Report from the third World Congress of Herpetology
August 2-10, 1997

    At this year's assembly in Prague, in the Czech Republic, there were over 750 presentations on topics ranging from "Mating calls of amphibians in Armenia" to "...Extra-pair fertilization in the Australian Sleepy Lizard..." to "Declining amphibian populations in Canada." The congress lasted eight days and brought together 1200 participants from over 50 countries.

    During a poster session, in which I was presenting the results of "A Thousand Friends of Frogs" 1996 Survey, I found that the positive response to environmental education (EE) was enormous. Miklos Puky from Hungary came to the same conclusion and organized a meeting of education enthusiasts among the conference attendees. Seven of us agreed to speak on our projects at a roundtable discussion that was attended by 40 people from 20 countries. As you can imagine, I was very excited to encounter so many like-minded people!

    During our time together, we discussed the utility of herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) in stimulating interest about the environment. Some of us expressed concerns about the role of citizen monitoring while others shared strategies for promoting conservation among landowners. We concluded by forming the International Committee on Environmental Education with Amphibians and Reptiles. The purposes of this committee will be to identify people interested in herpetology and EE, and to share ideas for teaching the public about herpetofauna and conservation. The committee will have a web page directly connected to the pages of the Center for Global Environmental Education at Hamline University and A Thousand Friends of Frogs.

    In conclusion, I have to say that attending this conference was a wonderful experience for me in many ways. I learned so much about amphibians and reptiles and the current research on these animals; but perhaps more importantly, I met some very impressive people from all over the globe, and I hope to be able to work with many of them on environmental education projects in the future. And yes, Prague is gorgeous!

For further information visit the conference web site at






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