Bylaws of the North American Field Herping Association (NAFHA)

ARTICLE I. NAME

The name of this organization shall be the North American Field Herping Association (hereinafter, "NAFHA"). Each chapter of NAFHA shall be named according to location. Naming of a chapter will be the responsibility of the board of each chapter.

ARTICLE II. PURPOSE

The purpose of the association will be:

 

  1. To unite amateur/private herpetologists, professional herpetologists, and interested naturalists of all kinds in the goal of conserving North American herpetofauna. A highlight of this group is to provide state or provincial and national agencies with assistance in the development of more educated decisions on how to better manage reptile and amphibian populations.
  2. To promote data collection on wild reptiles and amphibians in North America, and to promote the deposit of vouchered data such as photos and audio files in the H.E.R.P. database ( http://www.naherp.com ) and/or any other similar database.
     
  3. To participate in herpetofauna surveys, when needed, to assist Agencies, Land Owners, Preserves, Regional Parks, Wildlife Refuges, Habitat Restoration Projects, or any other Land Steward, at no cost to those needing assistance.
     
  4. To promote knowledge in the general field of herpetology for the benefit of the public and the general NAFHA membership.
     
  5. To inspire all people to enjoy and conserve wild herpetofauna and promote the responsible enjoyment of the activity of observing herpetofauna in the wild.

    * NOTE: We recognize the right of members and non-members of NAFHA to collect species of amphibians and reptiles in accordance with applicable local, state/provincial, and federal regulations. NAFHA, however, does not promote the collection of amphibians and reptiles and this practice will not be permitted at NAFHA-sponsored events. Exceptions may be considered in certain cases, e.g., discoveries of new taxa or range extensions.

ARTICLE III. DUES

  1. At the present time dues will not be collected for membership in the NAFHA.
  2. If the NAFHA decides in the future that dues are necessary or desired, the amount of the dues shall be established through a vote pursuant to Article VI.

ARTICLE IV. MEMBERSHIP

  1. Membership in the association is open to all persons 18 years of age or older who properly register, and accept and comply with these bylaws of the NAFHA, as such bylaws may be amended from time to time.
  2. There are 4 classifications of membership:
    1. NAFHA Member
      Definition: Any person who is registered at naherp.com
      Membership Type: Non-Voting
      Membership Requirements: (1) must be 18 years of age or older, (2) must agree with NAFHA bylaws, (3) must register at naherp.com (the act of registering is confirmation of agreement with the bylaws)
    2. NAFHA Chapter Member
      Definition: any NAFHA Member who becomes a member of a NAFHA Chapter
      Membership Type: Non-Voting
      Requirements: (1) Must be registered NAFHA Member, (2) must hold membership in an active NAFHA Chapter.
    3. NAFHA Active Member
      Definition: any NAFHA Member who meets the criteria for voter eligibility
      Membership Type: Voting
      Requirements: (1) must be a registered NAFHA Member, (2) must have entered at least one record into the HERP Database within the prior year or current year of the date of the vote, poll, or election.
    4. NAFHA Active Chapter Member
      Definition: any NAFHA Member who becomes a member of a NAFHA Chapter and meets the criteria for voter eligibility
      Requirements: (1) must be a NAFHA Chapter Member, (2) must have entered at least one record into the HERP Database within the prior year or current year of the date of the vote, poll, or election for that chapter's region.
  3. Any member of NAFHA may become a member of any chapter. Multiple chapter memberships are allowed.
  4. A member may hold office in any chapter in which they are an Active Member, but may only hold one office total per term, except as provided in Article IX-Section G.
  5. Only members of a chapter may vote in elections and polls in the chapter of which they are members.
  6. Members of a chapter may be invited to participate in the activities of any other chapter.

