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Lizards & Snakes


Lizards & Snakes


Cortland Herpetology Connection

About the Cortland Herpetology Connection

Here's how CHC can help your class get involved in the survey of New York reptiles and amphibians.

The Cortland Herpetology Connection (CHC) is a program of SUNY Cortland's Biology Department designed to encourage high school students around the state to participate in the study and conservation of amphibians and reptiles.

The CHC helps provide high school students with meaningful, hands-on field biology experience as volunteers for the New York Amphibian and Reptile Atlas. The project is directed by Dr. Peter Ducey, with Kim Sweeney (also at SUNY Cortland) as project coordinator, in collaboration with Al Breisch of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Craig Cramer is webmaster and media consultant. Support comes from the New York State Great Lakes Protection Fund, which has a special interest in watersheds that drain into Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. A grant to Matt Chapman and Ducey from the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles helped CHC get off the ground in '97.

The project seeks individual students or whole biology classes to survey the amphibian and reptile populations in their area and report what species they locate. These records will be added to the growing database developed from work by other students, volunteers, and professional biologists. The information will be important for conservation efforts and management decisions around the state.

Here's how CHC can help you get started:

Educational materials.

Participating classes will receive educational packages, including:
  • Books about amphibians and reptiles.
  • Tape for identifying frog calls.
  • Information about the species in their area.
  • Survey technique suggestions.
  • Information about endangered species and conservation issues.
  • Directions for reporting results for the NYS DEC Atlas.

Some classes may also receive a presentation about amphibian and reptile biology and conservation in New York. We are also planning events when high school teachers and some of their interested students can visit SUNY Cortland for presentations about the conservation and biology of amphibians and reptiles.

Museum exhibit.

We have created a museum exhibit about amphibians and reptiles and the NYS Atlas that is on display in the Bowers Science Museum at SUNY Cortland. The display features photographs and descriptions of many New York species, and explains the project. The exhibit is designed to stimulate interest in herpetofaunal conservation in students at SUNY Cortland, many of whom go on to become biology teachers. We hope that other Cortland students, whether majoring in biology or other fields, will also be encouraged to either participate or to contact their former high school teachers.

CHC Website.

In addition to the identification keys, photos, links and other information that you'll find here, we plan to expand this website to also include:

  • Tips about how to survey for these animals.
  • A discussion list where classes can post messages about their accomplishments, communicate with other classes and ask questions of professional herpetologists.
  • Maps showing the location of participating high school classes and summaries of their survey information.
  • Detailed information about the New York State Amphibian and Reptile Atlas.

Want to know more?

If you or your class would like to know more about how to participate, contact:

Dr. Peter Ducey
356 Bowers Hall
SUNY Cortland
Cortland, NY 13045
Phone: 607-753-2900


Dr. Peter Ducey, Project Director
Biology Department, SUNY Cortland
Email: duceyp@cortland.edu
Craig Cramer, Webmaster
Email: cdcramer@clarityconnect.com

Special thanks to all those who generously loaned images and other help. See our credits page for more information.