NNWB Volunteers help survey its Amphibians and Reptiles for MARA
(Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas)

The state of Maryland is systematically searching for its reptiles and amphibians and documenting their presence. In a small section of Maryland along the NW Branch volunteers Glenn Welch, Charlie Dorian, and Gretchen Schwartz are searching. Glenn, a board member of NNWB, is a biology major who, though he enjoys flipping rocks for the Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA), works in a research lab at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Charlie is a retired chemist and volunteers for clean water projects, and Gretchen consults part-time for NIH and teaches at University of Maryland University College. Charlie and Gretchen are also Rock Creek Conservancy Stream Team Program volunteers for Wheaton Claridge Park. All three are also members of our aquatic invertebrate survey team.

Our assigned block is about 10 square miles, roughly from New Hampshire Ave. to the east, Georgia Ave. to the west, Arcola Ave. to the south, and a half mile south of Bonifant Ave. to the north. We search along the Northwest Branch and its Bel Pre Creek tributary, in Wheaton Regional Park, and in vernal pools and ponds. Our statewide coordinator, Heather Cunningham, is with the Natural History Society of Maryland. We report our findings to the MARA Montgomery County coordinator, Rachel Gauza, who is a Citizen Science Program Specialist with the Association of Zoos and Museums. She is aided by Lance Benedict, co-coordinator for the county. This is a five year joint project between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Natural History Society of Maryland.

The resulting atlas (MARA) will be the baseline against which to compare any future changes in distribution of these often indicator species in Maryland.

Looking for reptiles and amphibians along the NW Branch
(L-R: Gretchen Schwartz, Glenn Welch and Charlie Dorian)
Photo by Katie Basiotis

Individuals Found from 2011-present
(click for photos)

Eastern Box Turtle
Painted Turtle
Red-eared Slider
Northern Red-bellied Cooter
Eastern Snapping Turtle
Yellow-bellied Slider
Northern Watersnake
Northern Brownsnake
Eastern Gartersnake
Ring-necked Snake
Eastern Ratsnake
Eastern Kingsnake
Eastern Worm Snake
Spotted Salamander
Eastern Redbacked Salamander
Two lined Salamander
Eastern American Toad
Spring Peeper
Gray Treefrog
Wood Frog
Pickerel Frog
Northern Green Frog
American Bullfrog