, advisor, dean and Head of the Middle School during his 13 years at Boys’ Latin School in Baltimore. He is also an instructor and ambassador of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and is a Leave No Trace Master, as well as an avid outdoorsman and a features writer for FlyLife Magazine.