North Carolina Herpetological Society History

The North Carolina Herpetological Society was founded in 1978 by a small group of individuals with a mutual

Timber Rattlesnake

interest in North Carolina herpetology.  Ray Ashton, then Director of Education at the North Carolina State Museum of Natural History (now North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences), is generally credited with being the Society's "founding father."  The first North Carolina Herpetological Conference was held on 13 May 1978. The meeting was organized by Ray Ashton and Alvin Braswell, and was attended by 126 persons.  A steering committee was appointed, with Dave Stephan elected chair.  The first issue of NC Herps appeared on 1 August 1978.  The NCHS Constitution was drawn up in late September and the first general meeting of the newly established North Carolina Herpetological Society was held on 11 November.  The Constitution and Bylaws were approved by the membership at that meeting, and a membership charter was established.  The first officers were elected in January 1979.  


The eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina) was voted the official North Carolina state reptile by the state legislature that year (thanks in part to Dave Stephan and NCHS), and a box turtle design by Mike Wood appeared as the unofficial logo on the first NCHS T-shirts in early 1980.  The current NCHS logo was modified from that original design and was accepted as the official logo in May of 1992.

NCHS logo

Currently housed under our non-profit status is Project Bog Turtle and Project Simus. Please read more about these two organizations on their individual pages under "Research" on the main menu.


Our Purpose


To work to perpetuate the conservation of amphibians and reptiles through education and dissemination of scientific information through the facilities of the Society.


To encourage conservation of the wildlife in general, and of amphibians and reptiles in particular.


To promote research in herpetology by sharing information among members and through cooperation with amateur and professional herpetologists.


To educate the public and members, and to exchange information and resources with other herpetological societies by means of a newsletter and specific activities such as field trips and lectures.