Pre-Conference Workshops

2020 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 2020 Annual Meeting.   Email our PDC Chair, Janine Payne, if you have any questions about these events.

How to Effectively Engage with Policymakers – Lessons Learned at the Federal and State Level
  • Tuesday, February 4, 2020 – 9:30am-12:00pm
  • Requires separate registration fee. Rates start at $20.
  • Co-Chairs:  Caroline Murphy, TWS Government Relations Manager.  Jen Newmark, Nevada Deptartment of Wildlife

Check back soon for more information!

Helping Science Inform Policy Workshop  – Tools for Engaging State-Level Leaders
  • Monday, February 3, 2020: 1-5pm
  • Requires separate registration fee.  Rates start at $75.
  • Chair:  Ben Landis, Creative Externalities, Designing Lasting Impact for Science, Environment, and Society.  Co-Instructor to be announced.

How can wildlife researchers best translate their expertise into policy advice or policy proposals? Sign up for our #SciPolComm workshop at the TWS Western Section Annual Meeting in February!

Led by instructors with federal and state government experience, this interactive workshop is tailored for anyone new to policy engagement. Focusing on California policymaking as an example, participants will get a primer on how ideas become law in the State of California, and how legislators seek out technical advice. The workshop will culminate in a “Pitch Your Bill” activity to put lessons learned into practice.

Come learn about relevant committees, deadlines, and briefing formats, along with pitfalls to avoid and keys to successful engagement. What nuances and processes must researchers understand to best communicate and engage with policymaker audiences? Why are certain seasons of the year better for pitching bill ideas to state lawmakers? Focus is placed on understanding the difference between advice versus advocacy — a nuance critical to successful policy engagement.

There is a role for wildlife and conservation science to inform public policymaking — sign up for the #SciPolComm workshop and grow your professional toolkit. Bring your ideas, and leave with a deeper awareness on how to translate your expertise to inform public policy!

Ben Young Landis is a writer, creative consultant, and trainer who designs lasting impact for science, environment, and society. He has led scicomm workshops and appeared on panels at UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and Duke University, and his work has served institutions such as the California Council on Science and Technology, SETAC North America, and Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Honor Society. Landis received a B.A. in Evolution and Ecology from UC Davis, a Master’s in Environmental Management from Duke University, and he was awarded a AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship in 2009, working at the Orange County Register as a science journalist. Ben also received the NOAA Walter B. Jones Sr. Memorial Award for Excellence in Coastal and Marine Graduate Studies in 2010.

Ben’s academic roots spanned aquatic ecology, macroinvertebrate bioassessment, fish biology, and water resources management. However, his career since has specialized in the communication of science, environment, and society. Notably, he served as Science Communicator for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center from 2010 to 2015, where he covered endangered species, methylmercury, fire ecology, road ecology, energy and wildlife, habitat restoration, and other research across California, Nevada, and the Pacific, engaging with the TWS Annual Meeting and TWS Western Section and Sac-Shasta Chapter events in the process. Ben is a Board Member of the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (NorCal SETAC), and he also founded the Capital Science Communicators (@CapSciComm) professional network in 2013 in Sacramento and serves as its executive co-chair.

R Bootcamp
  • Monday, February 3, 2019:  8:30am – 5:30pm
  • Requires separate registration fee.  Rates start at $80.
  • Chair:  Mitchell Gritts, Nevada Department of Wildlife
  • Instructor:  Kevin Shoemaker, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno
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…

Wilderness First Aid with Foster Calm – 16 hours 
  • Bobbie Foster is retiring!  This is the last class at a TWS-WS meeting!
  • Monday and Tuesday, February 3-4, 2020 – 8am-5pm
  • Requires separate registration fee.  Rates start at $140.
  • 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 4, 2020:  8:00am-12:00pmWildC.A.T. logo
  • Requires separate registration fee.  Rates start at $70.
  • Moderator:  Natalie Greer, AECOM

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.