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Spring 2014


Pennsylvania Reptile and Amphibian Survey (PARS)



Instructors:  Richard Koval and Dr. Jerry Skinner; phone: 570-945-8404;


Required Text: Hulse, Arthur C., C. J. McCoy, and E. Censky. 2001. Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. Comstock Publishing Associates of Cornell University Press. Ithaca, NY. 419 pp.  ISBN-10: 0801437687


Class Meetings: Fridays 2-5 in Capwell Science Hall, 202; Keystone College grounds and trips outside campus will take place at arranged times.



1. Students will learn how to correctly identify reptiles and amphibians by characteristic field markings and use of dichotomous keys

2. Students will be able to determine habitat/species correlations

3. Students will be a contributing participant of PARS

4. Students will learn how to collect, compile and enter field observations into the PARS data base.






Assignment for next week

21- Mar

Course review, PowerPoint, PARS tutorial, PARS participant registration

Develop a list of the species to be expected in this area.  You may select Lackawanna, Wyoming, Susquehanna, Luzerne, Wayne, or your home county.


Reptile and amphibian surveys / data entry

First species account due: Salamander


Reptile and amphibian surveys / data entry

Second species account due:  Frog or toad


Reptile and amphibian surveys / data entry

Third species account due: Snake, lizard or turtle.


Reptile and amphibian surveys / data entry

Final Exam review


Final Exam




FIELD TRIPS: Come prepared to be outside for the entire class. Dress accordingly for cold weather and aquatic conditions. Field trips will include visits to wetlands, ponds, lakes, vernal pools, streams, fields and roadsides.


COURSE FORMAT: The PA Reptile and Amphibian Survey is an important state-sponsored atlas project launched in 2013. The survey will determine the distribution and status of all amphibians and reptiles throughout Pennsylvania, building upon previous atlas efforts and combining modern technology. 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), and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Wildlife Resources Conservation Program.) Students will make field visits in search of reptiles and amphibians and collect data which will be entered in to the PA Reptile and Amphibian Survey.


The field exercises will be fun, exciting, educational and important.  Students will visit various habitats- both wetlands and uplands in search of reptiles and amphibians. Student will learn how to identify each species and how to collected data that will be entered into the PA Reptile and Amphibian Survey data base. There might be times when we will spend more than 3 hours at a location, so bring snacks and water. We will be conducting field trips a variety of habitats so embrace for wind, rain and cold weather and dress according for these conditions.


EVALUATION:  Students will be graded on participation, ethics, work assignments, identification methodologies and data entry.


Assignments (species list @10; 3 species accounts @ 10


Data collecting (need  to enter 25 field observation to PARS)


Written Exam


Instructor's subjective evaluation





Other Recommended Resources:

Elliott, Lang. The Calls of Frogs and Toads. Naturesound Studios. NorthWord Press, Inc. Audio CD or cassette tape.


Kenney, L. P. and M. R. Burne. A Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools. MA. Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program. Westborough, MA. 77 pp.


Shaffer, Larry. 1991. Pennsylvania Amphibians & Reptiles. Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. Harrisburg, PA. 161 pp.



Center for North American Herpetology


The Fine Print:

Keystone College does not discriminate in any of its programs on the basis of disability. While there is not a deadline for the disclosure of a disability by a student, in order to facilitate the documentation and accommodation processes, students are encouraged to voluntarily and confidentially disclose and disability requiring an accommodation prior to the beginning of class. This disclosure should be made to Owen Conaghan, , College Counselor & Coordinator of Disability Services. Students who disclose a disability, and who are seeking an accommodation, ultimately will be expected to provide documentation verifying the disability.

Academic Honesty – Division of Natural Science and Mathematics
All students are subject to the College's policy and procedure on academic dishonesty; see the current Keystone College catalog.
The Natural Science and Mathematics Division recognizes that any form or degree of academic dishonesty challenges the principles of truth and honesty which are among the most important founding principles of science and mathematics discovery. Keystone College treats academic dishonesty as a serious violation of academic trust. It penalizes all students found to have engaged in such behavior. Academic honesty within the College and the Natural Science and Mathematics Division must be a cooperative enterprise of faculty, students and administrators. Acts of academic dishonesty include but are not limited to the following:

1.        The illegitimate use of study materials or electronic devices in any form during a quiz or examination.

2.        Copying answers from the quiz or examination paper of another student.

3.        Plagiarizing or falsifying materials or information used in the completion of any assignment which is graded or evaluated as the student's individual effort. Plagiarism includes submitting as one's own the ideas or work of another, including the laboratory data, written materials or the computer files of another, regardless of whether that information is used verbatim or in paraphrased form. The same applies to anything derived from the Internet, including research papers purchased online.

4.        Obtaining, through theft, bribery, or collusion, or otherwise improperly securing an examination paper prior to the time and date for the administration of the examination. Also, use of an examination paper previously administered (e.g., during an earlier term) without the consent of the instructor who authored the examination.

5.        Impersonating a candidate at an examination or availing oneself of such an impersonation in any traditional or online class.

6.        Intentionally interfering with any person's scholastic work, for example, by damaging or stealing laboratory experiments, computer data files or library materials.

7.        It is presumed that material submitted by a student for an assignment is original to that assignment and, therefore, submitting the same work for more than one course without the consent of the instructors of each course in which the work is submitted is considered dishonest. Submission of previously graded work from prior assignments is considered dishonest.

8.        Aiding or abetting any act of academic dishonesty including but not limited to such offenses as described above.

Any student caught cheating, or using someone’s work as their own, will be reported to the Academic Dean of the College. A grade of zero will be recorded for that assignment/test/quiz. For more information on dishonest acts including plagiarism, cheating, and fraud, consult your Student Information Guide.

Keystone College states that all official student email correspondence be sent only to a student’s Keystone email address and that faculty and staff consider email from students official only if it originates from a Keystone account. This allows the College to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individuals and the security of transmitted information. Keystone College furnishes each student with a free email account that is to be used in all communication with College personnel

The College has set deadlines for withdrawing from courses. These dates and times are published in the course catalog and on the Academic Calendar. It is the student's responsibility to handle withdrawal requirements from any class. The proper paperwork must be completed to ensure that you will not receive a final grade of "F" in a course if you choose not to attend once you are enrolled. If you are considering withdrawing from a class, consult your Advisor and refer to the College Catalog.

An “I” (Incomplete) will only be given under extenuating circumstances. It will not be given to students who simply fail to do the work or miss an exam. If an “I” is given, students must complete the work within four weeks into the following semester, or receive a grade of “F” for the course.

Keystone College offers tutoring assistance for many of its courses. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, consult the Tutoring webpage.