HRE Study: Woodland Populations


Woodland areas, or forests, provide suitable habitat for a wide variety of animals, including reptiles and amphibians.  By setting multiple types of artificial habitats within a woodland forest, we can capture different herp species, identify them, record physical data and learn more about their habitat requirements and their movements.

Project Overview

In this study, we use coverboards, drift fences and minnow traps to collect herps. Once captured, we identify each species and then release them back onto the property.

Inquiry Questions

What species of amphibians and reptiles are found at Camp Chestnut Ridge?

Data Collection

Students check three types of forest transects for the presence of amphibians and reptiles.

  • Artificial habitats – a coverboard array consisting of pieces of plywood, pieces of tin and vertically positioned sections of PVC pipe. This passive artificial habitat attracts frogs, salamanders, lizards and snakes.
  • A drift fence with pitfall traps and terrestrial traps. These active traps must be checked regularly. Frogs, salamanders, box turtles and snakes have all been found in pit fall traps.
  • Minnow traps placed in depressions filled with rainwater. These are also active traps that must be checked regularly. This type of trap usually captures frogs (both adults and tadpoles) and salamanders (both adults and larvae).

Reptile and amphibians are identified, measured, and weighed. Students record site locations for each organism with a GPS and indicate weather parameters such as air temperature, cloud cover, wind code and recent rainfall amounts.

Data Sheets

Download Data Sheets: We use the following data sheet for recording data in the field.
Field Data Collection Sheets (Word)
Field Data Collection Sheets (PDF)

Species Identified So Far

Species list coming soon!