Nova Scotia Herpetofaunal Atlas
June 2001


Project Funding
Media Coverage
Workshops and Talks
Targeted Squares
Progress and Outlook for the Project
Your Records
New Member and Partner
Nova Scotia Mapbook
2001 Events Calendar
Identification Tips
Volume 4: Number 1
June 2001
During the past winter the NS Herp Atlas Project Steering Committee worked hard to raise enough money to fund my position as coordinator for another season.  It has been an excellent spring for me so far, and I really look forward to the rest of the season.  Our most significant funding has come from the  Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk.  We also received funding from the Environment Funds of  Shell Canada Limited and Mountain Equipment Co-op.  Currently we’re working to build a partnership with Ducks Unlimited;  for their annual financial support, we will get our atlassers to visit as many DU wetlands as they can.  We will keep you posted on our progress.                              Sonja Teichert

Already this season the NS Herp Atlas Project has received a lot of media coverage from which there has been a great response;  we have sent out close to 30 information packages to individuals interested in participating in the project.  These people either heard the CBC radio interview (Mon., June 4th) of our committee member Sherman Boates (NS DNR), or read the  newspaper article in the Sun., June 10th edition of the Halifax Daily News.  Recently, a local Cape Breton newspaper, the Victoria Standard, included an article about the project in their June 25th issue.  As well, we’ve provided columnist Don Cameron with material.  He sends his weekly columns to all the daily and most of the weekly newspapers.  He says that some use his column regularly, and others use it depending on how much space they have and on the subject matter.  Hopefully many Nova Scotia newspapers will run his column and it will generate a lot of new interest in the project.



Thanks to the Shell Environmental Fund, this season the NS Herp Atlas Project has an expense account that provides the means for the coordinator (Sonja Teichert) and committee chair (Fred Scott) to conduct training workshops and educational talks.  It has been a busy year already;  Sonja gave a talk for the Cobequid Naturalists Club in Truro on May 4th, Fred and Sonja conducted a workshop in Cape Breton Highlands National Park (CBHNP) on May 26th and 27th, Sonja gave a talk to and went for a field walk with the Eastern Mainland Field Naturalist’s in Antigonish on June 8th and 9th, and she also gave a talk to a group in Barrington on June 15th.

Truro:  The talk was held at the Colchester Historical Museum with a crowd of about 25 people.  Two new atlassers registered with the project.  Thanks are extended to Jeff Ogden for inviting us and for his work advertising the event.

CBHNP:  The workshop was held at the Ingonish headquarters and was attended by 13 people, including 5 Parks Canada staff.  The park is now undertaking its own more intensive monitoring program in conjunction with the NS Herp Atlas Project.  With the wardens and the nature interpreters participating, the park aims to complete all 18 squares in the park by the end of the herp atlas project, and will provide us with all of the data that they collect.  They will also work to raise awareness and help to increase participation by members of the public.  Thanks are extended to James Bridgland (park ecologist) for use of the park’s facilities and to Sheldon Lambert (park warden) for all his help during the workshop.  Thanks to Sheryl Ross (park warden) for organizing the park monitoring program that is currently underway.

Antigonish:  The talk was given at Saint Frances Xavier University to about 20 people.  The next day we went for a field walk to a human-made fire pond near Crystal Cliffs.  The turnout was fantastic;  there were over 15 adults and close to 10 youths.  There were numerous Green Frogs and salamander egg masses in the pond.  In the surrounding field and forest participants found a juvenile Maritime Garter Snake, and a juvenile Wood Frog and Eastern American Toad.  Although no adults were present, we observed eggs of the Eastern Redback Salamander in the folds of a rotten log.  Back at the parking lot we also found a Northern Leopard Frog.  We extend our thanks to Ernie MacLaughlin for inviting us and for his work advertising the event, Carol and Larry Lamey for being our gracious hosts for the evening, and to Mark Pulsifer and Randy Lauff for their help with the field walk.

Barrington:  The talk was given at the library and was attended by 11 people.  Many were youths and caught on quickly to the differences between species (especially the frog calls).  We thank Grant Milroy for inviting us and for his work advertising the event.


The Nova Scotia Herpetofaunal Atlas Project Newsletter 
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The map below shows the squares in the province that we have decided to target.  We chose these squares based on a number of criteria and our objective was to end up with the most even distribution of designated squares.  If for any reason, it proves impossible to finish one of the targeted squares, others can be selected.

