FGCU students clean up SWFL beaches to help tortoise populations

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A handful of FGCU students spent their Saturday morning picking up ragweed on the beach.

Hundreds of gopher tortoises call Barefoot Beach Preserve home. But they like to take shelter along roadways and parking lots, which killed a lot of them around Barefoot Beach.

So a class at FGCU is determined to help the tortoise population thrive.

“The tortoises eat about 300 different plants, and the ragweed came in and kind of killed most of those off, so we are clearing it out so they have more selection for their diet,” said Shannon McCarthy.

The students will be back out to check on the gopher tortoises and their status in June.

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