ARTICLE V. CHAPTERS

  1. NAFHA Chapters may be formed to represent different regions of North America, such as a group of states or provinces, individual states or provinces, or parts of individual states or provinces. New chapters may be formed from states and provinces that are not presently included in an existing chapter. New chapters may also be formed from states and provinces that are presently included in an existing chapter with the consent of the Chapter Board of Directors of the chapter from which the new chapter is petitioning to be formed. Existing Chapters are free to realign their borders pursuant to a vote of the chapters whose coverage will be affected.
  2. Chapters shall be managed by an elected Chapter Board of Directors consisting of a President and Vice President. If the chapter deems it necessary, a Secretary, Conservation Officer and Education Officer may be elected and/or appointed. The Chapter Board of Directors may also appoint regional Vice Presidents, Conservation Specialists and Education Specialists, or other offices, to represent the Chapter in specific geographical areas within the chapter that require official representation to conduct educational programs, field surveys, organized field outings and other official NAFHA functions.
  3. A new chapter may be formed from a geographically distinct region within an existing chapter, or from a geographically distinct region not already included within an existing chapter, by meeting the following criteria:
    1. The region must have a sufficient membership base of a minimum of 10 Active Members.
    2. If the region is part of an existing chapter, the region must have had an appointed regional President, and regional Vice President, appointed by the Chapter Board of Directors, for a period of a minimum of 6 months.
    3. If the region is not part of an existing chapter, the region must have had an appointed regional President, and regional Vice President, appointed by the International Board of Directors, for a period of a minimum of 6 months.
    4. The Active Members desiring to create the new chapter must petition the International Board of Directors with the request to form the new chapter. The petition must include a list of the names of the petitioners, a description of the geographical region the new chapter wishes to represent, and a proposed name for the new chapter.
    5. If the petitioning region is part of an existing chapter, the number of Active Members wishing to remain with the original chapter must be a minimum of 10 Active Members.
    6. The members of the new chapter must pledge to hold elections to seat a Chapter Board of Directors pursuant ARTICLE VII of these bylaws. Failure to elect the mandatory 2 Chapter Officers shall result in a rejection of the petition to establish the new chapter.
  4. Petitions to form new chapters shall be reviewed by the International Board of Directors. The review period shall run for a period of 14 days from the date of the receipt of the petition. The decision to accept or reject the petition shall be decided by a majority vote of the members of the International Board of Directors in a poll that will run for a period of 7 days following the petition review.
  5. Upon approval by the International Board of Directors of a petition to form a new chapter, the members of the new chapter may begin the process of nominating and electing Chapter Officers pursuant ARTICLE VII of these bylaws. Full chapter status shall be granted and recognized upon completion of the election process.
  6. Existing chapters that fail to elect 2 Chapter Officers or fail to retain a minimum of 10 Active Members shall be placed on probation for a period of one year. During the probation period, it shall be the duty of the International Board of Directors to make every effort to assist the chapter in regaining its full complement of officers and members. The International Board of Directors may extend the probationary period if necessary to ensure full recovery of the chapter on probation.
  7. A chapter may voluntarily close or be involuntarily placed on probation only by a vote pursuant to ARTICLE VI of these bylaws. Failure to conduct annual Chapter Officer elections within the time frame and instructions pursuant to ARTICLE VII of these bylaws may result in probation and/or the eventual closure or annexation of the chapter and the closure of the chapter forum.
  8. H. A chapter that is closed may be annexed by a neighboring chapter. The final disposition of a closed chapter shall be determined by the International Board of Directors.

ARTICLE VI. VOTING

  1. The election of Officers and International Board Members (excluding the Technical Coordinator), any changes to the rules and regulations of the NAFHA (including these bylaws), modifications to the Database that affect the embodiment of the data, or any conservation or management issues of North American herpetofauna must be approved by a simple majority of the Active Members of NAFHA who vote in a 14-day online poll or election.
  2. Any registered NAFHA member who has entered data into the HERP database within the current or previous calendar year of the vote, poll or election shall be qualified to vote and is considered to be an Active Member with voting rights. Voting in chapter polls or elections shall be restricted to Active Members who are members of that chapter.
  3. Under special circumstances, exceptions to Section VI-B shall be allowed for an individual member if approved by a simple majority vote by the International Board of Directors.

