The International Herpetological Symposium: Ideal For Teens

Question: Are there any national reptile meetings that you would recommend for a young person like me? I’m 15 years old.
Daniel Higgins, Joliet, Ill.

Mark Oseha at the International Herpetological Symposium

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2017 IHS speaker and world-renown herper Mark O’Shea demonstrates how to calm a nervous reptile — in this case, a newborn Mojave rattlesnake that was found outside the meeting hall.

Answer: The annual educational event (as opposed to herp expos that sell animals) you’d probably enjoy most is the International Herpetological Symposium (IHS). It bounces to a different venue every year, usually in the U.S. but occasionally outside, and always includes a mixed bag of talks and slideshows. The presentations range from those meant for amateur herpers to pros, and you can learn about many topics, from herpetoculture to pure science and taxonomy.  

2017 International herpetological society

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Russ Gurley (in black shirt) coordinates the IHS Junior Herpetologist Awards program every year. He is pictured with the 2017 winners and runners-up.

In July 2017 I attended the 40th anniversary IHS in Rodeo, New Mexico. The photos accompanying this column will give you an idea about a couple of the many things that were going on.

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