First Time at SEPARC 2024 Conference! 

Welcome to Southeastern Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Conference, in Nauvoo Alabama – a camp in the middle of the woods. 

During my Resource Assistants Program internship, I had the opportunity to attend the SEPARC conference for the first time. Four days of attending research presentations, joining task forces, and finding herps in the nearby area.

Many of the presentations had great information regarding specific species, and how their conservation needs to be prioritized. The task forces were used as a smaller group to discuss issues and methods for specific items. I attended the Hellbender and Invasive Species task forces and was invited to join Hellbender surveys in North Carolina.
I ended up becoming friends with the Western Carolina University students who were also attending and they showed me how to find and ethically handle and photograph salamanders, frogs, and lizards that we caught, right behind our cabins.

The biggest impacts on reptile and amphibian populations are habitat loss, over-collection, invasive species, and climate change. These creatures are impacted the most and face the most risk of being endangered. Most of the time these species are considered keystone species – a species that is able to help estimate the health of a whole ecosystem since their populations are so essential.

In the forests of North Carolina, 14 species of reptiles and amphibians are listed as species of conservation concern. The western part of the state is known as one of the salamander hot spots in North America due to not having much glacier activity in the past.
When looking for any herps, please keep in mind that they are not invincible.

  • Carefully replace anything you flip or move
  • Handle the critter with care and caution
  • Do not handle anything that you are not sure if it can harm you
  • Return any critter you handle unless you have proper collection permissions from the state
  • Report any diseases you notice on a critter
  • Clean your boots afterwards since diseases can also be spread
  • Have fun!
  • My biggest recommendation is leaving no trace wherever you go looking.
Southern Zigzag Salamander (plethodon ventralis)
Eastern Newt – aquatic adult (notophthalmus viridescen)
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