A recent article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review outdoors writer Bob Frye interviews a few of our Coordinators: Ed Patterson, Mark Lethaby Chris Urban, Brandon Ruhe and Jason Poston about the PARS Project.
In what often seems to be an ever-shrinking world, there’s still room for discovery.
Ed Patterson can speak to that.
Director of Indiana County’s parks system, he has been prowling those and other lands with purpose of late. He’s finding more than might be expected, too.
Yesterday we launched a new timesheet system on PARS. The new system should be easier and less complicated for volunteers. The new system will eliminate the need to sign and submit separate timesheets on a monthly basis. Instead, volunteer hour timesheet submissions are embedded in the “Add Record” form and an e-signature is applied for each day when submitting your record. You can review your timesheets under My Account.
When you select a date that has no former records submitted, a timesheet box will appear on the bottom of the “Add Record” form.
Enter all time spent volunteering on that date. Upon hitting the submit button you acknowledge that you are signing a daily timesheet that will be generated for PARS volunteer match.
Once you have submitted time for a date, you will not be prompted to submit volunteer hours on additional records with the same date.
To see your time for the month or previous months you can go to the My Account button and select the Timesheet Forms button.
Here you will be able to see the time you have entered for the current month or select a previous month to view and/or download a CSV of that month.
If you spent time herping but collected no records, participated in a PARS/MACHAC event or other activities that count as volunteer time, you can use the “Extra Volunteer Time” form by clicking the “Add Extra Time” button.
In the “Extra Time Submission Form” you will be asked to enter the date you volunteered, the total time , the activity (if you do not see an appropriate choice, choose “Other”).
For some exciting new scheduled events coming up for PARS for the year. Open to the public and volunteers, join us for our PARS Introductory Presentation, PARS Workshops and Herp Walks. We hope to see you there.
March 7, 7:00 p.m. – Swamp Tromp in the Moonlight, Bucks County Heritage Conservancy Preserved Property in Quakertown (directions given at registration) To register, contact: Tammy, 215-345-7020, ext. 107 For details, contact Kyle Loucks:
Saturday, April 11 – PARS info table at Lehigh Valley Zoo 150 GAME PRESERVE ROAD, SCHNECKSVILLE, PA 18078 For details, contact Kyle Loucks:
April 18, 10:00 a.m. – PARS Introductory & Herp Walk – Indiana County Pine Ridge Park @ Pine Lodge 857 Chestnut Ridge Rd Blairsville, 15717 For details contact Ed Patterson:
April 18, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm – PARS Volunteer Workshop Erie County Asbury Woods Nature Center, 4105 Asbury Rd, Erie, PA 16506 http://asburywoods.org/ Call (814) 833-7215 to make reservations. For details contact Mark Lethaby:
April 25 – HerpBlitz, Fulton County – details to be announced Contact Tom Pluto:
April 25, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. PARS info table at the Lancaster Native Plant and Wildlife Festival Overlook Park, 595 Granite Run Drive, Lancaster, PA 17601 For details, contact Jake Cramer:
May 2, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – PARS Volunteer Workshop & Survey, Wayne County Lacawac Sanctuary, 94 Sanctuary Road, Lake Ariel, 18436 www.lacawac.org Call (570) 689-9494 to make reservations. For details contact Marlin Corn:
May 15, 7:00 p.m. – PARS Update to the Lancaster Herpetological Society, Lancaster County Manheim Township Public Library, 595 Granite Run Dr., Lancaster, 17601 For details contact Kyle Loucks:
May 16-17 – Climber’s Run Bioblitz, Lancaster County 226 Frogtown Road, Pequea, PA. – details to be announced For details contact Marlin Corn:
June 27, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – PARS Volunteer Workshop and Survey, Susquehanna County Salt Springs State Park – Meet at the Wheaton House near the park’s main parking area Call or email to register: 570.967.7275 For details contact Marlin Corn:
June 28, 1:00 p.m. – “Gone Herping! Nature Walk” ,York County Richard M. Nixon County Park Nature Center, 5922 Nixon Drive, York, PA 17403 For details contact Kyle Loucks,
July 11, 7:30 a.m. – Herp walk, Delaware County Glen Providence Park, 500 Block of West State Street, Media, PA For details contact Kyle Loucks,
See the August edition of the Year of The Salamander from PARC. MACHAC President Brandon Ruhe was the August organizer for the newsletter and wrote the newsletter for PARC with contributions from the PARS team, Mary Beth Kolzsvary PARC YoSAL coordinator, and editing and organization by the PARC Year of the Salamander editorial committee. Download Newsletter
We are pleased to announce the release of the mobile app created by mobile mapper to work with PAHERP. The mobile app will allow you to take records in the field and sync them to the database. Members will be able to access the mobile page to find the download links for Apple and Android along with the information you need to connect the app to your account.
