Entering Data using the Submission Form
Please read the following instructions and explanations for submitting a record to the MHA. Sorry, it's a fair bit to read, but for the online database and mapping system to function properly it is VERY IMPORTANT that the information is entered correctly.
If you're familiar with the process skip directly to the Record Submission Form below.
Submission Form Instructions:
What to submit?
Please enter a separate record for each species encountered at each separate location. For example: if you're at a pond in spring and there are 3 species of frogs calling, enter a record for each species calling at that site. If you visit three different ponds and each has the same species of frog calling, enter three separate records. Each record should be about one species at a particular location. Numbers of that species at the site or other pertinent information can be included in the appropriate form fields.
Should I submit a report every time I see something?
The short answer is YES. As this project is just getting going we're anxious for ALL the data we can get on ALL Manitoba's herps. We'll worry about what to do with "too much data" later on, if that problem ever arises. At some point in the future we may have to encourage people to limit or standardize the numbers of reports they make of certain species in certain locations (eg: chorus frogs records from Winnipeg), but it's important to remember that we need to keep recording the presence of herps year after year. So remember, no record is too trivial to submit and the only record that's no good is the one you don't submit!
Using the Form
There are required fields, those with a red asterisk (*), that must be completed on the form. If the Submit Button is clicked without all required fields filled in, or with an incorrect email address, the form will not be sent and you will be requested to complete the form and re-submit it. If you return to the form as requested the fields will be re-populated with the information you've already typed in, so you won't lose any lengthy text fields. To make multiple record submissions you may have to refresh your browser or make certain that you re-enter data in all the fields as the form and your browser may keep your previous record in memory.
Submit Data as a Spreadsheet
If you will be collecting many records over the entire season or have existing data that you'd like to submit you may wish to fill out a spreadsheet and submit the file. A spreadsheet template can be downloaded from this link: MHA Data Spreadsheet (instructions included). The information gathered (data fields) will be the same as those for the submission form below, so please review the instructions below.
MHA Contact List
If you would like to be added to the mailing list to receive information and updates regarding the MHA then click this email link: Add me to the MHA contact list. Please state that you would like to be added to our contact list. We want to encourage the development of a province-wide network of observers and want to keep people appraised of what's going on, and what herps are out and active, etc. Your email address will not be made public, but may ultimately be available to other MHA volunteers so that people can network with one-another. [We're also working on a Face Book page (link coming soon) to help keep things coordinated.]
Specific Form Fields
Tell us what species you saw or heard from the drop-down list. If you're not 100% certain, mention this in the comments field. You can give a description of what you saw or heard, or send a picture, and let us try to figure it out. (If you're not sure what species you saw or heard contact us from the Herps Tip Line page.) And remember, you can't identify Gray Treefrogs without hearing their calls, so just use Unidentified Treefrog from the drop-down list for a visual record.
What are the three most important things about a herp record: location, location, location! Include a description of the location based on general landmarks (eg: the north end of Red Rock Lake, Whiteshell Park) or proximity to a town, community, or along a roadway (eg: 1 km north of Killarney, or 1 mi. east of Hwy 212 on Hwy 15). Here you you can include other location formats if you like (legal land description: section, township, range; GPS waypoint, UTM map coordinates, etc.). This text description is IMPORTANT, it will be used to confirm the accuracy of the Lat/Long coordinates you provide.
Location (Latitude / Longitude)
You can use the MHA Google Maps link below to determine the exact Latitude/Longitude for your record in decimal degrees (eg: 49.895514,-97.138476, this is the intersection of Portage Ave. and Main St. in Winnipeg). The link opens a new tab or window in your browser and there are instructions for determining Lat/Long on the map page. If you have GPS waypoints most GPS programs will allow you to convert them to the decimal degrees format, the same as you would get from the Google Maps page, or you can import them into Google Earth and convert them into the desired format. Yes, it's a bit of a nuisance to do all this, but gathering location information is what this project is all about!
When the information is displayed in the data viewing pages the exact Lat/Long location for certain records will NOT be shown to protect sensitive locations or species. Precise locations for Prairie Skinks (Endangered) and specific research sites will be available only to authorized individuals.
