SCCS-NY 2017 Workshops

sccs-ny 2017 workshop

SCCS-NY 2017 offered workshops on a range of engaging conservation topics for attendees to learn new methods and advance their careers.

Morning Workshops (9am-12pm)

An Introduction to Adaptive Management - Practical Training for Tomorrow's Leaders in Conservation

This workshop will introduce participants to the value and tools of adaptive management (AM)—the integration of design, management, and monitoring to test assumptions in order to adapt and learn—for developing and maintaining effective conservation initiatives. The Conservation Measures Partnership’s approach to AM—the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation—provides the guidelines around which an academic course has been developed and taught at an increasing number of academic institutes around the globe. Due to growing demand for AM skills, Foundations of Success (FOS) has established a Teaching AM Network that provides an online, collaborative forum for sharing the tools, lessons, and contacts for incorporating AM training into graduate programs. During this workshop, SCCS participants will learn about AM and find out how to tap into the Teaching AM Network in order to get an AM course started at their own universities. Participants will also have the opportunity to use the “Results Chain” tool for diagramming theories of change, which articulate assumptions on how a conservation strategy or action will mitigate a threat and ultimately improve the status of targeted species or habitats. Ultimately, this workshop aims to increase awareness of the utility of AM among participants, who will go on to champion the incorporation of AM training in universities elsewhere.    

  • Length: 3 hours
  • Organizer: Ashleigh Baker, Foundations of Success

Designing, Applying, and Interpreting Conservation Genetics Studies

Population genetics can be a powerful tool in threatened species management and monitoring. In this workshop, we will discuss how, why, and when we can integrate population genetic studies into conservation projects. We will assume that many or most of the workshop attendees will not have a background in genetics, and will therefore cover introductory topics that focus on the applications of genetics in conservation projects. After a broad introduction to the subject, we will have presentations from active researchers on a number of conservation genetics projects to use as case studies. We will cover diverse topics including the use of genetics to identify species in wildlife trade, the use of non-invasive sampling to understand population structure, the use of genomics to assess the adaptive potential of threatened populations, and the best way to design a study that answers the relevant questions while staying within a budget. We will end the workshop with a broad discussion of the future of conservation genetics and a more narrow discussion among attendees of how they could apply genetics to their systems. Our workshop will also include a tour of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics to illustrate the laboratory workflow of conservation genetics studies.

  • Length: 3 hours
  • Organizers: Stephen Gaughran, Yale University; Evon Hekkala, Fordham University and American Museum of Natural History

Introduction to Statistics in R for Conservation Scientists

A critical component of being a scientist is the ability to analyze and interpret data. This workshop provides students with an introduction to some basic data analysis skills using the free and versatile R software. The first part of the workshop will provide a gentle introduction to R for those who are new to this programming language, including importing data and basic commands to manipulate data. The second part of the workshop will focus on advanced applications of R to conservation biology, including constructing figures and mixed-model statistical techniques, using examples from conservation science. The workshop will be suitable for students with no R background, and will introduce exciting applications that will also appeal to those who are already comfortable with the R programming language.  

  • Length: 3 hours
  • Organizers: Erika Crispo and Matthew Aiello-Lammens, Pace University 

Making Conservation Politically Effective: Representing Other Species' Interests Before Decision Makers  

The major obstacles confronting conservation success are less biological than political. Many conservationists are not well-prepared to address political obstacles. This workshop is designed, using case studies from the participants, to generate a strategy or strategic options for overcoming political obstacles presented by the representative cases and achieve desired goals to safeguard and recover biodiversity. The primary means of developing a strategy will involve working through a series of questions provided to participants ahead of time. Participants are expected to vary in their range of political understanding, experience and sophistication—and countries of origin—and learning from each other will be encouraged. The workshop will take into account differing political systems and existing power relationships. Participants will be challenged to consider the lessons other social movements they know about have to teach conservation. In particular they will be asked to think about not just what seems possible, but about changing what’s possible. For example, some thought apartheid could not be toppled but only minor concessions won. 

