Welcome to our new look and the future of Garden State Tortoise.
Ten years of Garden State Tortoise sure went by fast. Technically it's been much longer based on the amount of time we've been an active part of the reptile world, but we officially made GST an LLC in 2011. That was when we just dove into it all, head first, never looking back. Well, it was more than worth it. The last 12+ months have been a celebration of our 10 year anniversary with new logos, apparel and more and we can't thank you enough if you were engaged with us in any way. Whether you liked, commented, shared or just watched something we made, or picked up one of our designs, THANK YOU. We just keep getting to move forward because of you.
Now that we've begun our 11th year, we felt it refreshing to revamp again and get everyone as excited as we are for the future of GST. Our new look is meant to let the viewer know a lot about us in just 3 words. You'll notice that under Garden State Tortoise, it reads "Reptiles X Adventure X Family". Well, that sums it up. For one, it's not just turtles and tortoises that we work with, as some may know. They've been the driving force behind us and how we got here, but snakes, lizards and other herps are something we are passionate and knowledgeable about, too.
For one, my day job as an assistant herpetologist for Herpetological Associates INC is to conduct studies on protected native snake species. We also house several snakes personally and use them to educate the public about their importance. How they benefit us and their environment and understanding their ecology are just some of the topics we cover. We of course also use our snakes to help crush those ridiculous, irrational fears that are normally associated with them. We're happy to report that we have changed the minds of many people in a positive way. They once hated or feared snakes but now they appreciate them and their undeniable beauty. It's a wonderful feeling to witness that amazing change in someone.
We also maintain lizards, frogs and other amphibians which are some of the other critters I get to regularly encounter at work in the field. Each one of these animals, regardless of species, plays a crucial role in the grand understanding and acknowledgment of reptiles and amphibians. Alluring is one word to describe this group of vertebrates but you truly don't grasp it until you've experienced them in the flesh, especially in nature.
Let's not forget Casey's background in the zoo world. She's handled and trained species of animal that can effortlessly kill you, but she's also a regular when it comes to giant tortoises, giant snakes and other herps of all types and sizes.
We're the whole package (except crocodilians since they're illegal here) and we wanted to start making that come full circle in how we portray ourselves to our audience. The new logo is simple to understand. All hand drawn and designed by my beautiful, talented Casey, it's the shell of a Hermann's tortoise with some playful text. Anyone who has followed us for years (and decades before our 2011 initiation as a business) knows how much of a staple the Hermann's tortoises have been in our lives. From the childhood animal my late grandmother brought home from Italy, to the vast collection we have of them now, Hermann's tortoises are "home" for us. Breeding them, accomplishing genetic work on them, writing about them, filming them and being referenced in scientific publications about them have all contributed to the success of GST over the years, and so, it just makes perfect sense to highlight this beloved species once again.
In addition to that we wanted the broader term of "reptiles" to be incorporated somehow along with what else we stand for. We love to travel (after-all Casey IS a Disney travel agent) and our family is EVERYTHING to us, so that easily gives you the tagline "Reptiles X Adventure X Family". In the last several months we've brought all of this into our posts and YouTube videos and we are so excited to give you even more. We've do have some fine tuning to add to this website and how we appear on our social media platforms, so get ready as we roll everything out!
2021 was yet another busy but fortunate year for us as a family with many new animals to share stories about. "Otis", our famous, dog-like eastern box turtle who continues to take the world by storm, "Jack and Sally" our gifted Galapagos tortoise babies (thank you again 3 Jay's Tortoise Sanctuary!!) "Gilligan" our new pup-best friend and so many more will continue to grace you all in everything we share and all we do as GST. Fresh apparel will once again be available, of course, and we've got some awesome content ideas for 2022. Whether we're reporting to you from our nature room, our new Aquascape Ecosystem or somewhere beyond the GST gates, it's going to be a great, educational and fun time.
Thank you all!