CHS Annual Conference

Annual conferences are usually held on a Friday evening to Monday in early to mid-September. Each year, conferences are held at a different location across Canada.

Members are encouraged to give presentations or submit posters on all aspects of herpetological conservation (e.g. stewardship projects, population management, education) and research (e.g. population dynamics, genetics, disease). Some annual general conferences will have symposia or workshops that address specific issues relevant to amphibian and reptile research and conservation.

Conferences are accompanied with a field trip, usually on the Monday. The Field trip provides members with an exciting opportunity to see and learn about local species and their habitat.

If you would like more information on the annual conferences and are not on the CHS mailing list, please send your questions, as well as your e-mail and telephone number to the .



2018 CHS Conference

The 2018 Canadian Herpetological Society will be held at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia from Friday September 21st to Monday September 24th.

The conference will kick-start with a wine and cheese on Friday Sept. 21st, followed by platform and poster presentations on Saturday Sept. 22 and Sunday Sept. 23, and will wrap up with a field trip on Monday Sept. 24th. The CHS banquet, awards presentation and trivia will be held on the evening of Saturday Sept. 22nd.

Additional information about the 2018 conference will be posted on this page as it becomes available, and it will also be shared via our membership e-mail and Facebook page.

Useful Documents

Poster Presentations

Poster presenters should format their poster to be 24″ x 36″ in dimension, in ‘portrait’ orientation (i.e. 36″ tall, 24″ wide). Posters may be displayed all day Saturday and Sunday morning if so-desired, although the official poster session will be on Saturday afternoon, prior to the bandquet. During this time, presenters are expected to attend their posters. Any questions or concerns can be directed to .

BC Herpetofauna and Roads Workshop

On Friday (September 21) immediately preceding the CHS conference, the BC Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy and BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are hosting a BC Herpetofauna and Roads Workshop. As in other parts of Canada, road mortality affects amphibians and reptiles in British Columbia — it has been identified as the greatest threat to at-risk snake species in the interior and as a moderate to high threat to many amphibian species. Research has demonstrated that road mortality can extirpate local populations. This will be the second such BC workshop held on this topic, and it will bring together academics, qualified professionals, and Ministry staff to learn about road mortality issues, share unpublished research, and work together toward more effective solutions.

Although the focus will be on BC, this workshop is open to all attending the CHS conference. It will be of particular interest to people keen on contributing to the development of solutions that are effective in reducing road impacts on herpetofauna, while being logistically feasible for the transportation industry. The workshop will be broken into two parts: The morning session will consist of presentations highlighting the impacts of roads on herpetofauna, current mitigation efforts, and effectiveness monitoring programs. The afternoon session will focus on developing effective solutions. Individuals who sign up for the workshop will be expected to review the draft Best Management Practices document currently being developed in BC prior to the workshop. The draft will be available for review in mid August. Registration for the workshop can be stand-alone or added on to the main conference package during the registration process. Workshop participants are encouraged to stay on for the entire CHS conference, but for those not able to do so, participation in the Friday night ‘ice-break social’ is strongly encouraged.

Field Trips

As per tradition surrounding the CHS meeting, field trips will be available for those wanting to stay an extra day (but sign-up must occur at the time of registration). Pickup will occur on campus and the two host hotels. We are planning for two variations on mini-van field tours around Kamloops:

  1. For those wanting a challenging hike, we will make an effort to visit a rattlesnake den (with viewing from a distance, in respect of the animals). Those electing to go on this must be quite fit and capable of scrambling across talus slopes and boulders, both uphill and down. Factor in at least a 45 minute hike uphill. In addition to good boots, a large water bottle, and a hat (if it’s hot), protective gloves of some sort are not a bad idea in case one stumbles and/or needs to clamber over talus or other sharp rocks. Please realize that this outing only will occur in dry weather (a fairly safe bet in Kamloops) as climbing over wet rocks is dicey. We humbly request that photographs inadvertently revealing den location(s) are not posted to social media. Also, we cannot predict whether the rattlesnakes will have started their fall migration back to the dens by the time of the conference. We will be monitoring this up as the conference draws closer to hedge our bets and follow more of the second option if need be.
  2. For those people wanting to cover a bit more of the region, we also will arrange more of a ‘natural history’ driving tour with numerous stops and short (but far less challenging) hikes. Herps will be a top priority (like painted turtles, if they are still basking) but a bit of birdwatching and perhaps a camera hunt for bighorn sheep will be scheduled. If the sockeye salmon run has started, we may be able to spot them as well.

All participants on the field trip will need to bring a lunch and plenty of water. The conference’s food services can prepare a box lunch for those ordering ahead of time (see registration form); otherwise, participants are responsible for bringing their own lunch.

At approximately 3:30 PM, all field trip vehicles will rendezvous at the Monte Creek Winery for a tasting of local wine and other products (tasting fee is built into the field trip costs). We should have everyone back at their hotel or the TRU campus by 6:00 PM at the latest.

