2017 VHS Survey Schedule


Big Woods 1 | Big Woods 2 | Mole Hill | Spring Survey


** VHS MEMBERS ONLY **

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VHS Conservation Committee Surveys
 Big Woods Wildlife Management Area/State Forest - Part 1
Sussex County, Virginia
Sunday April 23rd - 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

VHS is planning to survey Big Woods WMA/State Forest, which is comprised of more 6,000 acres (including the Parker's Branch Tract) and is located in Sussex County, VA. Due to the large amount of acreage to be surveyed, two dates have been selected to complete the survey, Sunday April 23 and Sunday May 7. The Sunday dates are necessary to avoid any conflicts with the spring turkey hunting season (Monday-Saturday).

Big Woods is a remote area, encompassing pine forest and several wetland habitats including creeks, swamps and beaver ponds.  It is of special interest to the Conservation Committee as 16 herp species, with Tier I-Tier IV conservation status are within the potential range of Big Woods. Carpenter Frogs, Rainbow Snakes and Spotted Turtles may be present.

Survey participation is limited to 2017 VHS members and their one invited guest and pre-register is a requirement (name, cell phone #, email address, emergency contact). Participants can opt to pre-register for and attend on either or both dates.

Facilities are limited.  All participants should pack a lunch and bring plenty of bottled water. It is recommended that water repellant and snake bite protection footwear be worn as many wetland areas will be encountered and copperheads and cottonmouths may be present.  Please also be prepared for a woodland environment, chiggers, mosquitoes and ticks.(Oh my!)

Big Woods is located 6-8 miles south of Waverly, VA and can be accessed from Beaver Dam Road (Route 606) by turning left on Presson Path. Route 606 intersects US 460 in Waverly.

The VHS coordinator for these surveys is Dave Perry.



                        

** VHS MEMBERS ONLY **

(become a VHS Member)

VHS Conservation Committee Surveys
 Big Woods Wildlife Management Area/State Forest - Part 2
Sussex County, Virginia
Sunday May 7th - 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

VHS is planning to survey Big Woods WMA/State Forest, which is comprised of more 6,000 acres (including the Parker's Branch Tract) and is located in Sussex County, VA. Due to the large amount of acreage to be surveyed, two dates have been selected to complete the survey, Sunday April 23 and Sunday May 7. The Sunday dates are necessary to avoid any conflicts with the spring turkey hunting season (Monday-Saturday).

Big Woods is a remote area, encompassing pine forest and several wetland habitats including creeks, swamps and beaver ponds.  It is of special interest to the Conservation Committee as 16 herp species, with Tier I-Tier IV conservation status are within the potential range of Big Woods. Carpenter Frogs, Rainbow Snakes and Spotted Turtles may be present.

Survey participation is limited to 2017 VHS members and their one invited guest and pre-register is a requirement (name, cell phone #, email address, emergency contact). Participants can opt to pre-register for and attend on either or both dates.

Facilities are limited.  All participants should pack a lunch and bring plenty of bottled water. It is recommended that water repellant and snake bite protection footwear be worn as many wetland areas will be encountered and copperheads and cottonmouths may be present.  Please also be prepared for a woodland environment, chiggers, mosquitoes and ticks.

Big Woods is located 6-8 miles south of Waverly, VA and can be accessed from Beaver Dam Road (Route 606) by turning left on Presson Path. Route 606 intersects US 460 in Waverly.

The VHS coordinator for these surveys is Dave Perry.




** VHS MEMBERS ONLY **

(become a VHS Member)

VHS - Mole Hill Survey
Sunday May 14 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Mole Hill – Rockingham Co., VA

VHS will be leading a survey at Mole Hill in Rockingham Co. Being only 150 feet tall, Mole Hill may not seem that impressive, but it's what lies beneath the surface that counts. Mole Hill is an extinct volcano, not to worry, it hasn't erupted in over 48 million years. Geologists at James Madison University study the unique geology at this 46 acre site. Mole Hill is made up of a type of rock called basalt, which forms due to cooling magma. Although basalt isn't unique, it is to Virginia. These type of rocks can also be found in the nearby Shenandoah Mountains and Blue Ridge, which is also home to endemic salamanders. While it is not thought there is a new species up here, some of the local salamanders may have adapted to live in this environment.

Rockingham Co. has 55 species of herpetofauna that's been documented, so there is plenty to see.

** Rattlesnakes and Copperheads are also expected so be aware. **

We will meet at the entrance gate at 9:00AM with the survey beginning at 9:30AM. Before the survey we will talk about emerging diseases and the importance of disinfecting field gear. There is not an address for Mole Hill, but the coordinates to the entrance gate are here: https://goo.gl/maps/TCT8MwNUwC42

Restroom facilities may not be available. Participants should also bring snacks, water, and lunch. Sturdy footwear should be worn.  Please also be prepared for a woodland environment, mosquitoes and ticks.

Mole Hill is private property and requires a release of Release of Liability to be signed by each participant before we can start the survey. To save time please download, complete and bring the Release of Liability form with you to the survey.

Note: Sunday, May 14th is Mother's Day, so bring mom along!

This survey is open to active 2017 VHS members only, participants can site up through this link: https://goo.gl/forms/yNi2sLKdOUHulcYA3

The VHS coordinator for this survey is Matt Neff, vicepresident@vaherpsociety.com;
All questions can be directed towards him.

Mole Hill is owned by the owners of Mole Hill Bikes: http://molehillbikes.com




VHS Spring Survey Announcement 2017
May 19th - 21st
Newport News Park

This year the Virginia Herpetological Society will hold it annual spring survey meeting and survey in conjunction with Bioblitz at Newport News Park in southeastern Virginia on May 19th - 21st, 2017.

We will have nearly 7,000 acres of forested land spread out among two reservoirs to search for and document amphibians and reptiles. Some areas have unique vernal pools formed from sinkholes and are part of the Grafton Ponds Natural Area Preserve.

The VHS has particular goals for this survey. The state threatened Barking Treefrog has many historical observations in the area, but none in the last decade or more.

The state threatened Mabee's Salamander is relatively abundant within the Grafton Ponds complex. It is important to document if the VHS finds Mabee's in a unique habitat or has expanded their range.

Copperheads were first observed at Newport News Park in 2016, even after decades of documenting other herps. There is reason to believe the copperheads are breeding, so determining just how abundant they are would be helpful to park management.

If you are interested in attending this event please register here https://goo.gl/forms/l8aFBJkGyRWDj7bz2

Information on onsite camping, off-site lodging, and meeting times and locations can be found below.

If you have questions or concerns please contact:

Kory Steele, the past president of the VHS, and an organizer of the Newport News BioBlitz past-president@vaherpsociety.com
The VHS coordinator for this survey is Jason Gibson frogman31@gmail.com

Schedule

  • Friday May 19th - The spring business meeting will be held at 6:00 pm in the Campground Education Building at Newport News Park. Thismap shows directions to this site. Immediately following the business meeting (approximately 7pm) we will discuss survey sites and what animals we might expect to find. Team leaders will meet and discuss safety concerns and how to fill properly record all amphibian and reptile observations.
  • Saturday May 20th - For our first day of the survey we will meet at 8:00 at Picnic Shelters 19 and 20. This map shows directions to this site. Before anyone surveys they must have all gear and boots disinfected. After a brief introduction to the park and everyone has been disinfected and signed waiver forms, participants will be broken into survey teams. A night survey will be held at 8:00 p.m to look for nocturnal herps and document any calling frogs. We will meet at Picnic Shelters 19 and 20 to conduct this night survey.
  • Sunday May 21st - We will meet again at 8:00 on Sunday morning at Picnic Shelters 19 and 20 for the second day of our survey. This survey will extend until 1 pm because it is part of the Bioblitz data.

Lodging

On-Site

Newport News Campground is 5 minutes away from BioBlitz Basecamp! The campground entrance is a very short drive down Jefferson Avenue from the park's main entrance. We have reserved 15 campsites close to each other, the back half of Loop C, sites C75-C90, for VHS members. Campsite Map here, bottom left: http://www.nnparks.com/nnparkmap.pdf

These Loop C sites are nice because they're a bit further in, so less traffic going by. It is easy walking distance to restrooms, near a nice playground, and all these sites have electricity & water. The entrance to the 5-mile loop mountain bike trail is also close by (trail is wide and easy, not technical, some hills, mostly packed soil although some spots feature pea gravel or sand).

These sites will be $36 per night. (That includes the tax) You must pay for one night in advance by Visa or Mastercard when you call to make your reservation. You may cancel up to 2 days in advance and still receive a full refund. Maximum 5 people per site. If you bring an RV, you may also have a tent on site. More info here: http://www.nnparks.com/parks_nn.php

Campers who want a reserved site must call before the end of March to make their reservation. Tell them your site is reserved by the Virginia Herpetological Society.

Call: (757) 888-3333 • 1-800-203-8322

Off-site Lodging

Other campgrounds are within 25 minutes of the park, including:

Nearby hotels:

  • Comfort Inn Newport News/Williamsburg East
  • Comfort Suites Newport News Airport (walk to Olive Garden & Red Lobster; across busy street from Chili's, Panera, Starbucks, Smokey Bones, Moe's, Longhorn Steakhouse, Honeybaked Ham, Pho 79. Tropical Smoothie, Trader Joe, Aldi, and other shops)
  • Extended Stay America Newport News I-64 Jefferson Avenue (Very close to Carrabba's, Fuddrucker's, Cracker Barrel. Close to Subway, The Melting Pot, Japan Samurai, Patrick Henry Mall, Starbucks, Target, Applebee's, Cheddar's, Noodles & Co., Outback Steakhouse, Whole Foods, PF Chang's, Mellow Mushroom pizza, FirstWatch breakfast & lunch, Zoe's Kitchen)
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Newport News (Oyster Point) (Walk to Applebee's, The Melting Pot, Japan Samurai, Subway. Close to Carrabba's, Fuddrucker's, Cracker Barrel. Close to Patrick Henry Mall, Starbucks, Target, Cheddar's, Noodles & Co., Outback Steakhouse, Whole Foods, PF Chang's, Mellow Mushroom pizza, FirstWatch breakfast & lunch, Zoe's Kitchen)


12th Annual HerpBlitz Announcement

The 12th annual HerpBlitz will be held at Hidden Valley Wildlife Management Area (https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wma/hidden-valley/) in Washington County on Saturday June 10th and Sunday June 11th. This wildlife management area is comprised of more than 6,400 acres and hosts a large high mountain lake, forested mountain ridges, and many mountain streams. Hidden Valley Wildlife Management area is remote and rugged so all herpers with an adventurous spirit are welcome to attend. All coordination of this survey will be done through Jason Gibson (frogman31@gmail.com). If you are interested in attending this survey please contact Jason and he will give all up-to-date details about where and when to meet on Saturday and Sunday.

FROGS

Virginia is home to 28 species of frogs and toads.

SALAMANDERS

We have a large diversity of salamanders consisting of 56 different species and subspecies.

LIZARDS

Virginia is home to 9 native lizard species and two introduced species, the Mediterranean Gecko and the Italian Wall Lizard.

SNAKES

The Commonwealth is home to 34 species and subspecies of snake. Only 3 species are venomous.

TURTLES

Virginia has 25 species and subspecies of turtle. Five of these species are sea turtle.

BOX TURTLE REPORTING

SPADEFOOT REPORTING

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