The Western New York Herpetological Society was founded on August 16, 1995. The first meeting was held at a rural farmhouse in West Falls, NY, and consisted of 15 people who realized a genuine need for a more organized forum to promote herpetological interests.
Their objective was to promote an open exchange of ideas, information and experiences. Those first WNYHS members determined that the mission of the Society would be to advocate for the welfare of wild and captive herps through education, conservation and research.
Meetings continued at the West Falls farmhouse until the opportunity arose to move to a classroom on the campus of Medaille College. In 2012, the monthly meeting location was moved once again, to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Eggertsville, NY, where members still meet today.
In 2000, the WNYHS made two giant steps to reach and educate a wider audience of reptile and amphibian enthusiasts. The WNYHS hosted its inaugural Annual Reptile Show and Sale in September of that year, the first event of its kind in Western New York.
The Reptile Show encourages responsible captive breeding and ownership of herps by giving dedicated local breeders a venue to engage with interested buyers. Visitors to the Show can learn about appropriate care and handling of reptile, amphibian and invertebrate pets, as well as wild herp conservation.
The year 2000 also saw the Society announce its presence on the Internet with its own website, an outreach to the online herpetological community. The website assists readers world-wide to maintain healthy animals by providing care sheets, a FAQ column staffed by knowledgeable, experienced herp keepers, and a virtual meeting room to share information.
In order to contribute to conservation of herps in the wild, the Society helps protect turtle nest sites at Tillman Wildlife Management Area, donates to wildlife rehabilitators and the Buffalo Zoo, organizes herp field trips, and participates in community education events.
The WNYHS furthers ongoing research in the field of Herpetology by awarding the annual Marv Aures/Bob Krantz Herpetological Research Grant in one of the following areas: New York State Herpetology; Student Research in Herpetology; Reptile and Amphibian Conservation; Reptile and Amphibian Captive Management, Husbandry, and Propagation; and Herpetology Education.
The Western New York Herpetological Society continues to pursue its founding goals with the support of members representing all aspects of the hobby. The Society’s membership includes respected breeders of captive species, wildlife rehabilitators and rescuers, veterinary professionals, avid field herpers, and devoted amateur reptile and amphibian keepers.
With all of these diverse backgrounds, WNYHS members from 1995 to the present continue to learn from each other, and enrich the herp community, with the open exchange of ideas, information and experiences.