The village of Vernon Hills, outside Chicago, has a new mandate for drivers during summer months: slow down for turtles. To prevent harm or injury to a native turtle species, town officials have installed temporary "turtle crossing" signs across town, which indicate to drivers that they should beware of slow-moving reptiles traversing local roads to reach their mating grounds.
"We did have a significant amount of carnage last year," said David Brown, a Vernon Hills public works director and engineer. "It's significant enough that we thought it was important to at least alert motorists that there are turtles ... They can slow down and they can watch out for them."
But the new road signs weren't just the idea of conservationists or local officials: the movement to protect moving turtles came from town residents. "We've had numerous requests from subdivisions," Brown said. "It seems like the awareness of turtles crossing roads has been increasing."