A number of years ago, a dry cleaning establishment located in Connecticut made a very bizarre yet fascinating discovery. Their store happened to be situated right in the heart of a turtle migration route.
As a result, every year, from May through September, the usual duties of the people just cleaning and pressing clothes took on some additional responsibility: rescuing and safeguarding turtles.
This amazing phenomenon happens at Pameacha Pond, a 19-acre body of water found in Middletown, CT. During the spring season, Eastern painted turtles embark on a migration journey that leads them to cross a bustling two-lane road in their quest to reach the pond and lay their eggs.
During the later portion of the summer, the amount of turtles also changes. Instead of adult turtles entering the front door of Best Cleaners, the shop finds tiny hatchlings the size of a quarter slowly making their way through the back entrance.
Speaking with the Washington Post, the assistant manager of the store, Jennifer Malon, said “Every summer, we’re always looking at our feet because we don’t want to step on them.”
Malon is only one of the many dedicated individuals at Beast Cleaners who regularly venture across the busy road, carrying tiny turtles gently in their hands. The story gained significant attention when it was covered by local news and subsequently featured in the Post, leading local residents to volunteer and contribute to this heartwarming effort.
In a different interview, this time with the Middletown Press, Malon explained, “We have all helped bring at least one turtle across. We’re used to it now; it’s part of the job almost. We put them a good distance toward the water and they usually climb down the bank.”
While these Eastern painted turtles aren’t rare, nor considered endangered, they still hold a special place in the ecosystem as an important indicator species. They serve as a measure of the overall health and balance of the environment.
Interestingly, the residents of Middletown cherish this unique aspect of their town. Witnessing turtles casually making their way through the store as they come to pick up their dry cleaning has become one of the most endearing parts of the local community’s identity.
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