Meet Tré.

He likes soaking up the rays, scarfing down worms and chilling in Fontenelle Forest.

Tré is a three-toed box turtle and soon, he and his buddies will have a pretty sweet pad all to themselves, courtesy of the SummerWorks Omaha program through the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Robert Goetschkes, cohort leader with SummerWorks, helped organize the 150 high school students who are completing various projects throughout the community. This project, making an 8 foot by 8 foot turtle enclosure, will be used to teach others about the shell-bound reptiles.

Alex Wiles, an animal care specialist at Fontenelle Forest, said the enclosure will be a vegetated area with room for the eight turtles to bask in the sun.

“They absorb ultraviolet light to help process calcium,” Wiles said. “They eat plants and bugs, but they’re not picky about it.”

The SummerWorks program is privately funded. Last year, volunteers at Fontenelle built shelters in the woods using recycled plastic water bottles for walls wrapped in chicken wire. It is the second year they’ve worked on a project at the forest, with the goal of teaching responsibility, expanding the volunteers’ knowledge and bettering the community.

“The kids get paid to help, too. It’s very competitive to get in,” Goetschkes said. “It’s a community service project, and we all enjoy it.”

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