Short summary: Two variations on field trips will take place on the Monday (September 24th) following the conference. Weather and conditions permitting, one will include a reasonably vigorous hike/clamber to a rattlesnake den, whereas the other will focus on seeing a wider range of ecosystems and wildlife with much shorter and more comfortable hikes. For more details or to discuss the options, email .

Ecosystem, Weather, Climate & Wildlife

Kamloops at the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers, within in the interior arid-grasslands of British Columbia. This results in a flora and fauna not widely found in the province, much less in Canada. Go through the BC government portal to access more information on the local herpetiles.

Because of the mountainous terrain, any increase in elevation quickly takes one out of the arid grassland valley bottoms (sagebrush, cacti, etc.) and into taller grasslands, then dry forests, and finally up into mountainous forests. This means a large diversity of wildlife can be found within a short drive of downtown Kamloops. Gophersnakes, racers and Western Terrestrial Gartersnakes frequently are seen on campus. Likely due to persecution, rattlesnakes now are found only on the north side of South Thompson and Thompson Rivers (i.e., you won’t bump into one if you go for a stroll off campus). Spadefoots are around, but extremely hard to find outside of the breeding season.

As befits an ‘arid ecosystem’, the climate in Kamloops normally is quite hot during the summer months, and even into September. Check the weather forecast before you leave home, as the temperature in Kamloops during the time of the conference could be in the mid-30s (°C) or cooler weather signaling the onset of autumn could be arriving.

Host Hotels

Our two official host hotels are Best Western Plus (quote group code CHCONF) and Ramada Kamloops (quote group code CH5677). Both are located on Columbia Street, approximately a 12–15 minute walk (some uphill) to the TRU Campus. Rooms have been set aside for our event until August 31st. Other hotels are located in the same general area.

Arriving in Kamloops

Although Kamloops’ population is just under 100,000, the topography of the area and the confluence of two major rivers makes the city spatially very large. The airport is located in ‘North Kamloops’ at a considerable distance from campus: a taxi ride to TRU or the host hotels can run >$40. Another alternative form of transportation is the Kamloops Airport Shuttle service which you should book ahead of time.

Westjet, Air Canada and Central Mountain Air all serve Kamloops, but book your tickets ahead of time to ensure you get an appropriate arrival time. If you are arriving at the airport and renting a car, just follow Tranquille Road out of the main airport exit, and stay on that until it turns into Fortune Drive. Stay on Fortune until you cross the Thompson Rivers, and then take the immediate right-hand exit which will put you on Summit Drive and lead you up the hill to the university and hotel area.

If you are driving into Kamloops, you will arrive in one of three directions:

Parking on the TRU Campus

For those of you participating in the Friday Roads & Herps Workshop, you will be battling students for parking spots, so arrive early if possible. See the campus map for the recommended location for parking (also the cheapest). This same lot can be used on Saturday and Sunday for the CHS Meeting, but parking is more widely available on weekends.

Eating in Kamloops

Kamloops has a lot of restaurants (sushi restaurants in particular seem to be everywhere!). The downtown area (100–400 blocks of Lansdown, Victoria, and Seymour) host many ethnic restaurants as well as the familiar chains. If you are staying at the host hotels and lack a vehicle, there are several good restaurants within walking distance or a short drive (we assume everyone will check on line to find the specific locations). Here are some that our local committee favours:

Eating at the conference

Coffee and tea will be available first thing on Saturday and Sunday mornings, followed by more standard coffee breaks in mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

BC Roads & Herps Workshop (Friday)

To facilitate a productive workshop, lunch (sandwiches, wraps and canned beverages) will be provided as part of your registration in the R&H Workshop.

Optional lunches for the CHS meeting.

TRU, like many mid-sized campuses, does not have a good selection of food outlets open on the weekends. If you have a vehicle, you should be able to get to a restaurant and back during the lunch breaks (if you don’t dilly-dally). To walk somewhere for lunch (like Brown’s Social House or the Subway just off campus) will require a brisk pace. If you want to relax more during the break (and eat on the patio off of the conference room, or stroll outside — weather permitting) we are offering an optional buffet lunch for conference delegates to make things simpler (but this must be booked in advance of the conference during the registration process!).

On Saturday, the optional lunch will consist of lasagna, salad, and canned beverages. On Sunday, it will be sandwichs, wraps and canned beverages.

Friday Night Social – The Den Pub (in the Campus Activity Centre Building, 2nd floor).

Appetizers/finger-food and local beer will be served at the Friday Night Social for those selecting this option as part of their registration package. The pub’s kitchen will also be open for anyone wanting to personally order something more substantial to eat.

Saturday Night Banquet – also in The Den Pub.

The banquet ticket will cover a ‘mesa-style’ dinner, consisting of salad, a herb-rice pilaf, a pasta, a specially-prepared chicken breast, vegetables and desert. Vegan and gluten-free options will be available. Other special dietary requirements should be stipulated ‘up front’ at registration time, and every effort will be made to accomodate them. Frank Ritcey, local natural historian prodigialis and provincial WildSafe BC Coordinator, will provide the dinner entertainment in the form of a slide show featuring his amazing collection of wildlife videos and photographs (and Frank is a die-hard herpetology enthusiast as well, so plenty of herp footage).