CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles has announced the availability of a new wildlife license plate featuring the Eastern Box Turtle. Following in the footsteps of other wildlife plates, including the most popular whitetail deer, elk, and brook trout plates, the box turtle plate will help to raise funds for important conservation projects, as well as support education and outreach efforts for the Division of Natural Resources. The choice to feature the Eastern Box Turtle was due in large part to the extreme success of the DNR’s “citizen science project” focusing on the box turtle in 2020. More than 6,000 recorded sightings were received statewide, officials said.
According to Scott Warner, Assistant Chief of Wildlife Diversity for DNR, “In 1996, West Virginia voters approved a constitutional amendment that added an additional $15 per plate revenue source, with all proceeds going to the DNR’s Diversity Fund.” Due to the eager interest of outdoor enthusiasts statewide, approximately $300,000 is raised annually for conservation efforts and outreach and education. “People are willing to pay that additional fee because they love the artwork and want to support the wildlife programs at the same time,” Warner said.
For over 25 years now, the DMV and DNR have been collaborating on wildlife license plates to raise awareness and funding. DMV Commissioner Everett Frazier is excited to offer citizens another option when considering a license plate. “We produce over 100 different specialty/organization license plates. Many customers use these plates as an opportunity to showcase something meaningful to them. For wildlife plates, it also presents an opportunity to financially support a worthy cause,” said Frazier.
Box turtle enthusiasts across the state can now get their hands on one of these plates by filling out the online form under License Plate section of the Vehicles tab at dmv.wv.gov, or by visiting any of DMV’s regional offices across the state.