(Click the image to enlarge)
The Nova Scotia Herpetofaunal Atlas Project Newsletter 
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The map and tables below summarize our progress as of June 28, 2001.  Each circle in the map gives the number of species recorded for that square.  Unfortunately, our mapping program has a bug that miscalculated the number of species observed for some squares.  Corrections for some of the squares with higher species numbers include:  09C2=10, 09C3=14, 14E1=10, 15A4=9, 15C4=11, 22A3=14, 23B2=14, 23D2=11, 24A4=10, 34D2=9.   We will rectify this as soon as we can.  Until then, on the website, be sure to use the table information to count the species for squares that may be of particular interest to you.   Most of the tables below are the same as those from the previous newsletters (please compare!), but there are a couple of new tables (*).  The table just below shows the number of records actually atlassed and the person hours put into atlassing for each month 
of each season so far.  Notice that this past June atlassers spent a record number of 109 hours out herping!




The Nova Scotia Herpetofaunal Atlas Project Newsletter 
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Already this season it appears that we might double the number of records that were submitted last year (see tables on page 3). 
In making these records part of a reliable database, it is essential to screen entries and sightings for errors or missing information.  If possible, to prevent a backlog of records that I’ll need to screen and/or input, please either send me your sightings right away or in small chunks throughout the season.  By doing so, you’ll be helping to keep the database as current as possible.  This not only helps for reporting our progress to 
you through the newsletters, it also helps individuals who are keeping track of the project using the search capabilities on the website.  Ideally, we want the searchable online database to be a tool that will allow atlassers to determine what areas need to 
be visited and what species still need to be found in certain squares.  The more current this data is, the more useful the website becomes as a tool.  If you can, I’d really appreciate it if you could send me or enter (online) your records as soon as possible.

Thanks in advance,                 Sonja Teichert

At the start of this season, we invited the Parks Canada Coordinator for the Species 
at Risk Program, Kim Mawhinney, to join the committee overseeing the NS Herp Atlas Project.  She accepted, and has been instrumental in our fund raising activities and very helpful with organizing the workshops.  Welcome aboard!

 The NS mapbook “A Map of the Province of Nova Scotia” has been replaced by a fifth edition called “An Atlas of Nova Scotia” which will be available July of this year.  Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations has decided to allow us to scan the 46 maps and put them on the NS Herp Atlas Project website.  We will do this as soon as possible.

We have filled the season with events to train our volunteers and increase the public’s awareness about herps and this project.  If you would like to participate in a workshop but are unable to attend, please contact the coordinator and we’ll try to schedule a talk to your area.
Workshop Dates and Locations:
  •  July 14th and 15th 

  •        NS Museum of Natural 
           History, Halifax
  •  July 28th and 29th 

  •        NS Geomatics, Amherst
  •  August 4th and 5th 

  •        Holmstead Restaurant, 
           Granville Ferry
  •  August 25th and 26th 

  •        Desbrisay Museum, 
    Agenda for All Workshops:

    10:00 am:  meet at designated location
    - project :  what, when, who, why
    - project goals and coverage goals
    - species
    - visit the website

    12:00 pm:  Lunch (provided)
    1:00 pm:  Field Trip
    9:00 pm:  Field Trip (after dark)

    9:00am:  Field Trip

    Distinguishing Green Frogs from 
    Mink Frogs in the hand

    Recently transformed juveniles of these two frogs can be confusing because they don’t always have the same colours and markings as the adults.  However, according to John Gilhen there are two characters that are reliable for both juveniles and adults if you have the frog in your hand, or can get close enough to clearly see the webbing on the hind feet:

    First, bring the frog up close to your nose and smell it.  Mink Frogs, when handled, release a distinctive skunky odour as a defense mechanism.  If you smell this odour, you definitely have a Mink Frog.  If you have a cold or sinus problems this might not help, so the second thing to do is check the hind foot webbing.  In Green Frogs the 2nd and 3rd toes (counting from the left in the diagram) are unwebbed for about the last fourth of their length; in Mink Frogs these two toes are webbed right to their tips. 
    Also, in Green Frogs the 3rd toe is a little longer than the 1st, while in Mink Frogs it is much shorter than the 1st.                                                                                                                   written and illustrated by Fred Scott


    If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments about the NS Herp Atlas Project please be in touch with us. 

    The Nova Scotia Herpetofaunal Atlas Project Newsletter 
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