Training Courses

Pre-conference training courses will be offered on Saturday, October 5 and Sunday, October 6. See below for course options. Each course will run for one full day (approx. 8am-5pm) and require a separate registration fee of $125. This fee includes transportation to and from downtown Madison, box lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments, and all course materials. Training courses are open to conference attendees as well as accompanying partners, and those interested in participating can sign up through the online registration form at the time they register for the conference.

Note:  Participants must register online in advance, as courses are scheduled to take place before onsite registration opens.

Course Venues

University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum
1207 Seminole Highway 
Madison, WI 53711

The Pyle Center
702 Langdon Street 
Madison, WI 53706


Buses will pick up course participants on both mornings at The Madison Concourse Hotel, Wisconsin Union and University Inn and drop them off at the two course venues. Transportation back to each of the three hotels will then be provided in the evening. See the Accommodations page for a map showing these locations.

More specific information about departure/return times and other logistics will be posted as the conference draws nearer.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Restoring Pollinator Habitat in Parklands, Agro-Ecosystems, and Urban Landscapes
Course Leaders: Jennifer Hopwood, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum)
Venue: University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum
Cost: $125

The ecological service that pollinators provide is necessary for the reproduction of more than 85 percent of the world’s flowering plants. Pollinator insects are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems, directly producing the fruits and seeds that comprise more than 25% of bird and mammal diets. In many places, the essential service of pollination is at risk from habitat loss and land use practices. These threats can be mitigated by incorporating pollinator habitat restoration efforts into all landscapes. This groundbreaking day-long course is designed to train restoration professionals in the latest science-based methods for understanding native pollinator (especially native bee) ecology, and restoring and managing pollinator habitat. Throughout the course, restoration concepts are illustrated by case studies of pollinator conservation efforts from across the country.

Invasive Species Above and Below Ground in the Upper Midwest: Identification, Control, and Global Implications for Ecological Restoration
Course Leaders: Ellen Jacquart, The Nature Conservancy-Indiana Field Office;
Kelly Kearns, Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources
Venue: University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum
Cost: $125

Invasive species management is a ubiquitous aspect of most restoration efforts. This full day training course will be useful to attendees from any part of the world. It will cover identification and control methods for both common and early detection woody and herbaceous invasive plants in the region. Participants will use GPS units, smartphone applications and an online mapping program to record and map invasive plants. They will work in teams to create a brief management plan for the study site, getting experience with prioritizing species to control and areas to focus on, and developing realistic plans based on the limited resources typically available. All restorationists need to understand how soil and its biota affect aboveground growth. Participants will learn about the invasive European earthworms that are transforming forests of the glaciated regions of North America. They will use a simple, quick and inexpensive technique to survey earthworms in the field. As preventing the spread of invasives is critical to restoration, they will learn about practices that were developed with – and have been embraced by stakeholders in forestry, transportation, utilities, outdoor recreation and the green industry. Where appropriate we will highlight the implications of the experiences learned in the Midwest for invasive species control in other parts of the world. This course will be a mix of classroom and field components and will include opportunities to see both successful and failed results of specific control methods and to show the importance of effective invasive species management for ecological restoration.

Restoration Project Planning, Design and Evaluation
This course has been cancelled due to the US Federal Government shutdown.
Course Leaders: Pam Kylstra, NOAA Coastal Services Center; Nina Garfield, NOAA Estuarine Reserves Division
Venue: The Pyle Center
Cost: $125

Have you ever implemented a restoration project that didn’t quite meet its intended outcomes? (Be honest!) This interactive, full-day workshop offers restoration practitioners valuable knowledge, skills, and tools to enhance your ability to design targeted projects that have a greater chance of achieving success. The workshop is not intended to present basic components of restoration planning, but rather a planning framework that will increase project success. The approach is applicable to any habitat type. To highlight the versatility of this planning framework, the course will use examples derived from estuarine coastal habitat, freshwater coastal habitat, the Great Lakes, and upland forest. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:  1) explain how restoration project design and evaluation support agency and organization missions, strategic plans, and established program niches; 2) identify and communicate measurable project outcomes; 3) demonstrate how logic models can be applied to restoration project design and evaluation; 4) identify meaningful performance indicators as a part of project evaluation; and 5) assess types and levels of evaluation that can be applied to restoration projects.

