HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia Nature Trust has issued an urgent public appeal for donations as it trys to raise $120,000 to buy a plot of land used as a nesting site by endangered Blanding's turtles.

The conservation group issued a statement Friday saying it has to raise the funds before a Dec. 31 deadline, otherwise the land could be sold for cottage development.

The 26-hectare lakeshore site in southwest Nova Scotia is described as one of the province's most significant turtle sanctuaries.

Within Nova Scotia, the turtles are found in only one small area, where there are about 350 adult turtles remaining.

Environment Canada and corporate donors we have already contributed almost half of the funds needed -- about $120,000.

Conservation co-ordinator Cristi Frittaion says the site has been used by generations of turtles, including Squirt, Lumpy, Smoothy and Dilly -- females named by staff at the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute.