The Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey (PARS) is an important state-sponsored atlas project launching in 2013. PARS will determine the distribution and status of all amphibians and reptiles throughout Pennsylvania, building upon previous atlas efforts and combining modern technology with an army of citizen scientists known as “herpers” (herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles, and herps is slang for amphibians and reptiles). The project is a joint venture between the PA Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) and the Mid-Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation (MACHAC), funded by the PFBC (via the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grants Program), the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Wildlife Resources Conservation Program), and MACHAC.
Amphibians and reptiles (collectively called herps by some) are important animals found in just about every Pennsylvania landscape. Very little information about Pennsylvania’s herps has been collected through the years when compared to other groups of organisms. This is unfortunate as herps are important indicators of the health of our natural places and the very presence of certain species can tell us much about an area.