Members of the PaCE Lab exhibited in Conservation World at the 2019 Illinois State Fair, providing information and education to over 500 visitors. In addition to displays about the research being done by the group, visitors were able to try their hand at using actual field equipment used by scientists in their daily work.
The Illinois Bat Conservation Program had a mist net deployed where visitors could untangle, identify, and measure bats, all while wearing leather gloves.
The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation group had snake tongs, hooks, calipers, and radio telemetry equipment available for visitors to try to wrangle snakes into a snake bag, measure turtles, or track a hidden turtle.
Other activities included Build-a-Bug, where people can assemble the arthropod of their dreams (or nightmares) from a variety of general and specialized appendages, Wheel of Migration, about the risks migratory birds face, and locating PIT-tagged animals.
INHS scientists are collaborating to understand Snake Fungal Disease and its impacts on endangered snakes in Illinois.
“We’re trying to protect an endangered species,” said INHS herpetologist and postdoctoral researcher Sarah Baker, a collaborator with Allender on several studies. “A lot of pit viper populations are declining – not only in Illinois, but nationwide. Snake fungal disease is just one more threat that they have to contend with, and anything we can do – to find effective treatments, for example, or disinfectants that stop people from spreading the disease from place to place – could make a difference for their long-term survival.”