ARTICLE VII. CHAPTER OFFICERS & INTERNATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS ELECTIONS

  1. Each Chapter shall elect a Board of Directors consisting of the offices of President and Vice-President. If deemed necessary by the individual Chapter, the offices of Secretary, Conservation Officer, and Education Specialist may also be created but are not required.
  2. Each chapter shall also elect an International Board Member from the Active Chapter Membership to serve along with the elected President on the International Board of Directors.
  3. The term of office for all elected officers and International Board Members shall be one year and members may be elected to office more than once. There shall be no limit on consecutive terms.
  4. Officers and International Board Members shall be nominated at the online forum or at meetings in November and voted into office in December. An Active Chapter Member must nominate all nominees, and a second Active Chapter Member must second the nomination. A nominee must acknowledge the acceptance of the nomination. In the event that only one person is nominated for a position and that person is unable or unwilling to run, nominations will be re-opened. In the event that a person elected is unable or unwilling to assume the office, the office shall remain open until a suitable candidate can be elected by a vote pursuant to ARTICLE VI.
  5. Officers and International Board Members shall be Active Members and at least 18 years of age or older.
  6. The President must have been an active member of the association for at least one year prior to assuming office.
  7. Each chapter shall be responsible for its own affairs, but may seek the advice of the International Board of Directors or other chapters if the need arises.

ARTICLE VIII. DUTIES OF CHAPTER OFFICERS

  1. President:

    Shall be the principal executive of chapter and shall preside over all board and membership meetings of the chapter if and when the chapter decides to hold meetings. The President shall represent the chapter on most occasions and also serve as a member of the International Board of Directors. The president shall establish a chapter forum at FHF, if needed, for the primary purposes of conducting chapter affairs and establishing a place for chapter members and non-members to interact. The president shall initiate and preside over the nominations process in November of each year for electing new chapter officers for the following year pursuant to ARTICLE VI.

  2. Vice-president:

    Shall be responsible for the general membership meeting programs if and when the chapter decides to hold meetings. Shall perform the duties of the President at meetings when that person is absent, and may be asked to assist the President if necessary.

  3. Secretary:

    Shall maintain the non-financial business records, shall record minutes of all chapter meetings, shall maintain a journal of these minutes, recording them in a timely manner and making them available to all members of the chapter, and in the absence of the President and Vice-president may assume the duties of conducting a scheduled meeting.

  4. Conservation Officer:

    Shall act as liaison between the chapter and outside researchers, conservation organizations, wildlife agencies, lawmakers, and the like. The Conservation Officer will promptly advise the NAFHA International Board of Directors when a request for data is received by the chapter. The Conservation Officer shall also assist the Education Specialist in group field trips. The Conservation Officer may assume additional duties as assigned by the Chapter Officers.

  5. Education Specialist:

    E. Shall be responsible for setting up field outings for the chapter and assisting members in data collection. The Education Specialist will also be responsible for public education and outreach for his/her chapter if the chapter deems this action necessary.

  6. The Chapter Board of Directors shall assign forum moderator duties to a minimum of one and a maximum of three members in elected positions of the chapter, by a majority vote if necessary.