** P.S. The Google Maps function usually requires high-speed internet access! If you are entering data from a dial-up connection and cannot get the Google Map to function, then please enter 0.00 and 0.00 for the Lat/Long and give us the location information in the Location Description field. **
Date and Time of Observation (Date, Time)
Time of year and time of day are important bits of information to determine seasonal and daily patterns of behaviour in herps. Please enter dates numerically as YYYY-MM-DD (eg: April 15, 2011 would be entered as 2011-04-15) and time as HH:MM, using 0 to 24 hrs, not am. vs. pm. (eg: 08:45, or 23:19).
Contact Information (Name, Email, Phone #, Nickname)
We need your name and some way of contacting you if more information is needed about the record you're submitting. We may want to verify your sighting if it is of a species of particular interest or represents a significant range extension for a species. Your contact information WILL NOT be displayed on the MHA online database or anywhere on this website! Only authorized researchers will have access to your name, email or phone number. Please enter a nickname or initials that WILL APPEAR in the public database along with any records that you submit. If you wish to have your name listed along with all your records in the public database, then enter it into the Nickname field. Please use the same nickname for all records that you submit.
If you can distinguish the sex of the herp then click the appropriate radio button, if not then select the unknown button. If there are males and females present at the same location select both.
Type of Record
Tell us whether you saw (visual) or heard (auditory) a herp or did both (both). Click the appropriate button.
If you hear mating calls of frogs or toads and can distinguish all the individual males calling; i.e: the calls are separate, then select the "Calls Not Overlapping" button. If you can distinguish some individuals calling, but some are overlapping select the "Some Overlap in Calls" button. If the chorus of males is continuous and you cannot distinguish individual males select the "Calls Overlapping" button. Enter "NA" (Not Applicable) for "Visual" records.
Enter the number of herps you encountered, as a number or in word form. An estimate is fine. Did you encounter a number of herps all at one site, or did you encounter several at different times while in one general area? (eg: Finding several Leopard Frogs as you walk around one pond should be reported as one record.)
Is your record of an adult, of eggs, or larvae (tadpoles) or of a juvenile? Amphibians have a larval stage, often called a tadpole, that is physically distinct from their adult form. Reptiles hatch from eggs or are born live in their adult form, only smaller. Young reptiles should be recorded as juveniles. Young (smaller) amphibians that have transformed to their adult body form should also be recorded as juveniles. If you have collected any morphometric information (measurements: lengths, weights, etc.) you can include that in the Comments field, too.
Briefly describe the general and immediate habitat where you saw or heard a herp. Was it in a forest, grassland, roadside ditch, crop field, edge of a marsh, or in a lake? Was the animal in a clearing, on a trail, at the water's edge, under a log, etc.?
Fill in any other information you think is worthwhile. You can provide a detailed description of the critter. Did you note any particular behaviour? Were there large numbers of individuals of a species around? Did you see a herp eating something or something eating a herp? Did you find eggs or larvae? Feel free to mention anything you think might be important.
Send an Image or Audio Recording
If you want to send in a photograph, please do, but remember to reduce the file size to less than 500 Kb by resizing or resampling the image. Please do not attach large raw files directly from a digital camera. These may be 3 - 6 Mb in size! And save/export the image(s) as JPEG or PNG format (*.jpg, *.JPG, *.jpeg, *.JPEG, *.png, *.PNG). The form will only accept files up to 500 Kb with those file extensions.
Any image editing software, such as Photoshop, Corel Photo-Paint, Microsoft Paint, etc., will let you reduce an image to a file size small enough to email. Just be sure to save it as a new image, don't overwrite your original.
If you want to send an audio recording you must convert the file to mp3 format. Most devices now record audio as mp3 files and most media players can convert audio files if they are not in mp3 format. The file size must be less than 500 Kb and the file extension must end in .mp3 or .MP3.
Troubleshooting the Form
If you experience any difficulties with uploading files or any other aspect of the submission form, please contact us at: Contact MHA.
Submit a Herp Record to the MHA
Please fill in all the required fields, those with a red asterisk (*). Then click the Submit Record button at the bottom of the page.