John (JD) Kleopfer

Score one for the swamp thing.

Score one for the swamp thing.

Institution: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

My job: Swamp Thing Noodler

Real title: Herpetologist

Education: M.S. Environmental Science, Christopher Newport University

How I help save sallies: Through partnerships, education and research.

Best salamander story:  While working for the Virginia Living Museum as the Curator of Herpetology in the early 1990s, a woman brought into the museum a large brown salamander in a cup. It was Christmas time and the salamander had fallen out of the Christmas tree while they were setting it up. Based on its appearance, I knew the salamander wasn’t from Virginia, so I called the store where she bought the tree to find out where their trees came from. After finding out they received their trees from Oregon, I was able to identify the “hitch-hiker” as a Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile). The local news pick-up the story and so did the Associated Press. The press coverage assisted us in getting Northwest Airlines (no longer in service) to transport the salamander back to Oregon to be put on exhibit at the Oregon Zoo. The salamander didn’t just fly First Class; it flew in the cock-pit alongside the pilot.

One comment

  1. […] kids about all the critters that live on and around a farm – including salamanders! Kim and JD were at the annual Farm Field Day in Glade Spring, VA, where more than 300 local 6th graders […]

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