The 2017 symposium will be held in Bloomington, Minnesota October 20-22 hosted by the Minnesota Herpetological Society.
Who should attend?
EVERYONE! This is an annual weekend event for anyone interested in amphibians and reptiles. The main focus of every symposium is education, providing a wide array of speakers and topics. It is a chance for herpers to mingle in a relaxed social atmosphere, visit with old friends, make new acquaintances and share information and experiences.
What is it?
The Midwest Herpetological Symposium is an educational event hosted by regional herp societies. Typically, the festivities begin Friday night with a social Icebreaker as the attendees start to arrive at the hotel. Saturday opens with illustrated talks presented by local, regional and international speakers. After the last speaker there is a short break, followed by the banquet where more time is available for socializing. The after-dinner keynote speaker’s presentation is followed by an auction of items donated by individuals, vendors and societies. For most hosting societies, the auction provides funding for special projects or grants. Other activities such as workshops, tours, group sessions or vendor sales, including live animals can be planned for Sunday; depending on the host society’s interests.
What else do I need to know?
The registration fee of $50 to $125 for the weekend covers most of the events and there is usually an early registration discount. The banquet is a separate fee and is not required-if you do not want to attend the dinner. Hotel costs vary by location and special rates are normally available for Symposium attendees. Host societies usually provide an insert for the MHS newsletter to help get the word out to any interested people. This gives the potential attendee a chance to review the cost, location and speaker list. It contains all the registration information you need to get on your way. Car-pooling is a great way to share the traveling expenses. There usually are other activities nearby for those in your family that may not share you interest. Also, most hotels have a pool – great for the kids.
The symposium is normally held around the middle of October each year. Because this traveling symposium is hosted by a different regional herp society each year, some variation of the schedule may occur. At the end of the current symposium, representatives from each society meet to agree on the schedule for next three years. Many societies have hosted this event (see list), each putting their own touch to the weekend. Interested societies continue to join the rotation, taking the attendees to new places.
The first Midwest Herpetological Symposium was hosted by the Minnesota Herpetological Society on October 5, 1985 at the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota. Fran Frisch, then President of the MHS, thought the Midwest needed a regional herp symposium similar to the International Herpetological Symposiums so local people could attend. In less than one year, MHS volunteers succeeded in creating a one-day seminar! The attendance was a strong 85 people, mostly from Minnesota. The banquet was held at the Minnesota Zoological Gardens and included a presentation by Dr. Peter Pritchard and a tour of the new (at the time) zoo. After the success of the first Midwest, MHS encouraged other regional societies to join in the annual rotation to host the symposium. Each successive year increased interests as each hosting society expanded on the original concept. The members of MHS can be proud. We are well known for our dedicated Symposium ‘groupies’ who attend each year. Even at the farthest away locations, we have a good number of members attending. The Midwest Symposium is indeed our largest continuing and best-regarded contribution to herpetology and herpetoculture in the Midwest!
If interested in volunteering to help at the next MHS Midwest, please contact the President.