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LAKE ARIEL, PA — On May 8, there was a reptile and amphibian workshop and survey at Lacawac Sanctuary in Wayne County. Led by Larry Laubach, Northeast Regional Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey (PARS), it started in the morning and went into the early afternoon. There was a good crowd, from kids to older adults. The many hands enabled us to find close to a dozen species. There was a little rain in the afternoon, but that did not dampen spirits; the biggest challenge in the hike back was to avoid stepping on one of the many red efts that graced the trail.
PARS is a state-sponsored atlas project that was launched in 2013. The goal of this project is to determine the status and distribution of all amphibians and reptiles throughout the state. It relies largely on citizen scientists to survey areas and collect voucher photos or sound clips of reptile and amphibian species. As of today, there are over 1,500 contributors to this project.
Being a herpetologist is not a requirement to participate in PARS data gathering; there are many beginners, and many people to assist. This workshop was aimed toward beginners, so that they could get the maximum benefit from their experience during the survey. The PARS website features on-line registration, as well as identification guides, mapping tools and other helpful hints, plus real-time status of what has been seen throughout the state.