Pre- and Post- Conference Symposia and Training

2019 Pre- and Post- Conference Workshops, Symposia and Trainings

Our Western Section Professional Development Committee has worked hard to develop a solid lineup of thought-provoking pre-conference events to be held just prior to our 2019 Annual Meeting.   Email our PDC Chair, Janine Payne, if you have any questions about these events.

R Bootcamp

  • Monday, February 4, 2019:  8:30am – 5:30pm
  • Requires separate registration fee.  Fee includes Monday box lunch.
  • Chair:  Mitchell Gritts, Nevada Department of Wildlife
  • Instructor:  Kevin Shoemaker
The main goal of this workshop will be to ensure participants have enough proficiency and confidence with data operations and programming in R to engage in productive, self-directed learning and problem-solving.  The workshop is primarily intended for participants with little prior experience with R, but may be useful for others as a refresher  – especially the second half of the workshop, which will delve into more advanced topics.  The first half will focus on R syntax, data management (loading data, writing to file), data summaries and visualizations, R packages (loading, getting help), and basic statistical operations.  The second half will focus on some more advanced programming operations (loops, functions, debugging etc.), vectorized operations (e.g., “apply()” operations), working with large data-sets.

The workshop consists of a series of short modules, each of which covers a particular skill (e.g., reading in data, writing functions).  Modules will include a quick introduction, a demonstration in R, and some short challenges for you to work through on your own (or with your neighbors!).  All code will be available as scripts that you can download from this website (at the top of each module page on this website) and load up in RStudio.  That way you won’t need to constantly copy and paste from the web!  More to come…

Fire Ecology & Forest Health in the 21st Century Symposium

  • February 4-5, 2019
  • Monday 1-6pm and Tuesday 8:30am-12:30pm
  • Requires separate registration fee.  Fee includes Monday dinner buffet and Tuesday box lunch.
  • Chair:  Sarah Sawyer, USFS
  • Link to Fire Ecology Program & Agenda-Updated Jan 29th

About the Symposium: This symposium will bring together scientists that specialize in fire ecology, forest ecology, and wildlife ecology to discuss the rapid and dramatic ecological changes we are experiencing and will likely experience this century. The symposium will focus largely on the Sierra Nevada Bioregion in which this year’s meeting will take place, and topics covered will include: the relevance of historical ecological context in a changing world; the effects of diversity (or a lack thereof) on ecological health, function, and communities; the future of fire in an era of mega-fires; and the implications of current rapid ecological change for wildlife conservation and ecosystem management. Panelists will discuss their new and ongoing research, as well as how they are working closely with management and conservation practitioners to help tackle current ecological challenges.

About the moderator: Dr. Sarah Sawyer is the Regional Wildlife Ecologist for the Pacific Southwest Region of the US Forest Service. She has been with the Forest Service since 2012 and her work involves supporting: science synthesis and science-management partnerships to inform wildlife conservation and natural resource management; development of land management plans and environmental monitoring programs; and integration of climate change vulnerability and adaptation into decision-making processes.  She received her PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley where she focused on wildlife ecology and habitat conservation in Cameroon.  She has worked in the US, Congo, Uganda, Cameroon, Guinea, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Haiti in wildlife conservation, forest and habitat management, and environmental monitoring.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Research Permitting Overview

  • Tuesday, February 5, 2019:  1-5pm
  • Requires separate registration fee
  • Speakers: Ona Alminas, Esther Burkett, Justin Garcia, with help from Kristin Wenzel

Scientific Collecting Permits (SCPs) authorize take for scientific, education, and propagation purposes for those wildlife species that are not listed as Candidate, Threatened, or Endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), and that are not Fully Protected. The appropriate mechanism to authorize take for scientific, education, or management purposes for such CESA, and Fully Protected species is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Both authorization types enable the public to engage in, and report back on, scientific research, education and propagation activities, where research and data collection help benefit the State’s wildlife resources.

The goal of this workshop is to inform and clarify for prospective applicants and renewing permitholders how CDFW issues these two research take authorizations. This workshop will increase proficiency for applicants and renewing permitholders for the application, renewing, and reporting stages for both SCPs and MOUs. For SCPs, this workshop will cover regulatory and procedural changes effective October 1, 2018 (Sections 650 and 703, Title 14, California Code of Regulations), including the new online Scientific Collecting Permit Portal (SCPP). It will also cover how to choose between General and Specific Use permit types, procedures for existing permitholders to amend SCPs issued under the old “legacy” process, as well as field notification and reporting procedures.

