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Turtle Habitat Dedication Saturday

A new Box Turtle Habitat will be dedicated at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township this Saturday. Donna Setaro, Chairperson of the State’s Move Over Awareness Campaign, says during the event, the turtles will be released into their new surroundings which will feature a pond with running water, a mural of Cedar Creek, a turtle statue, a memorial stone with Setaro’s late son, Trooper Marc Castellano’s badge number and a plaque dedicated to Trooper Castellano and all the first responders the State’s Move Over Law is meant to protect.

Setaro says the Turtle Habitat came out better than she expected with 98% of the materials for the project donated and she says they raised about $3,500 for the project.

She  says the work was done by the employees at the Popcorn Park Zoo, Ocean County Jail inmates, State Troopers who helped install plants and she also credits her husband John.

Setaro says all the work in the Turtle Habitat was approved by Popcorn Park Zoo Director John Bergman. She says they came in with a plan and wanted to make sure that the plants they were putting in the sanctuary weren’t toxic to the turtles. However, they did have a bit of a setback when they planted large Hastas. She says the Peacocks seemed to love them and ate most the plants. She says they’ll be replacing them before the Open House Saturday.

She says students in the Lacey Township School District got very involved in the efforts with fundraisers. She says the Interact Club and Emergency Services Club will be out their helping Saturday.

Setaro says she began the Move Over Campaign after her son State Trooper Marc Castellano was killed in 2010 when he was struck by a vehicle while conducting an investigation on the shoulder of Route 195 in Howell. She says the turtle habitat is really a tribute to her son who loved box turtles when he was growing up.

Setaro says she hopes the public will enjoy the new area for the turtles and learn more about the State’s Move Over Law because the sanctuary will have a number of signs posted that will include the Move Over Campaign’s website. She says they adopted the turtles as a mascot because they’re slow moving and they will remind people to slow down when they see the flashing lights of first responders off to the side of the road and if possible, move away from them into the next lane.

Setaro marks a milestone prior to Saturday’s dedication. She says last week in Howell, she and the State Troopers who travel with her have spoken with over 20,000 people about the state’s Move Over Law.

This summer, a number of public service announcements will be released about the state’s Move Over Law.

40 Box Turtles will be housed in the habitat and Setaro says the area offers room for them to reproduce.

Dedication starts at 10 a.m. Saturday June 2nd

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