The scope of outreach and education that has been accomplished for the Lake Erie watersnake is probably one of our most outstanding achievements toward recovering this species.
Just prior to the Lake Erie watersnake being listed in 1999, an intensive education campaign was initiated by the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service focusing primarily on Lake Erie Island residents living with the snake.
'Water Snakes Welcome Here' (pictured to the right) signs and 'Save Our Snakes' pamphlets were the first materials to be created.
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 okay! At least this is Kristin's, aka "The Island Snake Lady's" attitude. 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?"
Overall, the majority of island residents support the conservation of the snake. Since 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!
Kristin Stanford and Megan Seymour from USFWS host an educational display during Historical Weekend on Put-in-Bay.