Midwest Chapter

The NAFHA Midwest Chapter encompasses twelve states – Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.  This area contains 1,055 counties and covers approximately 821,800 square miles, featuring an incredible array of habitats including prairies, badlands, marshes, swamps, and forests.  The distribution and variety of herpetofauna in the midwest is directly tied to the last ice age.  Much of the land was covered and shaped by the advance and retreat of the vast ice sheets; those areas that remained free of the ice were also affected by torrents of meltwater and deposits of wind-blown sand and soil.  Northern and southern species meet in this region, as well as eastern and western forms; the Mississippi River is a boundary line for many taxa. 

The Midwest Chapter has around 66 members, with some states unrepresented at this time.  Given the enormous size of the region covered by the Midwest Chapter, there are organizational challenges that require a different approach to chapter business.  The proscribed positions as described within the NAHFA bylaws are not a good fit for such a far-flung group; a looser, more organic organization is necessary, given the distances often separating chapter members.  Solitary trips and small group outings are the norm.  Getting chapter members together in force can be difficult, although the group strives to meet at least once a year. 

Recording the herpetofauna within a thousand and more counties is a daunting task;  195 species and subspecies of amphibians and reptiles occur within the boundaries of the chapter.  While the Midwest Chapter has entered over ten thousand records in the NAFHA database, we have a long way to go in our quest to catalog the midwestern herpetofauna.

Like other NAFHA chapters, Midwest members come from all walks of life.  Many are amateur herpetologists who spend their free time engaged in field activities.  The sciences are well represented with field biologists, biology students, and other academics.  Many chapter members are involved with local and state conservation and education programs; still others write and lecture on related subjects.  Despite our distances, a rich, collaborative environment has taken hold; many friendships have formed and we have learned much from each other in the few short years of our existence.  Aside from data collection, our goals in the field are to help each other, to work together, and have as much fun as we can!