2016 Short Courses 

NACCB 2016 will offer most short courses and workshops to conference attendees on Saturday July 16th, Sunday July 17th, and Thursday July 21st. Schedule and costs will be available via registration. Stay tuned, and book your travel accordingly! *List subject to change

See the Online Scientific Program for Scheduling, Sign up for courses via Conference Registration until May 31.

SC3. Using the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation to Plan Effective Conservation Projects, Strengthen Grant Writing, and Communicate with Stakeholders

Organizer(s): Quinn Shurtliff, Wastren Advantage Inc.; James Goetz, Cornell Dept. of Natural Resources; Arlyne Johnson, Foundations of Success

Faced with growing and complex challenges and limited budgets, conservation professionals increasingly need to:

  • plan and prioritize actions so that projects are both effective and efficient,
  • identify and engage many disciplines and stakeholders to ensure that actions are well planned and implemented,
  • use evidence to measure and demonstrate progress, and
  • nimbly adapt actions in response to unexpected and rapidly changing conditions.

In other words, conservation professionals need to practice adaptive and results-based management (RBM); an approach that integrates project design, management, and monitoring, to systematically test assumptions, promote learning, and supply timely

information for management decisions. By learning and using an RBM framework, conservation practitioners will be better able to understand and communicate links among systems, disciplines and stakeholders for more efficient conservation interventions aimed at stemming biodiversity loss and maintaining ecosystem services for society.

The Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP), a consortium of numerous conservation organizations, serves as a leader in identifying better ways to design and manage conservation projects and measure conservation impacts. The CMP Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (Open Standards) provide a clear framework, useful tools, and guidance on applying RBM and are quickly becoming the industry standard for conservation project management.

Cost: $25 total for two day course

SC4. A Hands-on Short Course on Species Distribution Modeling in Conservation using R: From Start to Finish

Organizer(s)Adam B. Smith, Missouri Botanical Garden; Danielle S. Christianason, University of California, Berkeley

Species distribution models (SDMs) have had a profound effect on conservation management and planning. In this intensive one-day workshop, we will walk through the steps of modeling species’ distributions from “start” (data acquisition) to “finish” (a product generally sufficient for publication or use in a conservation plan). The workshop will revolve around a series of short exercises designed to teach best practices in each step in the modeling process: 1) data acquisition, cleaning, and de-biasing; 2) selection of study region extent; 3) model calibration; 4) model evaluation, data splitting, and null model analysis; and 5) modeling of rare or invasive species. We will use a “spiraled” curriculum in which exercises are repeated in an increasingly sophisticated manner with breaks for discussion.

Throughout the workshop we will emphasize the limits and strengths of SDMs, the distinction between ecological niche modeling and species distribution modeling, and differences between presence-only versus presence/absence modeling. Almost the entire workshop will be conducted in R since it provides all of the necessary tools for distribution modeling. Participants do not have to be experts in R to benefit fully from the course, but should know how to import and save data (e.g., CSV files), make basic plots, and manipulate data frames (refer to columns and subset). Participants should bring their own computer with R already installed. They will also need to have administrative access to the R folder to install packages.

The workshop will be led by Dr. Adam Smith and Danielle Christianson. Dr. Smith has taught similar workshops before at the North American Congress of the Society for Conservation Biology, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Kansas State University. Dr.

Christianson has expertise in fine-scale spatial modeling and state-of-the-art spatial statistics. Questions about the workshop content should be directed to Dr. Smith (adam.smith@mobot.org).

Cost: $25

SC9. Hierarchical Models for Conservation Biologists Made Easy

Organizer(s)Peter Solymos, Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, University of Alberta; Subhash R. Lele, Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Univ. Alberta

We aim this training course towards conservation professionals who need to understand and feel comfortable with modern statistical and computational tools used to address conservation issues. Conservation science needs to be transparent and credible to be able to make an impact and translate information and knowledge into action.

Communicating scientific methods and results require a full understanding of concepts, assumptions and implications. However, most ecological data used in conservation decision making are inherently noisy, both due to intrinsic stochasticity found in nature and extrinsic factors of the observation processes. We are often faced with the need to combine multiple studies across different spatial and temporal resolutions. Natural processes are often hierarchical. Missing data, measurement error, soft data provided by expert opinion need to be accommodated during the analysis. Data are often limited (rare species, emerging threats), thus small sample corrections are important for properly quantify uncertainty.

