Next Meeting Feb 17

Danny Poet will be presenting a short program about the Eastern Blue Bird.

We will also have a special, bonus program about the Maryland Herpetology Atlas project presented by Scott Smith.

Photo by George Jett http://www.georgejett.net/?q=gallery&g2_itemId=876

Here is some information from the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas December 2010 Newsletter to give you an idea of the importance of this atlas work:

Ranking America's Biodiversity, Maryland ranks 26th in the country for reptile diversity. There are 51 reptile species in Maryland with the
majority being snakes. Unfortunately, the percentage of Maryland’s reptile species that are at risk of extinction earns the state a ranking of 13th, relative to the rest of the country, for the
percentage of native species at risk. It is never good when a state’s ranking for the percentage of species at risk is higher than its ranking for diversity!

The benefits of the Atlas project to Maryland’s reptiles is the same as the benefits to native amphibian species. To make informed decisions regarding the protection of Maryland’s reptile
species, an accurate assessment of the current distribution of those species is required. This is invaluable when prioritizing land for conservation purchases and making land management
decisions. Furthermore, the results of the project will yield a baseline to which future changes in reptile distributions can be assessed.

Additionally, the Atlas project provides an excellent opportunity to raise public awareness of the plight of reptile species, both at home and globally. There are many horrible
misconceptions about reptiles. Anyone ever heard the saying “The only good snake is a dead snake”? Through the MARA project we have an opportunity to address and correct those
misconceptions. This is a chance to introduce people to these unique and amazing species and inform Maryland citizens about the ecological importance of reptiles.

I hope you all can come to hear more about this important work!

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