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Some people go to the Virgin Islands for sun and surf. Others, like NHSM Herp Club member, Russel, go for the Herps. On a recent trip to VI, Russ met Dr. Renata Platenberg, the principal investigator for the Great Virgin Island Frog Count. Russ invited her to present to the club, and we are excited to say that Dr. Platenberg accepted that invitation. Please join us for this special presentation.

The Great VI Frog Count is a Citizen Science project to map the distribution of frogs across the Virgin Islands. This project is part of a long term study on VI frog activity patterns and distribution. In the past we have been limited to information that could be collected from people trained to recognize frog calls, and to areas where those people were able to access. Using a citizen science approach coupled with sound analysis software, we can increase the areas surveyed and decrease the human error. Long term, these data will provide valuable information on the status of our frogs, the health of their ecosystems, and their response to climate change.

Project website:

Bio: Dr Renata Platenberg is a wildlife biologist with a specialism in night creatures. She earned her Masters of Science in Conservation Biology on invasive rats in the Galapagos from the University of Kent in 1994, going on to earn a PhD in Biology on legless lizard conservation in 1999. She had the good fortune to roam the national parks of the Colorado Plateau looking for herps for the US Geological Survey from 2000-2004, after which she relocated to the US Virgin Islands to serve as the terrestrial wildlife biologist and Endangered Species Coordinator until she made a lateral move to the University of the Virgin Islands to teach environmental science topics in 2013. She is currently looking for the next adventure.

Are you fascinated with reptiles and amphibians? The Natural History Society of Maryland’s Herp Club promotes the proper husbandry, conservation, study, and appreciation of reptiles and amphibians. Meet fellow “Herpers”! Amateurs, professionals, and kids of all ages are welcome! Membership to NHSM required. (NHSM membership is $25 for individuals, $35 for families.) Herp Club membership is an additional $5 for individuals and $10 for families annually.

Learn more about NHSM Clubs: