History of the East Texas Herpetological Society
About that time, Buzz Jehle moved to Houston from New England. Buzz was a snake collector, and one of his first stops was the zoo, where he learned about ETHS. He’d been a member of the Connecticut Herpetological Society, and he attended ETHS’ second meeting June 28, when Paul once again spoke, this time about an expedition to Peru.
Buzz would become membership secretary and then treasurer for 20 years – and counting.
By that second meeting, club membership – costing $10 for a regular member, $8 for students or $12 for families – had grown to 33 members, and the society had its first executive board following a June election: Russ was president, David was vice-president, Bill Dickens was treasurer, and Kim Swartz and Steven Godbe were secretaries and newsletter editors.
By their third meeting Aug. 18, the club had 40 members. Terry Hibbits, president of the North Texas Herpetological Society spoke about Texas reptiles and amphibians. Aligning with the society’s goals, member Stan Perkins wrote up several care sheets to give out to members, pet shops and pet owners.
On Oct. 1, 1989, at the society’s first board meeting, the board established an education board and decided to host a full-day conference to celebrate the club’s one-year anniversary in the spring.
That conference didn’t happen, though, “for a number of reasons,” according to the society’s December newsletter. They hoped to have it sometime in 1991.
On the ascent
In April 1990, Joe Furman’s entry was unanimously selected as the winner in the “Looking for a Logo” contest. The logo had a slitted snake eye inside a ring adorned with the society’s name.
At the May 13 board meeting, board positions were termed for two years. “This was done with the society’s best interests at heart and not to keep the officers in these prestigious and nationally envied positions,” Russ wrote.
The June 1990 meeting featured a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo’s reptile house, followed by a potluck dinner with nearly 50 members. Buzz became the membership secretary, Chris Stanton, Mark Dicello and David Sibler became raffle coordinators, and Sara Munson started doing marketing and press as the society continued to grow. That growth continued in September 1990, when the society’s Turtles and Tortoise Group had its first meeting to more fully educate ETHS members on the husbandry and propagation of those reptiles. They held bimonthly meetings alternating with the regular meetings.
With still no society conference in sight, the club on Oct. 20, 1990, cosponsored the Texas Herpetology Society’s annual fall meeting, held that year at the Houston Zoo. The full-day conference featured seven half-hour presentations, a behind-the-scenes tour of the reptile house, and an evening banquet with the keynote speaker, world-famous turtle authority Peter C.H. Pritchard of Florida.