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New Jersey Herp Atlas

Volunteers needed statewide to conserve declining reptiles and amphibians

Volunteers are desperately needed for the NJ Herp Atlas project. The New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Endangered & Nongame Species will be offering four regional training seminars:

  • February 17 in Sewell Township, Gloucester County

  • February 24 in Galloway Township, Atlantic County

  • March 10 at Pequest Fish Hatchery in Warren County

  • March 24 at Lord Sterling Park in Somerset County

Information on the training seminars is posted on our website at

Volunteers of all ages are welcome. Whether you are “herping” by yourself, with your family and friends, or with an organization, you can adopt an area to focus your surveys on. Biologists of the Endangered & Nongame Species Program will be offering four more regional training seminars in the late winter/early spring of 2001.

Please call the Endangered & Nongame Species Program at (609) 628-2103 to reserve a seat or e-mail Directions are available on our training seminar pages.

In addition, we have recently completed the first edition of field guides to reptiles and amphibians of New Jersey which can be downloaded from the same Web site.

In recent years, herptile (reptile and amphibian) populations have been noticeably decreasing. The most influential factor in their decline is development of critical habitat and habitat fragmentation. Not only are wild areas decreasing in size, but the separation of these areas by roads causes separations in populations. This divide in what was an animal’s home range causes a vast amount of roadkill, especially turtles and snakes. Furthermore, herp populations are declining because of disease and decreased environmental quality. It is not only endangered and threatened species that are of concern; all herp species need a degree of protection.

To conserve New Jersey’s herp populations, we must first know where they are located. The New Jersey Herp Atlas is a project run by the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, Endangered & Nongame Species Program to map the distribution and relative abundance of all reptiles and amphibians in New Jersey. Essentially, Herp Atlas volunteers visit sites near their homes or places they frequent and search for frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, snakes, and lizards. This can be done by simply hiking on a warm spring day and turning over logs and bark in search of lizards and snakes. A humid, rainy spring evening is a great opportunity to listen for frog calls. A canoe ride can reveal turtles quietly basking on logs along the river’s edge. The NJ Herp Atlas provides datasheets and maps for observations to be accurately recorded.

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