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Herp Atlas Newsletter Autumn 1996

Herp Atlas Logo
Herp Atlas Logo


New York State
Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project

Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources


New Map Identifies Areas to be Atlased

We have only 3 more years to complete the Atlas and we have a lot of gaps to fill. With the field season rapidly winding down, we thought it would be timely to provide a quick update. As you can see from the map, there are still a lot of quadrangles with no species reported. Over half of the quadrangles have 5 or fewer records. To date, the most diverse quad, in Dutchess County, has 37 species reported. There are 19 species that are statewide in distribution. It should be possible to find each of them in at least 90% of the quads. Depending on which area of the state you are in, you should be able to find 3 of 20 additional species in a quad (see article in Newsletter # 2). As a goal for 1997, we would like to work towards atlasing 15 species in each of the shaded quads on the map. Since they all have 5 or fewer species, almost anything you send in will be a new record. We welcome duplicate records for a quad that give us additional information concerning activity dates and life history. If you don't live or herp in one of the shaded quads, don't despair. Many of the unshaded quads are inadequately surveyed. We will provide a list, on request, of what has been reported in a specific quad. Because we have limited ability to photocopy and mail reports, please keep your request to a minimum. Please be patient with us if we are slow to respond. As your enthusiasm for this project grows, we are having more difficulty getting approval to keep our staff employed (see following article).

Map of New York Showing Areas that need to be Atlased

Herp Atlas Project Loses Staff

This summer we were very busy traveling around the state offering seminars and workshops to potential herp enthusiasts. It has been a very successful season for recruiting volunteers and for gathering data. There have been a tremendous number of survey cards coming in and we have spent a lot of time checking and entering them into the database and responding to requests for volunteer packets and additional survey cards. Unfortunately, though, the atlas staff was reduced by half at the end of September when both Kim and Alison were laid off.

One implication of this change is that we will not be able to answer your letters as quickly as we have in the past. Basic requests will likely be answered by a temporary clerk, but others will be placed in a file until there is time and staff to deal with them. Please, though, keep sending in your survey cards and don't be afraid to send in letters; they will be answered eventually.

Fear not! The herp atlas world has not all turned to doom and gloom. Kim is taking this opportunity to work on a graduate degree, but we hope will be able to return to work on the Atlas in January and possibly in the spring. Alison will hopefully be re-hired in December.

Behold! The Herp Atlas will go on!! Remember, this is just a small setback and we will be ready to jump into another great season when the spring of 1997 rolls around. Hope you have a great fall and winter. For now, make sure you have mailed in all of your survey cards for the season.

Herp Atlas Staff
Alvin Breisch Project Director
John Ozard Computer Systems Design
Kim Hunsinger Project Coordinator
Alison Preville Quality Control
Tree Frog Clip Art Drawing

Acknowledgments - text box image

Volunteer Handbook Available

This summer we produced a comprehensive handbook for Atlas volunteers. This handbook is intended to answer most of the question that you may have concerning your atlasing efforts. It contains the instructions, topographic quadrangle index, a list of recommended herpetological references, a list of acceptable town names and examples of common mistakes that are made on survey cards. Drop us a line if you would like to receive a copy of this spiffy new handbook.

This issue of the Newsletter was printed courtesy the of State University of New York at Cortland.

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