ARTICLE IX. INTERNATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  1. The International Board of Directors shall consist of the International Coordinator, the Technical Coordinator, the President of each chapter, and one International Board Member elected from the active membership of each chapter, and they shall manage the affairs of the NAFHA.
  2. The International Board of Directors and the NAFHA members will elect an International Coordinator who will serve to steer the NAFHA and the database with the assistance of the International Board. Nominations for the International Coordinator will be placed in November with elections held in December pursuant to ARTICLE VI. A candidate for the office of International Coordinator must have been an Active Chapter Member of the association for at least 2 years, and be nominated and receive a second to the nomination from 2 other Active Chapter Members.
  3. The duties of the International Coordinator shall include but not be limited to the following:
    1. Serve as non-voting chairman of the International Board of Directors, and vote only in the event of a tie vote.
    2. Serve as Co-Moderator of International Board Forum with the Technical Coordinator.
    3. Serve as Co-Moderator of the Main Forum with the Technical Coordinator.
    4. Serve as Co-Moderator of the Members Only Forum with the Technical Coordinator and all Chapter Presidents
    5. Assist all chapters with year-end officer nominations and election polls ensuring that elections are carried out in accordance with the bylaws.
    6. Serve as Co-Liaison with Technical Coordinator between NAFHA and data requesters.
    7. Serve as counsel to members with issues regarding ethics and these bylaws.
    8. Serve as coordinator to members wishing to form new chapters.
  4. The term for the International Coordinator shall be one year with no limit on consecutive terms. In the event that a person elected is unable or unwilling to assume the office, the office shall remain open until a suitable candidate can be elected by a vote pursuant to ARTICLE VI.
  5. There is no term limit for the Technical Coordinator, however the Technical Coordinator may be dismissed by a vote pursuant to ARTICLE VI. In the event that this position becomes open, the Technical Coordinator shall be elected by a vote pursuant to ARTICLE VI.
  6. Decisions by a vote of the International Board of Directors shall be determined as follows:
    1. A 2/3 majority vote is required in any and all matters regarding the suspension, termination or reinstatement of a member, and/or the forming, suspension, annexing or reinstatement of a chapter.
    2. A simple majority of the votes cast in polls regarding all other matters.
G.  A Chapter President or any Chapter Board Member other than the at large-International Board Member may serve as International   Coordinator during the calendar year they hold chapter office. A chapter president who concurrently serves as International Coordinator  will serve on the board in the non-voting role of International Coordinator.

H.  A chapter must have two and only two voting representatives on the International Board. If a Chapter President is also elected as International Coordinator that chapter must elect an additional eligible member to serve as a voting member of the Board. Another Chapter Officer may be elected to that role, as described in Article IX, Section G.

ARTICLE X: RESIGNATION AND REMOVAL OF MEMBERS, OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS, & COORDINATORS

  1. Notice of resignation by an officer shall be posted on the NAFHA forums or provided in writing and delivered to the President of the applicable chapter.
  2. Notice of resignation of an International Board member shall be posted on the NAFHA forums or provided in writing and delivered to the International Coordinator.
  3. A Chapter Officer may be removed from office for failure to perform the duties of the office or for any one of the causes listed under F. by a vote pursuant to ARTICLE VI.
  4. An International Board Member may be removed from office for failure to perform the duties of the office or for any one of the causes listed under F by a vote pursuant to ARTICLE VI.
  5. Termination of membership may be done voluntarily by a member at any time by providing written notice delivered to the President of the applicable chapter.
  6. Suspension or termination of Active Members, Active Chapter Members, or Chapter Members may be imposed by a vote pursuant to ARTICLE VI for any one of the following causes:
    1. Intentional cruelty to reptiles, amphibians or other animals.
    2. Any egregious action that infringes upon or compromises the quality or integrity of the Database or NAFHA purpose.
    3. Deliberate and flagrant damage of habitat while searching for herpetofauna.
    4. Falsely claiming to be a spokesperson or officer of NAFHA when not authorized, or publicly attributing damaging opinions to NAFHA on matters where no opinion has been taken.
    5. Knowingly disturbing known research sites and animals.
    6. Engaging in the collection of live animals for commercial or personal purposes and without proper permits while participating in NAFHA sanctioned events.
    7. Engaging in any other activity that is illegal or in violation of a state or federal regulation and considered by the International Board to be detrimental to the interests or reputation of NAFHA, its chapters and/or members.
  7. Any member facing suspension or termination of his or her Active, Active Chapter or Chapter memberships has the right to address his or her accusers on a forum open to fellow members for a period of no less than 14 days.
  8. Suspension or termination is equal to the suspension or termination of the individual's right to vote in NAFHA national and chapter polls and elections, and the right to post on private NAFHA forums. The term of suspension shall be determined by the International Board of Directors. At no time shall a NAFHA member's right of access to his or her records in the HERP database be revoked or denied.
  9. Reinstatement:
    Members involuntarily terminated may apply to the chapter board or International Board for reinstatement, no sooner than one year after termination. Any such application may be accepted or rejected with or without cause through a vote pursuant to ARTICLE VI by the chapter board or International Board of Directors.

