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In 1984, Maine's biologists were faced with decisions about which Maine vertebrate animals should be listed as endangered or threatened under the state's new Endangered Species Act. It became clear that there was not enough information about Maine's herps to make informed decisions so John Albright, Jane Arbuckle, and Malcolm Hunter initiated the Maine Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project, or MARAP, with the support of our organizations (the Natural Heritage Program of The Nature Conservancy, the Maine Audubon Society, and the University of Maine Wildlife Department, respectively) and the assistance of the Endangered and Nongame Wildlife Fund of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The project was successful. Over 250 people responded to the call for volunteers, received an instruction manual, and were soon mailing in cards recording where and when they found herps. The first two years were the most productive, and we were able to make some reasonable decisions about which species should be listed as endangered or threatened. In the last three years of the project the number of record cards submitted declined, probably because volunteers stopped finding new herps in their area, but we continued to receive hundreds of cards each year through 1989. When we began the project we knew that our objective was to write a book about Maine herps and thus spread interest in herps beyond the ranks of MARAP volunteers. As MARAP came to an end we modified our idea; we decided to capitalize on the expertise, energy, and enthusiasm of our volunteers by asking them to write the book. We found authors for each species; gave them a general outline, literature citations, and some key papers; and asked them to write an account that fellow naturalists would find interesting and informative. We believe they have succeeded and are confident that this book will foster a greater appreciation for amphibians and reptiles among Maine's naturalists and students.
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Maine Agricultural Experiment Station
Maine, amphibians, reptiles
Hunter Jr., M.L., J. Albright, and J. Arbuckle, eds. 1992. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Maine. Maine Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 838.