Introduction to Statistical Sampling and Analysis Methods for Environmental Monitoring
Course Leader: Lyman McDonald, Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. (WEST, Inc.)
Venue: The Pyle Center
Cost: $125

This one day course will cover an introduction to statistical sampling and analysis methods to help develop the participant’s skills needed to monitor trends in abundance of plant and animal species and assess changes due to impacts in the environment and corrective management actions. The workshop will cover field sampling designs including: random sampling, stratified sampling, systematic sampling, distance sampling, and generalized random tessellation stratified (GRTS) equal probability sampling. Monitoring methods covered include use of classical statistical tests, confidence intervals, and an introduction to monitoring distribution of plant and animal species using patch occupancy methods. Finally, we will give an introduction to bioequivalence testing with application to testing that an impacted site has been restored to a level that it is bioequivalent to a reference site. The course is designed for individuals who are competent in computing basic descriptive statistics and are familiar with making inferences using classical statistical testing and confidence intervals. All participants are required to bring a laptop computer with the latest version of the free R software for statistical computing installed.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs): An Introduction to a Tool for Restoration
This course has been cancelled due to the US Federal Government shutdown.
Course Leaders: Kendra Moseley Urbanik and Stacey L. Clark, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
Venue: The Pyle Center
Cost: $125

To address conservation and ecological restoration needs, NRCS has been developing a universally applicable management technology based on climatic, geomorphic, and edaphic features of the landscape. This tool, called “Ecological Site Descriptions” (ESDs), depicts the ecological dynamics of the site by detailing interactions between soils, vegetation, and related resources.  ESDs also predict the effects of management and disturbance on the ecological functions and processes of the site through the use of a detailed state-and-transition model (STM). This publicly accessible NRCS tool can be used on all land types, providing a standardized framework for conservation and restoration across the landscape and across political boundaries. Ecological site descriptions provide a general ecological foundation for all types of land management, but are of particular use to ecological restoration. Ecological sites integrate a variety of information including inventory data that link plant communities to soil profiles and landscape position, historical reconstructions, and management considerations based on local knowledge and assessment and monitoring data (Moseley et. al. 2010). This session will introduce the history and basic concepts of ecological sites, the development process of ESDs, and the concepts and components of STMs. This session will also discuss restoration concepts that are built into the foundation of ecological sites, the specific application of ESDs for restoration planning, the relationship of ecological sites to NRCS’s soils maps, and information on how ESDs can be accessed by the public. Some specific examples of ways ESDs are being used to inform restoration work within the US and internationally will be presented.

Demystifying Dam Removal Project Management
This course has been cancelled.
Course Leaders: Sara Strassman and Brian Graber, American Rivers
Venue: The Pyle Center
Cost: $125

Dam removal has become an increasingly popular activity both as a means to achieve ecological restoration and a pragmatic solution to aging infrastructure. American Rivers supports the use of dam removal to achieve multiple objectives. We have planned, designed, managed, funded, or advised more than 150 dam removal projects across the country, achieving more than 1000 miles of reconnected rivers, restored habitat for migratory & riverine fishes, and restoration of a variety of habitats such as Atlantic white cedar swamps, bogs, wetlands, riparian forests and meadows. The objective of our training is to provide an introduction to dam removal management that will allow the participants to identify and evaluate dam removal projects, develop a scope of work for dam removal design, understand basic permitting, identify sources of funding, and understand the components of a successful project. We will discuss the ecological implications of dam removal including species benefits and habitat restoration. We will also discuss strengths and limitations of dam removal as a river restoration tool, including case studies that illustrate when you may want to do more to jump-start river and floodplain habitat recovery. Participants will receive a compendium of resources for conducting desktop and field reconnaissance along with a digital guidebook that covers the topic areas discussed above. American Rivers and the invited speakers will offer opportunities for participants to discuss their specific projects with experienced project managers.

Application of Quality Control Principles for Ecological Restoration
Course Leaders: Louis Blume, US Environmental Protection Agency; Craig Palmer, Computer Sciences Corporation
Venue: The Pyle Center
Cost: $125

The purpose of this training course is to provide ecological restoration professionals with information and tools to help them improve the quality of their projects during planning, implementation, and assessment activities. The course consists of four sessions addressing the following topics: 1) establishing quality objectives, 2) achieving quality objectives, 3) evaluating data quality, and 4) incorporating quality principles into adaptive management. Each training session will begin with an explanation of quality principles and how they apply to ecological restoration activities. Examples and tools will be provided from various restoration projects conducted in different regions of the United States. Participants will then work in groups to address real- life case studies where they can apply the principles learned. A class discussion will follow to summarize the concepts learned before continuing to the next topic. This workshop has been developed by the Interagency Habitat Restoration and Invasive Species Control Quality Committee composed of restoration professionals with quality assurance expertise from six federal agencies. Development and preparation of workshop materials is provided through the support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.