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Continuing Education for Natural Resource Professionals

Foundations of Ecological Monitoring in a Management Context (FEMMC)

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  • Describe technical aspects of ecological monitoring
  • Design and implement ecological monitoring programs
  • Demonstrate methodology for monitoring landscapes, communities, plant and animal population

Description: This workshop equips natural resource managers and program coordinators with the skills to design and implement ecological monitoring programs. The primary emphasis of this course is on design and methodology for monitoring landscapes, communities, and plant and animal populations.

The 5-day workshop is a combination of two Sound Science workshops, “Asking the Right Questions: Matching Management Goals, Measures of Success & Monitoring Objectives” and “Getting the Most from Your Monitoring: Fundamentals of Sampling Design, Monitoring Data Analysis, and Interpreting Results”. The 5-day workshop consists of 3.5 days of in-class instruction (lectures and exercises) and 1.5 days of field application.

This workshop is designed to present information necessary to meet the real-life monitoring and assessment needs of land managers in an effective learning environment. It focuses on concepts and methods readily applicable to a wide range of natural resource monitoring needs. The workshop provides an overview of all steps required for the scoping, planning, design, and implementation of monitoring programs. Through group and individual exercises, participants apply concepts to realistic monitoring scenarios including rare and endangered species, plant and animal populations, unique habitats, communities, and natural landscapes.

In addition to providing a solid foundation in the technical aspects of ecological monitoring, this course places those tools within the broader management context. Participants will benefit from the practical expertise of Sound Science’s instructors who, for more than 20 years, have assisted agencies and organizations in the design, implementation, and evaluation of monitoring programs. Course instructors have extensive experience designing programs that address site-specific needs, while overcoming the common challenge of constraints on time and resources. Sound Science instructors understand the competing priorities and organizational constraints typically placed on land managers. They are expert at finding creative, scientifically rigorous monitoring solutions that balance information needs with resource realities.

Agenda Overview:

Day Morning Afternoon
Day 1 Adaptive Management, Goals, Management Objectives, Organizing Monitoring Programs Conceptual Models, Sampling Design Issues for Monitoring
Day 2 Sampling Design, continued Analysis of monitoring data
Day 3 Field exercise Communities, Landscapes
Day 4 Full day field exercise (case study) Full day field exercise (case study)
Day 5 Discussion of field exercise Technology tools, Remote Sensing, Questionnaires and Opinion Surveys

Know Before Attending:
It is a good idea to be familiar with statistics BEFORE you arrive at the workshop. The cadre will help you with statistics, but, obviously, it will slow down learning the concepts of monitoring. Options for brushing up on your statistics knowledge:

  • Review our statistics page
  • Or check out statistics courses on For example, Khan Academy
  • Contact Shelly Witt to borrow a copy of the book "The Cartoon Guide to Statistics" by Larry Gonick.
    • All registered participants will be loaned the book at least 4 months prior to the workshop.
  • Pull out your old college statistics book - engage in some self tutoring

Knowing statistics before attending is highly recommended, because, after all, you want to get the most out of your time and money, right?!

Dates: 2015

Location: TBD

AgLearn Keywords: wo 2600 monitoring ecological

Registering in AgLearn

Registration Status: Request in AgLearn

Tuition: $1,250 Lodging and Meals are NOT included.

Agenda & Workshop Info | Related Readings | Local Area Services


Christine Wisnewski
Sound Science LLC
(703) 531-7359

Content/Lead Instructor:

David Maddox, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist
(202) 255-1124

Disclaimers | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Privacy Notice

Forest Service Continuing Education for Natural Resource Professionals
Author: Shelly Witt, National Continuing Education Coordinator,
WFW staff
Phone: 435-881-4203
Expires: none

Photo Credits

USDA Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
(202) 205-8333

 Last Modified: June 2013