The 49th annual meeting of the Kansas Herpetological Society (KHS) will be held Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5-6 at Missouri Southern.
Dr. David Penning, associate professor of biology and environmental health, is the current KHS president and was instrumental in brining the conference to the Missouri side of the border.
“The president is primarily responsible for managing the conference, which is always the first weekend in November,” he said. “About every 10 years we can convince them to come over to Missouri for the conference, though it’s never far (from Kansas).”
Activities will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, in Billingsly Student Center’s Connor Ballroom. There will be a series of 15-minute presentations on a variety of topics, followed by a keynote address by Dr. Rulon Clark, an integrative biologist from San Diego State University. He will present “The Feeding Ecology and Hunting Behavior of Free-Ranging Rattlesnakes.” There will also be a paper and poster contest, with cash prizes for the winning entries.
There will be a social gathering with hors d’oeuvres and an auction at 7 p.m. in the North End Zone.
“KHS is a non-profit,” Penning said. “The goal of the auction is to raise funds for scholarships and grants, which are awarded to students.”
The entire event is student-driven, he said. The Missouri Southern chapter of the Wildlife Society has been instrumental in organizing the conference and soliciting donation items.
“Four or five of our students will be presenting during the conference, as well,” he said.
Sunday is earmarked as a “spillover” day, with another morning session for any presentations not offered on the first day of the conference.
The conference normally draws between 200-300 attendees. Cost to attend is $10 for students and $20 for the public. It is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about “amphibians, reptiles and the natural world,” said Penning.
“It’s an event filled with experts and laypeople alike to try to understand what we live next to as much as we can,” he said.