ARTICLE XI. DATA

  1. A. Data (including photos and audio files) will be designated by the submitting member as either Non-Sensitive (NS), Sensitive (S), or Closed (C). Non-Sensitive data are those records which do not require the submitting member’s permission to be released to persons or parties within and outside of the NAFHA membership, Sensitive data are those records which require the submitting member's permission to be released to persons or parties within and outside of the NAFHA membership, and Closed data are highly sensitive records which may only be released in rare instances as approved by the submitting member. Notwithstanding the foregoing, each member agrees and acknowledges that neither NAFHA, its officers, the officers of a chapter nor any other member shall be liable for the release of any data that is inconsistent with the terms set forth above. By submitting data, each member specifically acknowledges that they do so at their own risk.
  2. Data status can be designated upon submission when adding a record, or after submission by editing a record. An option in the member's profile allows a member to choose how his/her records are treated in the data release process for all projects that are not voted upon by the submitting member.
  3. Specific locality of data including Lat/Lon coordinates is always hidden from public view. Data can be further restricted from public view when adding or editing a record by choosing the option 'Restrict public access to this record'.

ARTICLE XII. DATA RELEASE

  1. Data will be released by the NAFHA for those projects that undergo the following procedure:
    1. A project description will be submitted to the International Board that details the scope of the data being requested, the intended use, and information regarding any known risks of releasing data.
    2. The project description and known risks will be detailed on the NAFHA website and open to member comments for a minimum 10 day period.
    3. The International Board will review member comments and vote to approve or reject a given project. Any project which is not unanimously rejected will proceed to a member vote in accordance with the below.
    4. The project will be put to vote by the members whose data is considered within the scope of the project's request.
    5. Voting members will be notified which of their records are being requested, and given the following options:
      1. Yes - I approve this project. Release ALL of my data (SENSITIVE, NON-SENSITIVE, and CLOSED)
      2. Yes - I approve this project. Release ONLY my SENSITIVE AND NON-SENSITIVE data.
      3. Yes - I approve this project. Release ONLY my NON-SENSITIVE data.
      4. No - I do not approve this project. DO NOT release any of my data.
      5. No - I do not approve this project. However, please release ALL of my data (BOTH SENSITIVE AND NON-SENSITIVE) if the majority of the voting members approve the project.
      6. No - I do not approve this project. However, please release only my NON-SENSITIVE data if the majority of the voting members approve the project.
    6. Voting members will be shown which of their data they have selected to release, and will be required to confirm their decision.
    7. Votes will be tallied. If the number of voting members who have approved the project exceeds the number of voting members who have rejected the project, then the data of the approving members will be released, as will the data of members who did not approve the project but nonetheless authorized the release of their data. In addition, the data of members who did not vote will be released (unless they have indicated otherwise).
    8. If the number of voting members who have rejected the project exceeds the number of voting members who have approved the project, then only the data of approving members will be released, to the degree that the release was authorized. The data of members who did not vote will NOT be released.
    9. Released records will be made available to the requesting party via a password protected portion of the website, and/or a CSV file, according to the requesting party's preference.
    10. Notwithstanding the foregoing, as stated above, each member agrees and acknowledges that neither NAFHA, its officers, the officers of a chapter nor any other member shall be liable for the release of any data that is inconsistent with the terms set forth above. By submitting data, each member specifically acknowledges that it does so at its own risk, and that all such data may become completely public.

ARTICLE XIII. MEETINGS

  1. Each chapter will decide when and if it will hold regular meetings.
  2. Each chapter shall be responsible for selecting and coordinating its own invited guest speakers and meeting areas if it chooses to hold meetings. Any costs associated with these meetings shall be the sole responsibility of the chapter and its members.
  3. Meetings shall be open to all members and non-members.
  4. National meetings, chapter meetings, and board meetings shall take place if and when members agree upon the place and time. Meeting announcements shall be posted at least one week prior to the meeting on the chapter forums at www.fieldherpforum.com
  5. www.fieldherpforum.com shall not create chapters or moderate forums for the NAFHA without a request from the International Board of Directors to do so.

