Tortoise Group has been educating and advocating for the protection and well-being of the desert tortoise since 1982.
Tortoise Group is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
What Tortoise Group offers:
- Legal adoption of desert tortoises in Nevada
- Consultation visits to homes and schools, including suggestions for providing suitable backyard tortoise habitats
- Printed and online material on the care of pet tortoises and related topics
- Monthly programs March through October with guest speakers
- Speakers for school classes, adult and youth groups
- Personalized answers to inquiries about pet and wild desert tortoises
- Snooper service to look inside burrows in case of floods or non-emergence
- Online sales of quality tortoise food
Personalized Answers to your Inquiries
Call or e-mail to ask your questions about desert tortoises. Speak directly to a Tortoise Group representative. No question is too small. Contact us through facebook, email, or call the hotline.
Tortoise Group Staff
Sarah Mortimer joined Tortoise Group in September 2015 and serves as the Adoption Coordinator. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology with an emphasis in zoology from Northern Arizona University. Sarah has always had a love for animals and an interest in nature. She studied locomotion and limb morphology in mice for her undergraduate research project. She is very excited to work with desert tortoises adopting them to wonderful new custodians. Her passion for animals makes it simple for her to be enthusiastic about educating the public about desert tortoises! In her free time, Sarah loves being outdoors hiking, camping, and rock hounding with her pup, Gladys.
I travelled a winding road to Tortoise Group. I was lucky to spend 42 years in dentistry, 25 of them in treatment of the medically compromised. I earned my B.S. from the University of Southern California in 1970. After a number of years, I was honored to be accepted to Columbia University’s School of Human Nutrition, from which I graduated in 1982 with a Masters in Science. My research at Columbia led me to apply to Harvard’s School of Dental Medicine where I could combine my biochemistry/nutrition background and research with medicine in the treatment of medically compromised patients. After earning my DMD and MPH from HSDM and Harvard School of Public Health, I spent 5 years at UCLA running a residency program before joining the VA where I also ran their residency program. After 20 years at the VA I retired and moved to Las Vegas with my husband Michael. When a contractor gave us two female tortoises in 2012, I realized I knew nothing about caring for the desert tortoise so we joined Tortoise Group. Michael and I have spent the last four years enjoying our girls, volunteering for TG and making great friends.
Kym McDonough was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. In high school she was an exchange student in Australia. She studied Elementary/Special Education at the University of Nevada Reno and received her masters in Educational Leadership at UNR in addition to adding a Health/PE credential to her license. She is a full time Special Education teacher at a local middle school and is married with two kids. Kym enjoys running, cooking, and traveling. She loves animals and has had many pets as a kid and adult (cats, dogs, Guinea pigs, rabbit, hedgehog, snake, turtles and tortoises). But she has always been fascinated by her tortoises and is constantly learning. She enjoys educating others and helping them get ready to adopt their next member of the family. She is looking forward to working with you soon!
Amanda Tolson grew up in Las Vegas and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from UNLV. She is currently pursuing a second Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is passionate about environmental conservation and sustainability. In her free time, Amanda loves to cook, spend time outside hiking and kayaking, and cuddling with her cat, Shmuckers.
Laura Deitsch has lived in Las Vegas since January 1999. She works as a licensed mental health therapist and owns her own small practice, as well as working at The Rape Crisis Center, St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and The Embracing Project. Laura currently serves Tortoise Group as Board Chair. Her interest in Desert Tortoises began nearly 15 years ago when she acquired two Russian tortoises and was then presented with a Desert Tortoise hatchling from a mating pair in a Las Vegas backyard. She researched their needs and created a beautiful habitat in her yard and has had great spaces for all of them ever since. Laura grew up on the East Coast, enjoys live music, progressive politics and laughing with friends.