MyNorth News Service
(Press Release provided by DNR)
MICHIGAN: The Department of Natural Resources is calling all citizen scientists to help collect vital information about Michigan’s reptiles and amphibians. Anyone can help by reporting sightings of turtles, frogs, toads, snakes, salamanders and lizards in Michigan to the Herp Atlas Project.
“We need Michigan’s citizen scientists to send us information about the reptiles and amphibians they see,” said Herp Atlas Project coordinator Lori Sargent. “We need information on all species, no matter how common or rare they are.”
The Herp Atlas Project is the first statewide inventory of reptiles and amphibians ever conducted in Michigan. Its purpose is to document the distribution of Michigan’s reptiles and amphibians, collectively known as herpetofauna or “herps.”
Although local surveys have been performed in several areas, the Herp Atlas is one of just a few to be conducted over multiple years. Observations of all herp species will continue to be collected, and data collected will be mapped to evaluate species’ distribution over the entire state.
“With continued effort, we can document changes in herp populations,” added Sargent. “The atlas will also serve as a baseline for looking at distribution changes.”
The Herp Atlas Project is managed by Herpetological Resource and Management. Citizen scientists can enter their sightings online at www.miherpatlas.org. There is also a mobile app available for download from the website to make field reporting quick and easy. The Mobile Mapper is available for Android and iOS (Apple) devices.
Information about the atlas and data submission instructions can be found on the atlas website or can be obtained by sending an e-mail to SargentL@michigan.gov, calling 517-284-6216 or writing to DNR Wildlife Division, Herp Atlas, P.O. Box 30444, Lansing, MI 48909.
Observations must be verified by a knowledgeable source or by submission of a photo, audio recording or body part accompanied by the data card. Animals should NOT be killed for the purpose of identification.
Citizen scientists also are encouraged to attend the Herp Atlas Project’s first Herpathon, scheduled for Saturday, May 16, at Port Sheldon Natural Area in Ottawa County. The Herpathon is a volunteer event to identify amphibian and reptile diversity and distribution within Michigan’s unique landscapes. Information will be provided to the Michigan Herp Atlas Project and the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission. Preregistration is required. Visit the Ottawa County website at www.miottawa.org/Parks or call 616-786-4847 to register.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.