ARTICLE XIV: LIABILITY

  1. The NAFHA is a volunteer association; its International Board of Directors, Chapter Board of Directors, and members are not liable for any misconduct, legal or illegal, or any act or omission, by members.
  2. The NAFHA, its International Board of Directors, Chapter Board of Directors, and members are not responsible for and do not assume any liability for any damage or personal injury, including death, sustained by a member or non-member during meetings, field trips, data collection, or any other activity of the NAFHA. Members and non-members join and participate solely at their own risk.
  3. The NAFHA, its International Board of Directors, Chapter Board of Directors, and members are responsible for entering their own data into the database, editing their own data, and ensuring that it is accurate and legally collected. By registering in the database, members and non-members of the NAFHA agree to make their data and photos broadly available to the public, unless otherwise indicated in the data’s sensitivity status. Exact online data points are not intended to be accessible to the public; each entry can be viewed only down to the county level. Members and those submitting data and photos recognize the possibilities and take the risk that although safeguards are in place, any and all data and photos can become completely public. The NAFHA, its International Board of Directors, Chapter Board of Directors, and members assume no liability for submission and protection of data and are not liable for any data in the database, prior to, or after use by an outside source.
  4. Ownership of data and photos entered into the database by members and non-members of the NAFHA remain the property of the submitting party, however by entering the data and photos into the database, members and non-members (i) represent and warrant that they are the owners of such data or have the necessary licenses to provide and disclose such data and grant the licenses herein, (ii) agree that they will indemnify and hold harmless the NAFHA and its officers for any breach of the immediately foregoing representation and warranty, and (iii) grant to the NAFHA the right to use that data for all organizational purposes consistent with the terms set forth herein and to disclose such data as expressly permitted by such member.
  5. The NAFHA, its International Board of Directors, Chapter Board of Directors, and members are not liable for the loss or corruption of data or use of data which was obtained illegally through “internet hacking” or any other means. Although the database is protected and backed up on a regular basis, database “hacking” and other events beyond the reasonable control of NAFHA comprise risks that all members and non-members assume by the submission of their data.
  6. NAFHA officers and members do not have the authority to assume any obligations, whether financial or otherwise, on behalf of the NAFHA in any way.
  7. IN NO EVENT SHALL NAFHA OR ANY OF ITS OFFICERS HAVE ANY LIABILITY TO A MEMBER OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, OR LOSS OF USE, OR FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE ACTIVITIES OF NAFHA, ITS OFFICERS, CHAPTERS OR MEMBERS, UNDER ANY CAUSE OF ACTION OR THEORY OF LIABILITY, AND IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER SUCH PARTY HAS ADVANCE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. THESE LIMITATIONS SHALL APPLY NOTWITHSTANDING THE FAILURE OF THE ESSENTIAL PURPOSE OF ANY LIMITED REMEDY.
  8. EACH MEMBER SUBMITS ITS DATA "AS IS" AND WITH ALL FAULTS; AND EACH SUCH MEMBER AND THE NAFHA HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS, WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS (IF ANY) OF OR RELATED TO: MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, LACK OF VIRUSES, ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS, RESULTS AND NONINFRINGEMENT. THE ENTIRE RISK ARISING OUT OF USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THE DATA REMAINS WITH THE PARTY USING AND/OR RELYING ON SUCH DATA.
  9. All Official NAFHA field herping events, designated as such by the regional chapter board members, require every participant to read and sign a liability waiver without exception. No one may participate in any official field event without having read and signed a regional liability waiver. All liability waivers are to be kept with the NAFHA member in charge of the event, until said time that member can pass those waivers to the President or Vice President of the chapter. A Legal Guardian must read and sign a liability waiver for every minor involved in the event as well. Note:The International Board has the final say on the language within the Liability Waivers, this includes logistic issues of maintaining copies, and any and all legal issues that may arise concerning legal and liability issues, with A 2/3 majority vote required.

ARTICLE XV: AMENDMENTS TO THESE BYLAWS

  1. These bylaws may be reviewed by the International Board of Directors. A proposal for a change in the bylaws may be submitted to the board in writing (either in person or on the NAFHA forums) by any member at any time.
  2. Amendments must be accepted by a vote pursuant to Article VI - A.