To the editor:

The Parker River Clean Water Association would like to thank Karen Popken for her excellent commentary on the Blanding’s head start program in her commentary piece in the Daily News on June 18.

We would also like to take this time to thank others who have participated in and supported our Blanding’s turtle head start program on behalf of MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program. Thank you to the following schools and teachers below, along with their students, for participating and incorporating the head start program into their curriculum:

Amesbury Middle School: Kristin Fitzgerald, Derek Bent, Christine Denuzzio and Greg Cook. 

Amesbury High School: Lindsey Miller.

Cashman Elementary School (Amesbury): Julie O’Neill, Dee Vachon and Joanna Dodier.

Paul F. Doyon Memorial School: Susan Speak. 

Newburyport High School: Colleen Fallon and Erin Hobbs.

Francis T. Bresnahan School (Newburyport): Julie Malchow, Nonie Olson and John Gangemi.

River Valley Charter School (Newburyport): Karen Poken, Debbie Collins, Colleen Morrissey, Emily Doulas, Melanie O’Keefe, Peter McClure, Jane Noyes, Lynne Taylor and Jonnie Lyn Evans.

Our Secret Garden (Newbury): Ellie Dawson.

Triton Regional High School: Ellen Moore.

The Caleb Dustin Hunking School (Haverhill): Kelly Mansour.

Bagnall Elementary School (Groveland): Laurel Ridge.

The Parker River Clean Water Association would also like to thank Gary Gorski and the Boy Scouts from Troop 251, along with the following students from Tom Horsley’s Triton AP environmental science students for assisting with nest site maintenance: Hunter Parrot, Linda Freeman, Molly McInnis, Eve Paicos, Fay Paicos, Bridget Sheehan, Ainsley Marsh, Jeffrey Krisko and Anna Behringer. Tremendous job by everyone involved. We really appreciate it.

We also thank EBSCO Information Systems ( for their generous donations over the past several years to help support our head starting program.

In addition, thanks to the following institutions for their participation as well:

Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary: Richard Wolneiwicz.

Georgetown Peabody Library: Michele Augeri.

Thank you again to all involved. Your hard work, support, dedication, enthusiasm and generosity has helped grow the Blanding’s turtle head start and conservation program and make it a success. You are all making a difference in the world one species at a time.

Mark Irving

George Comiskey

Parker River Clean Water Association