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Why should I join and what do I get?

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It must be remembered that this is YOUR 501c3 nonprofit organization and we, as Trustees, have a responsibility to make the best possible use of all donations or membership monies that we receive. We take this obligation extremely seriously.


The single largest expenditure for the World Chelonian Trust (WCT) is our Newsletter costs. All members receive four twenty plus page newsletters per year. Costs for this membership benefit include copying, mailing and an occasional software purchase. Magazines typically cover these costs by advertisements. However, there is very little advertising present in the WCT Newsletter. Also, we are very selective about what we will allow to be advertised in our pages. 

Another large percentage of our funding goes towards education which is one of the primary goals of the organization. Costs include everything from table rentals at herpetological shows where educational pamphlets are passed out to costs associated with the preparation of presentation materials such as posters and care sheets. In the past year alone, we have had a presence at herpetological shows and symposiums in New York, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Iowa. While we do offer WCT memberships at these shows, our primary reason for being there is education. It is not unusual for us to hand out well over a thousand care sheets at a single show – all completely free of charge. These care sheets are often the only accurate information that impulse buyers receive for their new chelonian(s). At a recent “show” in Chicago, over 40 complete booklets of care sheets were given to pet shop owners again to try to get the word out on how to care properly for the various species.

Some funding also goes to other educational tools such as the “Herp Digest”, a weekly periodical that exists on donations alone. We also directly support education by the partial sponsorship of a Southeast Asian student through the Asian Scholarship Program. The Asian Scholarship Program funds summer internships in intensive hands-on conservation courses in the United States. We recently funded a representative to attend a wildlife law seminar and with available funds we support field research as well as in situ conservation.

Hundreds of turtles and tortoises need rehoming each and every year. While most of our rehoming efforts of unwanted or rehabilitated animals go through the very capable hands of a nationwide network of rehabbers we have worked with closely for years, occasionally we do personally rehabilitate and rehome turtles as well. While most expenses of this type are paid for by individual board members, a small portion is occasionally paid for from membership fees.

People often ask if we ever use membership funds to purchase animals. The answer to this is no. We feel that direct individual intervention of that type is akin to the old proverb “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.“ Rather than saving a small number of turtles and tortoises by our own direct personal intervention, we feel that by educating others, thousands can be saved. So while the various WCT trustees have extensive experience with a wide variety of turtles and tortoises, this is through their individual efforts and monies rather than WCT funds.

So, while the easy answer to “where does my twenty dollars go?” is “Not as far as it used to”, in reality, your membership dollar stretches around the globe.

If you wish to become a member of the World Chelonian Trust click this link.

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Those individuals that are generous beyond the "Basic" membership are  publicly acknowledged on our "Friends of the Trust" page.  

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World Chelonian Trust
PO Box 1445
Vacaville, CA 95696

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