The scope of outreach and education that has
been accomplished for the Lake Erie Water
Snake is probably one of our most outstanding
achievements toward recovering this species.

Just prior to the Lake Erie Water Snake being
listed in 1999, an intensive education campaign
was initiated by The Ohio Division of Wildlife and
The USFWS focusing primarily on Lake Erie
Island residents living with the snake.

'Water Snakes Welcome Here' signs and 'Save
our Snakes' pamphlets (pictured below) were the
first materials to be created.
Kristin Stanford and Megan Seymour from USFWS host a educational
display during Historical Weekend on Put-in-Bay.
Are You an Island Resident and Want to
Request a 'Water Snakes Welcome' Sign for
Your Property??

"theislandsnakelady" But HURRY,
there are only a very few left!
Environmental adventure campers help the Island Snakelady to
record data for some LEWS captured on North Bass Island.
Overall, the majority of island residents
support the conservation of the snake.
Since the listing, many new outreach and
educational materials have been developed
and partnerships forged. The success story
of the LEWS is still being written and we
have much to do. Help us by educating
yourself and spreading the word!
More Relevant Outreach Publications
These signs and pamphlets were distributed to supportive islanders and were
posted at public parks to help educate visitors. However, not all island
residents have positive feelings regarding the LEWS. In fact, the response
from some island residents continues to be very negative.
But that's ok!
At least this is Kristin's, aka
She is constantly working with these folks
to better understand the frustrations and
fears concerning the LEWS.

"If we don't hear about the 'bad', how can we
possibly learn to make it better."
Click Here to Help  Preserve
Habitat for the Lake Erie
Water Snake!
Show Some RESPECT!
Click here to find out how!
What....Didn't you hear?
Working with LEWS is a
Dirty Job!
Check it out!
When I was a 6 years old and on a summer visit to my aunt's, I came face-to-face
with a creature that I'd never seen before: a garter snake. When this scaly animal
uncoiled itself like an unraveling turban and moved its long body deeper into my
aunt's woodpile without the aid of legs, I may as well have been discovering a
new life form. And when it slipped back into the stack of firewood as quickly as it
had appeared, I panicked.
I picked up the heavy logs and heaved them behind me until the layer of mud
and detritus beneath was within reach. And there, amid the spiderwebs and
abandoned cocoons, was my new friend. With no preconceived notions to guide
me, I reached out and gently grabbed ahold of its coiled lower body. And it did
the same, gliding over my wrist and "grabbing" onto my forearm with its upper
body. Scared and exhilarated at the same time, I proudly took it inside, where,
naturally, my aunt was less enthusiastic about my discovery. "GET RID OF IT!"
she screamed. There I was, a trembling, 3-foot-tall city boy utterly ignorant about
the wild animal that was wrapped around my arm and inspiring such fear in my
aunt. Somehow, amid the mayhem, she pried the snake off my arm and we put it
back in the yard. That was the day I became a naturalist.

For the next 2 years I kept tabs on the snake as she lived her life.  I learned
about love and passion and birth and predation from her. Eventually, I wouldn't
need to capture her to get an up-close look - I respected her space and she
stopped fleeing at the site of me.  One day, as I watched her bask in the sun 4
feet from where I lay on my belly with my chin resting in my hands, I saw a sharp
flash of metal and heard a sickening thud.  The next thing I knew, she had been
ripped in two, each half of her body flying in opposite directions as she helplessly
bit at the air. When I looked up from the carnage, I saw the man who lived next
door, shovel in hand and a stern, satisfied look on his face.

That was the day I became a conservationist.

From Jeff Corwin's book 100 Heartbeats