Specific topics to be covered:

  • New regulations changes from old regulations – Ona Alminas, CDFW
  • Wildlife SCPs, background, and do’s and don’ts – Justin Garcia, CDFW
  • CESA and Fully Protected MOUs – Esther Burkett, CDFW
  • SCPP walk-through/ technical assistance – attendees may bring their laptops – CDFW staff

Wilderness First Aid with Foster Calm – 16 hours – Cancelled due to low enrollment

  • Cancelled due to low enrollment – February 4-5, 2019
  • Monday 12-9pm and Tuesday 8am-6pm
  • Requires separate registration fee (fee includes Monday dinner buffet and Tuesday lunch)
  • Instructor:  Bobbie Foster, Foster Calm

foster-calmIn addition to a half-day of outdoor scenario practice of first aid and leadership skills, this class focuses on practicing skills and covering: patient assessment, shock and bleeding, head and spinal injuries, wounds, musculoskeletal injuries, heat and cold illnesses, and much more. Gain some good tools and knowledge to handle a wilderness first aid emergency. Successful completion of class includes a Wilderness First Aid certificate.

Classes are fun with lots of hands-on skills practice. The emphasis is on making good decisions by staying calm and safe, doing a good patient assessment, and having good communication and leadership. Join our classes, where it is safe to learn and OK to make mistakes.

Wildlife Biologist Construction Awareness Training (WildC.A.T.)

  • Tuesday, February 5, 2019:  12:30-4:30pmWildC.A.T. logo
  • Requires separate registration fee
  • Moderator:  Natalie Greer, AECOM
  • Link to agenda

Wildlife biologists are often called on to provide technical expertise and implement protective measures on construction sites, but they rarely receive practical training in environmental permits or safety as they enter the workforce. This half-day workshop provides an introduction to construction monitoring for recent graduates, early career professionals, and regular construction monitors, and will be taught by experienced wildlife biologists, construction personnel, and health and safety officers. Learn about the environmental permits that require construction monitoring, what to expect on construction job sites, situational awareness and health and safety basics, common environmental protection issues and Best Management Practices, effective communication techniques with construction crews, and useful tools of the trade. Upon completion of the workshop, attendees will receive a certificate of completion and helmet sticker that shows prospective employers and construction personnel in the field that they have attended WildC.A.T. training.

Here’s what last year’s workshop participants said:

“I really enjoyed the open and welcome interaction between the speakers and audience. The input from both sides is very helpful for one who is very new to the field of construction bio-monitoring.”

“I’ve been monitoring construction projects for years and some things were presented that I never thought about!”
“Excellent overview – with many helpful details – on the trade. This was a great introduction that covered all aspects well.”

Moderator Bio:  Natalie Greer is a wildlife biologist in Oakland, CA. She currently works for AECOM and her past jobs include positions with the National Park Service, amphibian research labs, nonprofits and with the conservation department at the San Francisco Zoo. Natalie can’t pick her favorite animal because she likes to study them all. While not nerding out on wildlife, Natalie likes hiking with her dog Lucas, taking day trips and spending time with her friends and family.

Yosemite Workshop:  Case Studies in Species Restorations at Yosemite

  • Friday, February 8, 2019:  1-4pm
  • Location:  Yosemite Valley, Colonial Room in the Majestic Hotel (formerly the Ahwahnee Hotel)
  • $20 Fee, [Limit: 25]
  • Chair, Rachel Mazur

Join Yosemite National Park biologists to learn about current efforts to restore four special-status wildlife species to the park. Those include Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, California red-legged frog, and Western pond turtle. The biologists will share each effort’s unique challenges and exciting opportunities. They will then encourage participants to consider what they would do at various decision points. This session may involve a field visit if weather permits.  If so, prepare for up to a two-mile walk over uneven, yet flat, terrain. Transportation on your own, and $35 park entrance fee required per vehicle. Use this form to arrange carpools with other attendees. More info coming soon on possible housing options in Yosemite Valley or at the Tenaya Lodge.