Hierarchical models are useful in such situations. Fitting these models to data, however, is difficult. Advances in the last couple of decades in statistical theory and software development have fortunately made the data analysis easier, although not trivial. In this course, we propose to introduce statistical and computational tools for the analysis of hierarchical models (including tools for small sample inference) specifically in the context of conservation issues.

We will teach both Bayesian and Likelihood based approaches to these models using freely available software developed by the tutors. By presenting both Bayesian and Likelihood based approaches participants will be able to go beyond the rhetorics of philosophy of statistics and use the tools with full understanding of their assumptions and implications. This will help ensure that when they use the statistical techniques, be they Bayesian or Frequentist, they will be able to explain and communicate the results to the managers and general public appropriately.

Cost: $30

Social Science Working Group Sponsored Courses

SC13. Applying Social Science Methods to Improve Conservation Outcomes

Organizer(s)Alia Dietsch, Ohio State University; Becky Thomas, Slippery Rock University; Diogo Veríssimo, Rare | Georgia State University

Conservation practitioners are increasingly relying on social science to help inform biodiversity management, policy, and decision-making. For example, information collected with social science methods can increase practitioner understanding of differences in social values and attitudes, which can then be used to anticipate responses to management decisions, enhance participation in conservation-related behaviors, or develop more effective outreach and education campaigns that garner support for conservation outcomes.

The purpose of this 1-day short course is to provide participants with training in the appropriateness of different methods to collect social science data. Benefits and limitations of different methodological approaches (quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods) will be discussed, and the instructors will illustrate key concepts using examples from experiences working with several state and federal government as well as non-government agencies entrusted with managing natural resources, such as public lands and wildlife. By the end of this course, participants will have a foundation for understanding different social science methods in various situations, and will be able to (1) inventory a conservation challenge, (2) select a tailored methodological approach, and (3) identify ways in which social science results can inform conservation actions, as well as communications with diverse audiences to generate behavior change. Understanding this diversity of audiences is important, as there is no homogenous “general public”. Therefore, we will conclude with examples from conservation marketing on how to influence target audiences to adopt more sustainable behaviors.

Cost: $35

Environmental Education Committee Sponsored Courses

SC18. Service Learning pedagogy for Educators and Practitioners: Improving Conservation Education and Capacity 

Organizer(s)Madosky, J, University of Tampa

This short course will focus on helping educators (at all levels) and practitioners develop service-learning collaborations focused on integrating conservation education and conservation action. Service-learning is a pedagogical tool that can help engage students and the public in learning about conservation science through hands-on projects that address conservation issues in their community. Service-learning can also provide practitioners with enhanced capacity to carry out conservation science or conservation action. This course will provide instruction in using service-learning pedagogy for both educators (at all levels) and practitioners interested in working with students or citizen scientists. Participants will leave the course with a potential collaborative project developed through small group discussion and enhanced by feedback from experienced service-learning leaders. No experience or prior knowledge of service-learning is needed!

This course will cover general principles of service-learning, unique relevance of service-learning to conservation biology, case-studies of service-learning in conservation, discussion of pitfalls and challenges in service-learning, and interactive development of service-learning activities unique to each participant. *Graduate students and anyone interested in learning more about service-learning pedagogy or increasing their organization’s conservation capacity are welcome!

Cost: $5

SC27. Interdisciplinary Conservation Education: Engaging Students for Action

Organizer(s)Martha Groom, University of Washington Bothell; Ana Luz Porzecanski, Center for Biodiversity Conservation, American Museum of Natural History

Conserving biological diversity requires diverse conservation practice and engagement. We need to bring in a much greater array of voices and life experiences into conservation efforts, and to diversify the nature of conservation practice itself. Currently, most conservation courses preach to the choir – people already engaged with the conservation mission. Conservation educators need help in re-designing their courses to more effectively attract and retain a greater diversity of student participants, and to develop student capacity for interdiscplinary conservation practice, and for communicating the value of conservation.

In this short course, we will present an entry into effective interdisciplinary teaching, and guide participants as they explore how to develop courses that attract a diversity of students and strengthen interdisciplinary conservation training. The course will be interactive, as participants share their ideas and teaching practices, while trying on new ideas and working through preliminary plans for course re-design. The two organizers will lead the group through a number of interactive exchanges, presentations, and hands-on activities, to share experiences in teaching conservation to a diverse student population, introduce the principles of course design and guide the participants as they prepare a plan for a new or revised conservation-related course of their own.

Cost: $0

Photo Credit: cc Richard Hurd

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