The winter of 2012-2013 was a big year for bog turtle protection in the Hudson Valley as restoration efforts started on a record number of acres. With funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and technical assistance from the Mid-Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation (MACHAC), six sites representing 140 acres were able to be permanently protected under a conservation easement and restored for bog turtle protection in Dutchess County.
“This represents more acres than have been restored by NRCS New York in all the previous years combined (2003-2011),” said Jason Tesauro, a turtle specialist with MACHAC.
Bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) are the smallest and one of the rarest turtle species in North America. They live in calcareous wetlands throughout the Hudson Valley.
Restoration of their habitat involves removing overgrown trees and invasive plants which can shade out the sunny areas bog turtles need for basking and nesting. A rich diversity of native plants, many of which are only found in these rare, calcareous (limestone) wetlands, can then thrive. This provides excellent habitat for the bog turtle. Sometimes livestock like cattle, goats, or sheep are pastured in the wetlands which help control the growth of unwanted vegetation. When grazing does occur, it is carefully monitored and only a few animals at a time are allowed so wetland plants aren’t overgrazed or turtles trampled.
NRCS through WRP has funded approximately 15 bog turtle protection projects in the Hudson Valley. Other projects in New York have been funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Environmental Defense Fund, and The Nature Conservancy.
“The WRP program has successfully restored millions of acres nationwide providing habitat for lots of wildlife including water fowl and rare species like bog turtles. On a volunteer basis, landowners can enroll wetlands that have been modified for agriculture. USDA NRCS pays the landowner for a conservation easement which takes the property out of agricultural production and prevents future development. We then work with the landowner to restore the wetlands back to their original function,” said Elizabeth Marks, a biologist with USDA NRCS.
With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with landowners and communities to improve our soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy use. If you have a farmed wetland or one containing bog turtles, or if you are interested in how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your local NRCS office.
All of the reptiles and amphibians identified last weekend during the first Upper Delaware BioBlitz (www.UpperDelawareBioBlitz.com) will have the double honor of being counted twice, first as residents of the Norcross Wildlife Foundation’s property in Starlight, PA, and also in the recently launched Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey (PARS).
The Mid-Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation (MAC HAC) is partnering with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission in a 10-year project to establish a new amphibian and reptile atlas and are reaching out to all Pennsylvania nature enthusiasts for help.
A primary goal is to build an “army of citizen scientists” to help identify the distribution of herps throughout the state to enable better monitoring of changes to populations and ultimately provide more effective protection to them. Amphibians in particular are sensitive to environmental changes and all herps are increasingly impacted by loss of habitat.
Representatives of MAC HAC were on hand during the bioblitz, where more than 970 distinct species were identified in nine categories such as birds, fungi, mammals and more. To see some of the species catalogued by the BioBlitz Herp Team, visit paherpsurvey.org/search.php?r_county=803. Learn more about how you can get involved at www.paherpsurvey.org.
The Mid-Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation is pleased to announce the launch of the Pennsylvania Amphibian & Reptile Survey (abbreviated as PARS), a new amphibian and reptile atlas created through a partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. This ten-year project (2013-2022) is calling on Pennsylvania’s naturalists, amateur and professional herpetologists, and nature enthusiasts in general, to join the increasing ranks of citizen scientists collecting important observations for science and resource agencies. The amphibians and reptiles of Pennsylvania need your help.
Why should we care about amphibians and reptiles? Amphibians and reptiles are misunderstood animals that are more important to humans then most humans even realize. Reptiles and Amphibians (particularly amphibians) have been recognized by science as animals that are sensitive to changes in the environment, changes that will affect us indirectly (e.g. through ecosystem simplification or collapse due to the loss of amphibians and reptiles) or directly (e.g. chemicals put into the environment that can directly harm humans). Increasing population and urbanization are making life difficult for our amphibians and reptiles (collectively called ‘herps’ by some). Fortunately, awareness about herps dramatically increased over the past decade due to improved education efforts, and, in particular from television programs starring folks like Jeff Corwin and Steve Irwin that brought the adventure of field herping to the family living room. Even with the upwelling of support, we know very little about the distributions of amphibians and reptiles. How can we monitor changes to amphibian and reptile populations and effectively protect them if we don’t even know where they are found?
What can I do to help? Please consider volunteering for PARS, we really need your help. People of all backgrounds and experience levels are encouraged to volunteer. Together, we can build and army of citizen scientists that can make a difference for the herps and the great state of Pennsylvania. Log on to www.paherpsurvey.org and sign-up to begin the fun. We can’t do this without you.
The PARS project is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (via the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grants program), with additional funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Wild Resources Conservation Program. Please support these wonderful state resource agency programs.