As part of Operation Endangered Species, a group of Pontiac Township High School students helped release 100 alligator snapping turtles into the wild last week.
Students worked with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to tag the endangered turtles and release them into Horseshoe Lake Park in Granite City.
The turtles were given transmitters that were painted and blown dry before being put back into their natural habitat.
Participants say it feels great to help save a species from their own backyard.
"They came to us a little dimes and now they're huge turtles that we can't even hold in our tanks so it's really, really fun and exciting," said Baylee Ritter, a Pontiac Senior.
"We got to go down into this little river area and we got to release the turtles and it was just so awesome to see all of our work up to this point payoff," added Jessica Ping, a Pontiac Senior.
"And that it is something that really needs to be done by someone and why not us," commented Michaela Schlesner, a Pontiac Senior.
Currently 10 schools across Illinois are participating in Operation Endangered Species to help put the "Snap Back on the Map."
For more information you can visit their website operationendangeredspecies.com.
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