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A different herp conference


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DD and I have been PARC (Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation) members for several years, but this is the first time we have gone to a PARC-only conference. When they did a national one with SSAR, we went to that, and did some of their programming, but the schedule never worked until now, when the SE regional ended up in Little Rock (which is a real stretch to call SE...).


Anyway, PARC is a little different in that their goal is to involve ALL partners in conservation. That means herpetologists and ecologists, but also environmental non-profits, government agencies, and environmental educators.


So, today's keynote was on a 21 year study of Alligator snappers, followed by a symposium on education and herp outreach, mostly in schools or summer programs, followed by research on using eDNA to track species population and herpetofauna of Arkansas. It's been kind of a mixed bag. In the afternoon, we had several sessions on government partnerships that can be useful (like USDA NRCS, which is designed to help farmers avoid restrictions by encouraging practices that keep animals off the endangered species list, via financial incentives).


More science talks and then a discussion/working group on education and outreach, which was really why we are here.


We also went for a hike mid-afternoon, since the conference is at a summer camp, and DD found a cute little ribbon snake, who doesn't seem to realize that he's about a month early.


It took DD a little while to relax. She knows a few people here, but not the way she does at the other conferences. But now she's in her element. Actually, she's at the evening social (with dad-a definite benefit of him coming along to do some hiking) while I collapse.


Tomorrow, another day of science and advocacy and ideas on outreach.

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Today, lots more science talks and a workshop on herpetology education and outreach, which was really cool. It's also kind of neat to see DD accepted as a science educator. We have a break this afternoon, more social/networking, and then field trips tomorrow. Probably for salamanders-it's prime spawning season.

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Today we went out into a WMA with a group from UGA and Univ. of AR. DD found a nice marbled salamander, quite a few fence lizards and skinks, and a ton of cricket frogs.


There's apparently an ecology camp done by the AR Audubon society that one of the people with us is the herpetologist for-he suggested DD might like it (and since it's not just herpetology, she would likely still have something to learn). Not sure if we can fit it into our already pretty busy schedule. Especially since it's a 5 hour drive, making dropping her off and picking her up less than convenient.

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