Go out of your way to meet people.

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Don Becker
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Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Don Becker » June 6th, 2011, 1:21 pm

I know many people on here have herp conservation in mind, and love to help. Often times there are obstacles to overcome to get involved in helping out. I would just like to give everyone a friendly reminder to be persistent in your efforts, and to try to make friends with the right people if you really want to help. Six or so years ago, I had a phone call with the deputy director of my local county conservation board. I wanted to access some county property at night to observe frogs. We didn't really see eye to eye, and had a slightly heated debate over the phone about it. I lost that debate, but in the long run, I won. Around the same time as that phone call, I had started making friends with the county conservation employees at my favorite herping spot. Over the years I had started helping them with educational programs, take care of their animals, and help them keep tabs on what can be found in their park. A few years back, the county gave me a permit to do herp surveys on all the county property. Today I was talking with that same deputy director that I had argued with years ago, about which properties I should spend time on to document Blanding's Turtles and Ornate Box Turtles in my county.

I know not everyone sees eye to eye with their local DNR, F&G, or what ever it's called in your area, but if you really want to try to do some good for things, just be persistant, and try to make some friends.

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Jeff
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Jeff » June 6th, 2011, 3:48 pm

As one of those W&F guys, my philosophy is the more eyes and hands, the more info. Psyon, on our first conversation you would have been duly deputized and ferried to areas in need of survey. The academic institutions of Louisiana have all given me an open door policy, but local herpetofaunal activities are often left to individual enthusiasm of graduate students. These days, most of the novel data I receive come from the average "Forum" types, commercial collectors, enthusiastic locals, and even folks who dive into learning about the snakes they had killed. My field guys who handle urban snake complaints include an insurance salesman and an anaesthesiologist. Once folks learn that you are not antagonistic, they will divulge information that may be considered sensitive in some states. Often, the public approach is one of apprehension -- will they get in trouble for shooting rattlers?

As an example, a hunter shoots a Canebrake Rattlesnakes and says it was "aggressive", wouldn't get out of his way. I point out that they rely on camouflage, and don't get out of your way in the hope that you will step over them and keep going. And by the way, the one you found coiled at the base of the tree was in ambush posture. Telemetry studies have found that they park themselves in a spot for several days awaiting a passing rat or squirrel. If the spot doesn't pan out, they move on. They may eat only a few meals per year.

That will give the hunter a new perspective on the tough life of a rattlesnake. Keep a smile, don't criticize, offer tidbits of information appropriate for the situation, and you will open some mighty wide doors.

Jeff

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Don Becker
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Don Becker » June 6th, 2011, 3:59 pm

I took my kids out to look for Ornate box turtles in the county south of me the other day. We ran into the person currently studying the population. I told him that I had been avoiding the area because I knew there was an ongoing study on the site. He told me he wished he could find people to come walk around the sand prairie to find turtles for him. He said I could show up every day if I wanted. Just have to make sure to send him pictures and GPS coordinates of what I find. He was even happier when I mentioned I would record what scales were notched on turtles if I found any.

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Brian Hubbs » June 6th, 2011, 4:43 pm

Jeff, I want someone to come out and get these little snakes that come out after rains off my driveway. We have "chirrens" in the neighborhood. :lol:

Nobody will get this unless Jeff has already told you this story...

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Jeff
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Jeff » June 6th, 2011, 5:17 pm

Brian

Was that call from a Gubmint issue cell phone? If, so, I handled that one this morning. And yesterday, and the day before, and Saturday, and Friday....and 1995, and....

But thanks for covering. I'd like to add curb-painter to my list of volunteers.

Jeff

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muskiemagnet
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by muskiemagnet » June 7th, 2011, 1:02 am

i can't agree more don. thanks for the picture of the fox snake by the way. you are given credit for the shot, and it is part of six educational signs spread out at the trail heads of the county-owned nature preserve where i am doing my population monitoring of the fox snakes. i have met many great contacts through this. all i did was write up an in-depth proposal for the monitoring. they bit hard, and i am licensed through the state of wisconsin for the project. it's great to have met so many people through this, especially those working for the state. heck, i even have a natural resources student working for me. i'm a machinist. i have no degree in the field. who would have thought?

-ben

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Bill Love
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Bill Love » June 7th, 2011, 7:04 am

Don, going out of my way to meet people has been a philosophy of mine since the early 70s. The two best ways to learn new things is to travel (including cyberspace), and meeting (and learning from) new people. It's served me well for decades and resulted in a huge number of new friendships and memorable herp encounters before the dawn of the Internet. I guess it's what this forum represents a modern form of, but I second your notion that getting to know folks in person should also still be welcomed and pursued.

I liked the story of your former 'enemy' now being a friend, an interesting example of how relationships change over the years, and how you should never cross someone off your potential friends list permanently. Nice post of a neglected, peripheral herp subject.

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Scott Waters
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Scott Waters » June 7th, 2011, 7:28 am

EXCELLENT reminder, Don! Good on ya for posting it up!

scott

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Fundad
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Fundad » June 7th, 2011, 9:10 am

I Agree Don....

I don't see eye to eye on a ton of things, with a lot of people, Agencies, and heck even CLOSE friends, Yet that doesn't mean we can't try too get a long, and work together for common interests and common goals..

Great story and reminder.

Fundad

Paul White
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Paul White » June 7th, 2011, 2:50 pm

I'm horrible at meeting people :oops: My wife rags on me for it.

It sounds useful though

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M Wolverton
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by M Wolverton » June 8th, 2011, 8:37 am

My name is Francis, but all my friends call me psycho. Anybody calls me Francis, and I'll kill ya. And another thing, I don't like people touching me or my stuff. If any of you ****** ****** touches me or any of my stuff, I'll kill ya.

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Don Becker
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Don Becker » June 8th, 2011, 11:27 am

Lighten up Francis.

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Jeremiah_Easter
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Re: Go out of your way to meet people.

Post by Jeremiah_Easter » June 8th, 2011, 10:05 pm

Lol, Francis, your killing me.

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