How to Get Involved with MARA

Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas

How to Get Involved with MARA

MARA Observer: Email photos and location (street address or nearest intersection) of any amphibian or reptile encountered directly to the statewide coordinator at gro.erutandnalyramnull@mahgninnuch. These may be animals you encounter at your home, crossing the road, or while walking around a neighborhood park. Photos of remains (roadkill) and the shed skins of snakes can be included in the Atlas.

MARA Surveyor: Contact your County Coordinator about areas in your county that need surveys. Volunteer to survey the block or quad in which you live. The following description of the MARA methods talks in more detail about what is involved with signing up to be a MARA Surveyor.


MARA Methods-The Basics

Quads & Blocks

The Atlas divides Maryland into a grid using widely available standard maps called ‘Quadrangles’ or ‘Quads’. Quads are further divided into six blocks that are 10 square miles each.

FREE Google Earth layers make determining your quad and block location a snap! Simply enter the location of the herp sighting then click anywhere in the surrounding area and the quad and block names will “pop-up”.

Layers and instructions for download, installation, and use are available from the Resources section of this website.




MARA Datasheet & Verification Forms

Record all your MARA data on the official MARA datasheet available from the Resources section. The block datasheet is the most important aspect of the atlas project. The datasheet contains all amphibian and reptile observations for one person within a single block per year.  Fill out one datasheet per atlas block. On the front of the datasheet record the year, quad, block, and observer. There are separate columns for the date, location within the block, and number of observers. There are also separate columns to differentiate between incidental sightings versus those made while actively searching for amphibians and reptiles.



Photographs, Videos, & Recordings

We do encourage photos of all individuals, remains, or shed snake skins encountered. Photos are needed to verify identification. For species marked with an asterisk on the datasheet a photo is required in addition to the MARA verification form (also available in the Resources section). Species with an asterisk are rare species and/or those that are often difficult to identify.

We also accept recordings and videos of species. Quicktime (.mov) for video, and MP3 audio recordings are the preferred file formats.

Submitting Data

Each county in Maryland is assigned one or more MARA county coordinators. Data may be submitted (email or regular mail) to either your county coordinator or the statewide coordinator. Electronic datasheets and templates are available for download in the Resources section.

Data from incidental sightings may be emailed directly to the county coordinator or statewide coordinator (gro.erutandnalyramnull@mahgninnuch). Be sure to include the date of the sighting, location (street address or nearest intersection), any photos taken, and any additional information about the animal.

More detail on MARA methods, identification tips, and survey techniques is available in the MARA handbook. Download it now!

To find out how YOU can help:

Contact the Statewide Coordinator
Heather Cunningham, Ph.D
Tel: 443-434-3166


Check out the Resources and County Coordinator sections of this website.


Join the Natural History Society of Maryland Meetup Group Site and help us plan searches in your area: