On September 16, 2017 wildlife professionals and students from across Iowa gathered at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in south east Iowa for the Iowa Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s annual Fall Workshop. “Herps” (herpetofauna) were the topic of discussion throughout the day, as attendees explored river bottom habitats and got some hands-on experience with Iowa’s reptile and amphibians.
Paul Frese of the Iowa DNR started things off with a reptile and amphibian ID workshop at the USFWS visitor center at Port Louisa NWR. Don Becker with the “iowaherps.com” herpmapping project presented information about the prairie and oak savanna restoration work he’s done to improve habitat for ornate box turtles on County Conservation owned land in Linn County. Don is also a project administrator for the online database HerpMapper and led a presentation about this citizen science effort to photo document planet-wide occurrences of reptile and amphibian species.
After lunch Jessica Bolser, Wildlife Biologist with the USFWS, led a tour of the wildlife refuge to highlight their management practices for reptiles and amphibians. Several species were caught and released by the group, including Fowler’s toads (found only in the south east part of Iowa), American toads, southern leopard frogs, and painted turtles.
This article originally appeared in the Iowa Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s Winter 2017 newsletter.