Instead of running away, people flocked to the HERP Project Celebration at Rockfish Camp and Retreat Center in Parkton, North Carolina. The more daring people trapped live reptiles, while younger (or more faint-at-heart) people went for face painting and arts and crafts. The fun-filled half-day celebration got underway on Sunday, 29 September 2013.
Several living reptiles were available for handling and viewing --- lizards, turtles, and snakes --- enough to keep the crowd of about 150 visitors engaged. Puppet shows, Native American storytelling and dancing, and Nature Chronicles were also part of the activities. First and foremost, the celebration was designed to raise public appreciation and awareness of North Carolina's rich reptile fauna and to encourage interest in the natural sciences.
UNCP Professors Andrew Ash and Mary Ash helped coordinate the activities, and some of the area's public school teachers were on hand to assist. The HERP Project held a similar community event in May of 2012.
The HERP Project is funded by the National Science Foundation and is spearheaded by a multidisciplinary team from three North Carolina college campuses: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Elon University. Dr. Andrew Ash is one of the team's Co-Principal Investigators. "HERP" stands for Herpetology Education in Rural Places.
Dr. Andrew Ash (center) is pictured above.
Photographs are courtesy of Corinne Jordan.