How Can I Become Involved in Local Herp Conservation?
One question that is occasionally asked through email, social media, and in person is how can you, as a member of the Madison Area Herpetological Society (MAHS), or as a local citizen can become more involved in any local herptile related conservation efforts. While there are certainly many national and international herp related conservation causes that are worthy of support, opportunities for supporting local and state initiatives can often be more variable depending on where one lives and the nature of the herpetological diversity in each area.
Unfortunately, local herp related conservation efforts and initiatives often suffer from lack of funding and attention, especially over the long term. This sadly results in many local, worthy conservation efforts becoming defunct or otherwise inactive. Below is a listing of local to international resources and opportunities that are, or have been available in the past for anyone within the state of Wisconsin interested in becoming more greatly involved in local herp conservation. We can also provide much more information about each of these, and how MAHS is actively involved in each of them as well. If you know or are aware of any herp-specific conservation organizations or other efforts in Wisconsin or the Midwest that are not listed here, feel free to let us know about them!
1. Wisconsin PARC (Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation)-The Wisconsin chapter of the Midwest and National PARC organizations.
2. Turtles for Tomorrow-A Wisconsin based conservation initiative for the state’s rare and imperiled herps, with emphasis on Wisconsin’s imperiled turtle species.
3. Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey- A citizen science based initiative that maps and records the distribution and statuses of Wisconsin’s anuran species.
4. Wildlife Discovery Center-A living natural history museum in Lake Forest, IL which is involved in many local and regional endangered herp and other animal ecosystems.
5. Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network-Citizens and professional scientists working together to monitor and evaluate Wisconsin’s natural resources, from plants and animals to water, weather and soils.
6. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI-DNR)-Various conservation initiatives, information, and citizen science monitoring opportunities for herp species in Wisconsin.
7. Herpetological Conservation International (HCI)-An international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting conservation and education regarding many of the world’s imperiled herp species.
8. Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program-A citizen science based program similar to the WI Anuran survey to monitor and record turtle distribution throughout Wisconsin and monitor and mitigate road mortality.
9. Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin-The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin provides sustainable funding for Wisconsin’s most imperiled species and public lands, while helping citizens connect with our state’s unique natural places. NRF of Wisconsin has also launched a new Wisconsin Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Fund in June/July 2017 to help fund herptile conservation in Wisconsin. See that link below as well.
10. Local Nature Centers, Museums, Environmental Education Centers, and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers/Organizations-These may have additional conservation opportunities that may benefit herp species directly or indirectly through land management, stewardship, habitat restoration, etc. Injured native turtles and native herp species found indoors or at unseasonal times of the year tend to be the most common herp related cases most wildlife re-habilitation organizations see. We can provide a list of these upon further request.
11. Amphibian Survival Alliance-World’s largest collaborative effort dedicated to amphibian conservation, education, and research.
12-The Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy-To promote amphibian and reptile conservation, as well as efforts that support the mission of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) and their goals.
13. Wisconsin County Parks and Forests-Often have wetland and habitat management opportunities which directly and indirectly benefit herp species.