Save Our Environment Limited (S.O.E.L.) is a not-for-profit environmental group, which monitors and protects our local environment in western New York. Protecting our local wildlife is also a key component of what we do.

In the process of monitoring local companies, we also look into matters that we believe are not natural when it comes to the wildlife, such as having the Genesee County Nature Center offer paintings to the public, that are painted by Ruby the Turtle. We believe that by allowing this to occur that it could be potentially stressful to the turtle and also could potentially be harmful to the turtle if the paint were to be accidentally ingested or were to get into the turtle’s eyes. Most turtles will rub at their eyes from time to time during the day.

It is our understanding that the nature center looked into what paint would not be harmful to the turtle, but we believe that any paint that is used can still be absorbed through the skin and could potentially be a hazard for the turtle. Even with this precaution that they took we strongly feel that this is wrong. No animal should be made to do a painting, whether that be a reptile or mammal. There are many ways to bring in money to help the nature center other than using a reptile for profit. Whether that be small or large.

We would like to remind everyone that paint, all paints are still made up of chemicals and require proper ventilation when used and need to be cleaned thoroughly off our skin, so that we do not absorb any of the toxins within them. The same standards apply to turtles.

Our group has strong feelings about what is right and wrong when it comes to this issue. We now ask you to stop and do what a nature center should do, by protecting wildlife, not using them to do unnatural acts.

Jodi and Debra Laird

Secretary and treasurer

Johnson Newspapers 7.1