2024 Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas Fundraiser
Five years ago we organized our first fundraiser. It was motivated by a decline in our regular grant funding, a pressing need to get all our data digitized for future use, and to assign accurate latitude and longitude coordinates to older records. The fundraiser was a huge success, so we tried it again the following year. We now hold annual winter fundraisers in hopes of raising $20,000 (or more) to support Herp Atlas projects that are not adequately funded by our grants.
- Through our GoFundMe site (they take 2.9 percent of the payment plus 30 cents per transaction) https://www.gofundme.com/f/vermont-reptile-amphibian-atlas-fundraiser-24
- By using the PayPal link on our website (they take 2.9 percent of the payment plus 30 cents per transaction) https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/VtHerpAtlas
- By sending a check made out to James S. Andrews to:
The Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas
642 Smead Road
Salisbury, VT 05769
- By sending a check made out to Vermont Family Forests to:
The Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas
642 Smead Road
Salisbury, VT 05769*
Vermont Family Forests is our fiscal sponsor and they are a registered 501(c)3 non-profit (they take 15% for overhead costs).
*If your fund requires that a check must be sent directly to Vermont Family Forests (P.O. Box 254, 14 School Street, Suite 202A, Bristol, VT 05443), please notify them that your donation is for the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas and please also contact us directly about your donation.
**Checks should not be made out to the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas. We can’t cash them that way.
We have some gifts to offer you for your contribution. Please let us know when you contribute if you would like your gift.
- $50-$99: Herp Atlas bumper sticker (your choice: our original or our new Mandibular Liberation sticker)
- $100-$199: Herp Atlas bumper sticker and our Herp Atlas refrigerator magnet
- $200-$999: You will be entered into a drawing for a group field trip for you and up to 10 friends
- $1000 Plus: Private field trip for you and up to ten friends
(from left to right: Herp Atlas refrigerator magnet, original bumper sticker, Mandibular Liberation bumper sticker)
This year’s photo
Our photo this year (above) shows a male Wood Frog trying to mate with a female Green Frog that has not even entered the breeding pond yet. Wood Frogs will try to mate with about anything that moves as long as it is about their same size, and either enters or gets close to their breeding pool. We have seen them amplexing other species of frog, Spotted Salamanders, drowned mice, cattail heads, trout, and people’s fingers.
The ultimate goal of the Atlas is to gather and disseminate the data that are needed on the reptiles and amphibians of Vermont in a way that involves and informs Vermont individuals and organizations so that they can become more informed and effective stewards of wildlife habitat.
We will continue to encourage everyone to photograph and report the reptiles and amphibians they see in Vermont.
We will review all records, correct any misidentifications, answer any questions, and respond to the contributors with useful conservation suggestions when appropriate.
We will continue to work with the local press to get information out on the natural history and conservation of all of Vermont’s reptiles and amphibians. Although reptiles and amphibians are our area of expertise, they serve as vehicle for conservation of all living things in Vermont.
We will continue to offer field trips and presentations and work with both private organizations and government agencies to help promote conservation of reptiles and amphibians specifically and all wildlife in general.
We will continue to update our website, make additional videos, and make that information available to the public.
Specific goals for 2024
- Coordinates – We continue to add latitude and longitude coordinates to all records of common herps from Vermont. All new records have lat longs assigned to them and all rare and unusual species have been assigned coordinates, but older records of more common herps still need lat longs assigned to them. We are also reviewing all reports of rare species to make sure the lat long coordinates are accurate. We have one young wildlife biologist working 20 hours per week this winter on this project.
- Field Surveys – We will personally fill in new town records or update historic records for ~fifty Vermont towns.
- Publications – This year we plan to update all of our distribution maps both online and in print and publish an update to our Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas.
- Print – In collaboration with Teage O’Connor of Crow’s Path, we created and published a folding guide to the Amphibians of Vermont that has been quite popular.
- Updates – Monthly updates have continued to be made to our website. Kate Kelly added a quick photo reference to Vermont herptiles, updated our management resource list, Fowler’s Toad identification information, and glossary. In addition, I send out periodic Herp Update newsletters to a group of over 400 people and the local press. These Updates get added to our website and our Facebook page so that they are available to anyone. Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative EcoAmericorps intern Hanson Menzies joined us for a few months. We had him send out targeted information about the Atlas with regional information on what species needed to be documented. These were directed to the appropriate regional press, Front Porch Fora, and contributors from the targeted region. While with us, he sent out regional information on our data gaps to Bennington, Grand Isle, Orange, Orleans, and Windsor Counties.
- Coordinates – We finished assigning lat longs to all reports from all towns that border Lake Champlain. Both Addison and Rutland Counties were also finished last year.
- Contributed records from the public – From October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2023, 824 contributors (555 for the first time) provided 3,638 new records that were entered into the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas Database. This brings the total number of reports entered to almost 122,000. Sightings during this period came from 217 towns, cities, grants, and gores and all Vermont counties. They included all of Vermont’s native species except Boreal Chorus Frog (probably extirpated from Vermont, last reported in 1999). We received and entered two old (1852 & 1980) reports of North American Racers, but we have not received any well-documented reports of this species since 2014. Over the past year, we have entered 29 new reports of S1 species, 206 reports of S2 species, 293 reports of S3 species, 167 new reports of S4 species, and 2,537 reports of S5 species. In addition, we have added negative reports (unsuccessful searches), unverified reports, reports of significant crossing areas, reports of significant herptile habitat, and data from long-term monitoring sites into our database.
- Targeted survey efforts – During this period, we personally visited 59 towns (or cities, gores, or grants) to gather new records. Many survey trips focused on those “towns” (including cities, gores, and grants) that have had the least survey effort. This is usually the result of low numbers of residents. Other trips focused on species that are not often reported by citizen scientists. These include the Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) and Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus). We filled in many data gaps (species/town combinations) with these trips.
- Field trips, presentations, and media outreach – During this time, we met with writers and press for a number of interviews and news pieces on Vermont herptiles. These included shows on Vermont snakes and climate change’s impact on herps for WCAX TV, an interview on Vermont herptiles for Vermont Public’s Vermont Edition, and a film on snake monitoring for a private film maker (https://www.vtherpatlas.org/extras/snake-monitoring/). We gave two vernal pool trainings for staff of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), helped with herp field trips for the Northeast Natural History Conference and the International Conference on Ecology and Transportation, and did a training series called Habitats and Highways for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. We also gave a remote presentation for Calais Elementary School and led field trips and/or gave in person presentations for the Lewis Creek Association, Burr and Burton Academy, the Salisbury Conservation Commission, Dead Creek Wildlife Festival, and the Herricks Cove Wildlife Festival.
- Environmental Excellence Award for the Monkton Amphibian and Wildlife Crossing, from the Federal Highway Administration (with others). 2017
- Award for Excellence in Herpetofaunal Conservation, from Northeast Partners in Reptile and Amphibian Conservation. 2017
- Sally Laughlin Award for the Protection of Threatened and Endangered Species in the state of Vermont, from the Secretary of the VT Agency of Natural Resources. 2019
- USDOT, Federal Highway Administration Environmental Excellence Award, for Vermont Highways and Habitats, Road Ecology Training for Transportation. 2022
Thank you for your support!
And please keep those reports coming in.