- On January 14, 2020
At Barrington Area Conservation Trust, we are inspired by members of our community who are leaders in conservation and preservation of nature. Let us introduce you to Bob and Denise Krause, residents of Barrington Hills, whose commitment to protecting turtle populations and to restoring the natural habitat of their property sets an example for all of us. As Bob tells us, “if it is your passion, persevere!”
From first buying a little green turtle from the dime store as a little boy, Bob began a love affair with the animals that stayed with him as he kept, raised, and bred several species of reptiles. He served in the U.S. Army, and then he returned to his passion and began an entrepreneurial career in the pet industry. After opening his twenty-third retail pet center, Bob phased into product development, designing many patented products for the farm, zoological, and pet industries. After building an international organization (SUPER PET) with significant national market share, he sold his companies in 2005 to a publicly traded corporation and returned to his roots.
Bob and Denise are sound believers in keeping common turtles common. Over the past 12 years they have been protecting the Midland Painted Turtle populations on their property through countless hours of observation during the nesting season. Prior to their involvement, skunks, raccoons, and other predators dug up most of the nests to devour the eggs. The Krauses designed a nest protector which “safely cages” the nests. They date, number and catalog the nests. After 90 to 100 days, they open the nests, remove the hatchlings, and place them in a “head-starting” phase. The Krauses care for the young turtles in climate-controlled enclosures and feed them special diets. Once the turtles reach a certain size, they are released back into their natural habitats. This procedure reduces the number of hatchlings that would otherwise be eaten by herons, egrets, raccoons, fish and bullfrogs. To this date, the Krauses have released over 1,650 turtles, and find it rewarding to see floating logs and vegetation filled with numerous turtles of all sizes.
We asked Bob Krause to tell us more about his conservation work and what inspires him.
What type of conservation efforts are you involved in?
Even though my wife and I work on many aspects of environmental conservation, my primary concentration is with Chelonians (turtles and tortoises).
Who or what inspired you to get involved in conservation work?
My entire life has always encompassed nature in one form or another, but early on, I had an infatuation with reptiles and amphibians. I can say that this started as a young child keeping a small turtle as a pet and blossoming into learning every aspect I could in keeping reptiles alive and caring for them.
Where do you look for inspiration?
All we have to do is look around us. Our inspiration comes from various forms. Our natural environment is alive with numerous plants and animals all depending on each other. They coexist in various micro habitats, and we need to understand and appreciate the importance of keeping all in balance. When one sees the ecosystem working in harmony, a warm feeling of contentment and gratification is experienced.
What are your other hobbies?
Field trips in natural habitats of turtles and other reptiles
Designing and developing
What are the biggest obstacles?
The biggest obstacle is that some people lack a care of our environment and the animals we coexist with.
Can you share one of your most memorable experiences working in the field of conservation?
After several years of working with Midland Painted Turtles, to witness many ages and sizes of turtles basking together is awe inspiring. This is an obvious indication that our efforts of saving this species is working.
What advice do you have for someone looking to contribute to conservation efforts [for wildlife, for land]?
If it is your passion, persevere! Do not give up. Understand that it is “ALWAYS” a process and it takes time. Our accomplishments do not happen overnight. Two steps forward and one step back and sometimes it is the opposite, but the big picture — the final results — take time. Remember, while pushing forward, always educate the people around you. It cannot be done alone.
What do you feel is the most pressing issue for conservation of wildlife or for natural lands today?
The shortsightedness of big corporations, politicians and those in it for the money.