Reptiles and Amphibians of the Sierra Nevada

Dates: August 11-15, 2024
Instructor: Kevin Wiseman
Fee: $600.00 + meals and accommodations fees
Term: Summer 2024

Workshop Description

Course participants will be introduced to the identification, natural history, and field survey techniques of reptile and amphibian species of the Sierra Nevada. Curriculum will consist of a combination of lectures and lab examination of live and preserved specimens, in addition to daily field trips. Participants will gain hands-on experience with Foothill and Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frogs, California Red-legged Frogs, and Western Pond Turtles, in addition to many other species. All levels of interest and age are welcome.

Frog sitting on a granite rock

Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (Rana boylii) K. Wiseman

King snake on a mountain rock

Instructor Bio

Kevin Wiseman

Kevin Wiseman earned a BA in Integrative Biology with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at U.C. Berkeley in 2002. Since 1994 he has worked in various positions at the Department of Herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences, where he is currently a Field Associate. Kevin has been a consulting Herpetologist in San Francisco for the past 20 years where much of his fieldwork has focused on special-status amphibians in the northern Sierra Nevada and in the Bay Area. His current research is focused on several long-term ecological studies of foothill yellow-legged frogs and the feeding ecologies of California kingsnakes, Sierra garter snakes and a comparative diet study of sympatric lampropeltinine snakes in the Midwest. He is also an active artist and scientific illustrator and lover of all things natural history.You may contact Kevin at or check out his website

Picture: Sierra Nevada Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata) M. Ishimatsu

Workshop Details

Workshop Schedule

Plan to arrive at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus on Sunday evening by 5 p.m. for dinner. Introductions and orientation will take place that evening at 7:30 p.m. The class will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Monday following breakfast. Lectures, examination of live/preserved specimens and discussions will take place in the mornings after breakfast followed by daily field trips. The class will end at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug 15th.

Workshop Supplies List

Field gear

  • small notebook & pen/pencil
  • wading boots or shoes that can get wet
  • second pair of shoes/boots to keep dry
  • quick-dry pants
  • waders (optional)

Lodging and Camping Supplies

Camping gear if you are staying on campus:

  • tent and sleeping pad (unless you are staying in our tent with a cot provided)
  • warm sleeping bag
  • pillow, toiletries, and towel
  • flashlight and lantern
  • alarm clock

Field gear for everyone:

  • day pack
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellant
  • water bottles
  • plastic containers for packed lunches
  • sense of humor

You might also want to bring:

  • camera
  • binoculars
  • hand lens
  • camp chair


The weather in the Sierra Nevada can vary greatly, even in a single day. Be prepared for chilly temperatures at night, even below freezing early in the summer. Rain is a possibility any time, whether forecast or not. Variable weather clothing that can be layered is best: long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, warm sweater and jacket, t-shirt and shorts or skirt, sturdy shoes or hiking boots, sun hat, rain gear, and a warm hat or gloves for cold weather and/or night activities. And, if you come later in the season, bring your swimsuit for afternoon dips in the lakes!