Nova Scotia Herpetofaunal Atlas
December 2000


NS Herp Atlas Data
NS Herp Atlas Website
Herp Week a Success!
New Supporter
Our Progress
Volume 3: Number 1
December 2000

The NS Herp Atlas Project has made terrific progress this past season.   Our volunteer base has doubled to about 100 active volunteers.  The number of records in the database has approximately tripled  during this past season (337 in 1999 and 1018 in 2000), and the coverage across the province has more than doubled (from 89 squares visited in 1999 to 245 currently visited).   This is the direct result of our volunteer’s effort and dedication to the project.  We are well on our way to attaining our data collection goals.


This past season the NS Herp Atlas Project website received its face-lift.  Many of the pages were revamped, they all received a new background and colour scheme, some acquired new images and some additional page were added to the site (Photo Gallery, Our Atlassers, and Current News and Updates). 

One of the most fantastic additions to the website has been a Photo Gallery.  This consists of a page indexing all the photos in the gallery, each of which have their own page.  There are over 100 photos in the gallery that have been submitted to me by atlassers.  This is a fantastic resource, particularly for identifying the juvenile stages of many amphibians.  Descriptions of juveniles are not well documented and there are few images of them on the web.


During the last week of August, we organized a province-wide herping week in order to increase both the active participation of volunteers, and the number of squares visited/completed across the province.  Despite giving the atlassers fairly short notice, Herp Week  was a smashing success.  We decided which pages would atlassed, and chose 3 non-adjacent squares on each page.  At least half a dozen atlassers participated and approximately 7 squares were atlassed that had never been visited before.  Also, the species tallies for atlassed squares increased on average by about 3 or 4 species, and in 1 case by 9 species!


On September 16, 2000, the NS Herp Atlas Project temporarily ran out of money, including a generous advance from the Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists against future grants.  The direct result of this was the lay-off of Sonja Teichert, our full-time project coordinator.  Since then, we have received a welcome donation of $1000 from Bowater Mersey Paper Company Limited, which we used to bring Sonja back full-time for a couple of weeks to work on the database, get out this newsletter and help with further fundraising.

Although the short-term absence of a full-time coordinator is not an ideal situation for the project, this temporary lack of funding in no way means that the project must come to an end or even be seriously compromised.  It does, however, mean that there will be some lag-time in our responses to your inquiries, and some tasks will take longer than usual to accomplish. Sonja has already generously volunteered a few hours every week while on layoff to come in and take care of essential project housekeeping tasks like entering mailed-in records and keeping in contact with atlassers.

We have recently received $5000  from the Shell Environment Fund to cover travel, training and other non-salary operating expenses next year, which means that any additional funds we raise can be dedicated  completely to salary.  We have funding applications in at Mountain Equipment Co-op. and Ducks Unlimited, and are drafting others as fast as we can get together the source information.  I am confident that we will get past this rough spot and regain at least a basic minimum funding level for the remainder of the project, but it is going to take time and a lot of work by the Steering Committee.

Fred W. Scott
Chair, Steering Committee


The NS Herp Atlas Project extends our thanks to the Bowater Mersey Paper Company Limited for their generous contribution.  They have agreed to review their financial support for the NS Herp Atlas Project on an annual basis, and have expressed a strong interest in providing the project with data from their operations in Southwestern Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia Herpetofaunal Atlas Project Newsletter 
Page 1

The map below shows the amount of coverage (the number of species recorded per mapbook square) as of Nov. 30, 2000.  Each circle represents data submitted for that square and the number in the circle gives the number of species recorded for that square.  Thus far 245 of the 650 atlassable squares (38%) have any species recorded. The graph below the map is a histogram which shows that many squares only have 1 or 2 species found in them, and very few squares have many species found in them. 


The Nova Scotia Herpetofaunal Atlas Project Newsletter 
Page 2

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