The Bailey Collection

We are pleased to announce that the project to digitize Duke herpetologist Dr. Joe Bailey’s herpetofauna observations from the Duke Forest is now fully funded! Thank you to those of you who donated, including current and former citizen scientist volunteers, students of Dr. Bailey, and also Dr. Bailey’s children Patsy and Mick who were instrumental in seeing this project through the finish line. Thank you all! The work has begun. Stay tuned to this newsletter for updates!

This is a unique opportunity to make an impact on research, wildlife conservation, and citizen science efforts in Duke Forest.

Recently, the NC Museum of Natural Sciences brought to our attention a collection of herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) records from the Duke Forest collected by faculty member Dr. Joseph “Joe” Bailey between the 1960s and the 1980s. This collection consists of over 1,200 records, including a preserved voucher specimen for the Dwarf Waterdog in New Hope Creek – the only verified record for this species in Orange County!

From Velhagen, Jr., W.A. & Stewart, M. M. (2000). Joseph Randle Bailey. Copeia, 2000(1), 310-313.[0310:HPJRB]2.0.CO;2

The Bailey collection is critical to filling in gaps about our knowledge of “herps” in the Duke Forest, but alas, much of this information is found only on 3×5 inch note cards.


Dr. Bailey’s legacy at Duke and in the field of herpetology is huge. Your contribution can expand his impact by giving dormant data new lifeClick below to learn more about his legacy.


We need just $5,643 to make this project a reality.

Anything you donate through the link below helps ensure that the NC Museum of Natural History, Duke Forest researchers, managers, and citizen scientists, as well as the broader conservation and ecology community have access to this data in a useable form.

Your donation connects our current citizen scientists’ efforts to a larger ecological and conservation story, and it makes every observation more meaningful as our world changes.

Here are some questions that can be asked with your help.

  • Are there animals we don’t see anymore?
  • How have these animal populations responded to environmental changes?
  • What changes are the biggest drivers, e.g. climate, development, etc.?

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