More than half of Wisconsin’s 55 amphibians and reptiles are endangered, threatened, or listed as special concern. Yet, these species receive very little funding or support compared to more classically charismatic animals. Wisconsin’s amphibians and reptiles have declined significantly in recent years, due to threats such as habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal collection for the pet trade, road collisions, emerging diseases, and climate change. Now more than ever, these species need our help.

To help protect Wisconsin’s native amphibian and reptile species, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin launched the Wisconsin Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Fund, an endowment fund that provides sustainable support to protect Wisconsin’s turtles, frogs, snakes, lizards, and salamanders. This endowment fund will provide critical financial support to partner organizations that conduct projects focused on conservation, education, research, and monitoring to ensure that these Wisconsin wildlife species and their habitat are protected now and for future generations.

Ornate Box Turtle. Photo by Wisconsin DNR.Ornate Box Turtle

With fewer than 500 ornate box turtles left in the wild in Wisconsin, this species is one of Wisconsin’s rarest. The Natural Resources Foundation is funding innovative survey methods that allow scientists to better locate ornate box turtles in the wild. Understanding species populations is critical for informing what actions conservation biologists can take to protect the species, such as improving habitat where they are found, or reducing localized threats such as car collisions. By helping survey and monitor Wisconsin’s ornate box turtles, our Foundation is helping ensure that they will remain in the prairie and savannas of southern Wisconsin that they call home.

 

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Photo by Wisconsin DNREastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

The eastern massasauga rattlesnake just became Wisconsin’s first federally threatened reptile. Despite its connotation as a dangerous animal, the eastern massasauga and other snakes play an important role in the ecosystem. They help control rodent populations that might otherwise damage crops or spread disease. They are also an important prey source for raptors and other predators. However, the population of eastern massasaugas has declined significantly – by nearly 40 percent – in recent years due to habitat loss and fragmentation of the wetlands and upland habitat they need to survive. Places like State Natural Areas that are protected, undeveloped, and relatively undisturbed are some of the most important places for Wisconsin’s reptiles and amphibians. By helping protect the remaining habitat they are found in, we can help ensure that the massasauga and other rare reptiles and amphibians will remain in Wisconsin.

 

Blanchard's cricket frog. Photo by Rori Paloski, Wisconsin DNRBlanchard’s Cricket Frog

The endangered Blanchard’s cricket frog is a small tree frog that is rapidly vanishing from Wisconsin. The cause of decline is not confirmed, but likely includes habitat loss and chemical contamination from agricultural run-off and shoreline development. Scientists are trying to find out more about the Blanchard’s cricket frog, and rely on data collected by citizen scientists of the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey. By funding trainings and outreach efforts to help promote the Frog and Toad Survey and other citizen science surveys, our Foundation is working to increase the number of volunteers across the state who are collecting important data that are used to protect Wisconsin’s frog, toad, and other amphibian and reptile species.

Join Us

We hope you’ll join us in our effort to protect Wisconsin’s amphibian and reptiles!

Become a member of the Natural Resources Foundation to stay in touch about amphibian and reptile conservation in Wisconsin and help support our statewide efforts to protect them and their habitat.

Join us on a Field Trip! Our renowned Field Trip Program includes trips about turtles, snakes, frogs, and other amphibians and reptiles. Learn more about the ecology and lifecycle of these incredible creatures, and find out more about how you can get involved in conservation efforts.

Join a citizen science effort to monitor and better understand Wisconsin’s amphibians and reptiles. Projects such as the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey provide critical information to scientists and conservationists. Learn more by visiting the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey.

Take a Wisconsin Master Naturalist class to learn about Wisconsin’s natural heritage, and plug into a statewide network of informed citizens dedicated to conservation education and service.

Consider a Gift

You can support our work protecting frogs, turtles, snakes, salamanders, and other reptiles and amphibians, by donating to the Wisconsin Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Fund. Whether donating online or sending in a check, simply designate your gift to Wisconsin Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Fund.