There are many ways for you and your students to become involved. At present we have documented 40 species of reptiles and amphibians in the state. They are taxa that are easy to find, safe to handle, and easy to identify. No specimens should be collected, as documentation requires only clear descriptions, photographs, videos, or audio recordings.
Public and private schools and other organizations have contributed valuable information. College biology classes have built reptile and amphibian field trips into their curricula. Public schools have organized surveys or budgeted to have a reptile and amphibian presentation and field trip. One private school in the state has built a four-week interdisciplinary unit around reptiles and amphibians in Vermont. The students have documented many valuable field records from their area. This school has incorporated photography, writing, biology, and math into a hands-on field unit.
For those of you who are academics, steering a few undergraduates or graduate students toward field research involving Vermont’s reptiles and amphibians would also be a great contribution to our knowledge of these species. Literature searches to track down records we might have missed or archaeological information would also be helpful.
A variety of Vermont environmental education organizations are helping to organize or promote portions of the effort.
Ways to involve students
- Encourage your students to document and send in reports of reptiles and amphibians that they see (reports could be extra credit or a special project). Follow this link for tips on documenting your records.
- Plan a field trip to locate and document local reptiles and amphibians.
- Build an interdisciplinary unit around Vermont’s reptiles and amphibians. Collect data on size, calling times, breeding locations, breeding conditions, population sizes, abnormalities, etc. Build snake hotels or snake covers near your school to check (see snake monitoring video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZ6L_fFYCWg)
- Map important breeding or road-crossing areas in your town.
- Learn the basic techniques for locating Vermont’s herpetofauna.
- Active searches
- Night-time road searches
- Day-time road cruises
- Listening for anuran (frog) choruses
Training and Presentations
Although no training is necessary or required, it is available:
- Arrange a presentation and/or a field trip led by a local herpetologist (honorarium and travel required).
- Attend one of the herp field trips sponsored by interested organizations (Vermont Audubon, Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center, The North Branch Nature Center, The Fairbanks Museum, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, The Montshire Museum).
For more information as well as for help to arrange presentations, training sessions, field trips, or to discuss your sightings please contact us directly:
The Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas
642 Smead Road
Salisbury, VT 05769
Phone: (802) 352-4734
Be sure to explore our species pages for additional information, photographs, calls, and other tools for identification, conservation, and education.