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Photo © Jon Cranfield

Record Pool update September 2012

The Record Pool has been in development for a period of time now. Over the coming months many more developments will surface in relation to the online recording database for Local Amphibian & Reptile Groups. The Record Pool has a Sighting Card which is optimised for use with mobile devices such as smart phones, tablet PCs (iPad, PlayBook etc). The mobile device form was previewed at the Midlands Regional Meeting on the 22nd September and has had its launch today (24th September). You can find the sighting card on the following link

Further features will be added to the Record Pool and it will also be moving to its own domain in the New Year. The new website will be launched at the Herpetofauna Workers' Meeting on the 25th to 27th January, Edinburgh. The main focus is now on getting the Record Pool to function and to collate important records from sources which may not be available for local groups and the local record centres. Datasets have been received from iSpot, Pond Conservation and the RSPB. 

Records submitted so far

The record pool has collated just over 2,300 records from around the UK. A boost to the records came from two ARG groups who had collected records at public events this autumn. Taking the lead from the Kent RAG who have collected thousands of records from public events across the county. Essex ARG attended the Essex Country Show, an evening talk in Brentwood and most recently the open day at the Wallasea Island Project by the RSPB in total almost 250 records were collected including some rather unusual sightings from Tilbury where Agamas and geckoes have been reported. Gloucestershire ARG attended the Stroud Festival of Nature where over 150 records were collected.


Amphibian & Reptile Meetings this Autumn

Amphibian and Reptile meetings this autumn

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A series of meetings are planned for this autumn which will provide an interesting insight into the work which ongoing to help our native amphibians and reptiles in the UK. it provides a chance for people to network, learn from each other and to inspire future project work which aims to help our amphibians and reptiles.

The first meeting is actually this coming weekend (22nd September) where the ARG UK regional meeting for the Midlands is being hosted at the National Forest Conkers site near Moira - further details from the Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group. This meeting will see the launch of the mobile version of the Record Pool which will hopefully revolutionise how amphibian and reptile recording in the UK.

The British Herpetological Society have organised a meeting with an international feel with talks on various species such as Chameleons in Madagascar to the blue iguanas in the Cayman Islands. This is on the 21st October in Amersham Community Centre - more details 

The Welsh Dragon Project's meeting which is the Welsh Amphibian & Reptile Symposium on the 3rd November. Through a partnership project with Amphibian & Reptile Conservation the symposium has a series of talks and presentations on topics such as natterjack toads in Wales, Aesculapian snakes, reptile mitigation & survey protocols, adder DNA research and reptile habitat management. There is also a chance to hear from ARG UK and the Wales Amphibian & Reptile Link on how all the local groups are engaging with the National NGO and the statutory bodies to deliver real conservation for our native amphibians and reptiles. The South East Regional meeting is being hosted by the Hampshire Amphibian & Reptile Group at Marwell Zoological park on the 17th November. The theme of the meeting is 'Best Practice; Survey, Mitigation and Legislation'. more details will follow soon.

The last meeting of the year is the joint scientific meeting of Amphibian & Reptile Conservation and the British Herpetological Society on the 9th December at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society - download the flyer 

These meetings all offer a different flavour of the efforts of volunteers and professionals in helping our threatened amphibians and reptiles in the UK, Europe and overseas. Its a really good diary of indoor events which helps people get over the colder winter months and leading up to the national meeting there will be further regional meetings in the South West and East of England (more details to be announced soon). People often say that the best meeting by far is the national meeting organised jointly by ARG UK & Amphibian & reptile Conservation - 

National Herpetofauna Workers' Meeting 2013

The Herpetofauna Workers' meeting  is on 25th to 27th January and will be in Edinburgh more details will follow in due course follow progress on the hash tag below



New Conservation Director at Amphibian & Reptile Conservation - Jim Foster

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Have we got Newts for You!

People may remember that Jim Foster was the Amphibian & Reptile specialist for the government's nature conservation advisor Natural England (formerly English Nature) and previously before that was the widespread species officer at Froglife where he supported the Local ARG network through passing on his advice and knowledge over the phone at that time. The number of AR groups increased dramatically over the 1990's and continues to do so today. 

After leaving Natural England last year and starting up the consultancy Cristatus Ecology Jim had been working in a variety of 'interesting projects'.  Jim had to take up an opportunity to get back into the voluntary sector. He accepted an appointment to become the Conservation Director at Amphibian & Reptile Conservation and has started in the role from the 3rd September.  Jim explained further in an email to his contacts last week:- 

 'This is a new, full-time, permanent position, focusing on biodiversity policy'. 'It's an exciting opportunity to join a great organisation, and help them to make a real difference for amphibians and reptiles'. As a consequence, Cristatus Ecology will be closing down. I will keep the website up for occasional postings, and the email address will continue.'

Jim is looking forward to working with the ARG UK panel, and the 60+ local ARG's in the near future.  

All the ARG UK Panel and, we are sure, all the voluntary groups will be wishing Jim well in his new role and hope to see him at the Herpetofaun Workers' Meeting next year in Edinburgh. 


Contact information

Jim Foster

Conservation Director

Amphibian & Reptile Conservation

The Witley Centre



Surrey GU8 5QA

Tel: 01428 681059

Mobile: 07554 455365

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.







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