Students interested in exploring and learning about reptiles and amphibians can do so by joining the Arkansas Tech Herpetology Society.
The Herpetology Society is an organization that goes out on expeditions to find and research various reptiles and amphibians in the wild. The goal of the expedition is to find any species they can in order to document and learn more about the animal. The information collected on each expedition is then entered into a global database, called iNaturalist, as well as GPS data which allow scientists, students or citizens to use that data for themselves in order to better understand the animals.
Most expeditions for the society usually take place at Bona Dea Trail. “We generally walk along the trail until we see a herp in the water or adjacent to the trail,” said Dr. Chris Kellner, professor of wildlife science. The society likes the trail because it is close to campus, and is also home to a variety of different animals to study. “We have seen several species of snakes and lizards at Bona Dea during previous trips. Garter snakes and ribbon snakes are common, but we have also seen speckled king snakes, ring-necked snakes and worm snakes,” said Kellner.
The Herpetology Society started in 2012 and is open to any student regardless of their major. The society says they welcome participants from across campus. “What I enjoy most about the Herp Society is that it brings together people from a variety of majors, like marine biology to cyber security, to go out, have fun and catch some reptiles and amphibians,” said Garrett Lawson, president of the Herpetology Society. “Getting involved with us is a great way to explore some beautiful natural areas and hopefully learn a few things about some really cool animals.”
The Herpetology Society meets every other Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in McEver Room 128 and tries to go out on expeditions every meeting.