  • Length: 3 hours
  • Organizer: David Johns, School of Government, Portland State University, The Wildlands Network and Marine Conservation Institute

What Am I Doing With My Life? Career Planning for the Modern Conservationist

This session will be an opportunity for participants to reflect on their own academic history while exploring potential future directions and gaining skills in career planning, networking, and self-promotion. So come join us for an afternoon gathering to learn about potential career paths in conservation! Interested in industry? Aching for academia? Never gonna give up non-profits? Pretty sure you’re perfect for policy? Wooed by science writing? Then bring your curious self to our seminar, where we’ll be doing some self-assessment activities, discussing options in conservation careers, and small-group sharing about the challenges and rewards of the work we’d like to do. And don’t forget: the more, the merrier! We invite senior scientists to speak about their experiences, post-docs and graduate students to group-share their goals, and undergraduates & high schoolers to discuss their developing ideas. All you need is a notebook, pen, and your creative mind – group activities, games, worksheets, and cookies are on us.

  • Length: 3 hours
  • Organizer: Mary Blair, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History

Afternoon Workshops (2pm-5pm)

Expanding Your Teaching Toolbox: An Introduction to Active Teaching and Scientific Teaching Approaches

In graduate school, most of us get a heavy dose of content knowledge, which is certainly important to our future work as academics or practitioners. However, many of us do not receive the same sort of training on how to communicate this information, whether in the form of teaching, running workshops, or organizing meetings. This workshop will focus on how active, student-centered, and evidence-based approaches can be more effective than traditional lecture-based approaches in promoting student learning. During this workshop, we will review the principles of scientific teaching, and discuss a number of tools for active teaching and classroom assessment. Participants will be able to practice application of some of these tools, and will take home a “toolbox” of materials and resources.

  • Length: 3 hours
  • Organizer: Suzanne Macey, Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History

Fundraising 101: Developing a Fundraising Strategy for Grants & Scholarships

All projects require money to fund their activities. It is essential for successful conservation leaders to know how to raise funds for their projects, organizations, and their own higher education. During this three-hour session, participants will receive tips on being successful fundraisers, learn how to develop basic fundraising strategies, and gain skills writing a succinct proposal abstract. Participants should come to the workshop with an abstract (hard copy) they would like to improve.

  • Length: 3 hours
  • Organizers: Christina Imrich, Conservation Leadership Programme, Wildlife Conservation Society; Kate Mastro, Graduate Scholarship Program, Wildlife Conservation Society; Stephanie Eisenman, Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program, World Wildlife Fund

Spatial Analysis in R

In recent years, the usage of Spatial Analyses for Ecology has increased tremendously. Open source platforms such as QGIS and R have contributed to an increase in the usage of tools for such analyses. In this workshop, we will be using the programming environment in R to carry out spatial analyses. Topics covered include basic spatial operations and storage of data, vector and raster manipulation, packages and functions that offer tools analogous to ones offered in QGIS/ArcGIS and basics of static mapping. Basic knowledge of R and ArcGIS/QGIS is required. (Optional: Participants are encouraged to bring their own spatial datasets and manipulate them during the workshop). 

  • Length: 3 hours
  • Organizer: Vijay Ramesh, Columbia University

Talking the Talk: Giving Effective and Engaging Presentations  

This workshop, aimed at students and those who need public speaking experience, will give participants tips and advice on giving presentations in various outlets, including science conferences. The presenters will go over tricks on calming nerves, writing abstracts, effective presentation organization, how to edit down slides, what aspects to focus on and tailoring presentations for different audiences. We will also go over helpful suggestions on public speaking and having a confident "stage" presence. Participants will be encouraged to bring a presentations or poster slides to the workshop to practice talks and get constructive feedback on ways to improve their slides and/or posters.

  • Length: 3 hours
  • Organizers: Chris Parsons, Department of Environmental Science & Policy, George Mason University; John Cigliano, Cedar Crest College