California Native Plant Society

Education Program

CNPS Workshops and Professional Training

The Plant Science Training Program specializes in providing workshops for professional botanists, biologists, and ecologists to teach the skills and provide the tools and resources for conducting sound scientific surveys for rare plants, rare plant communities, vegetation, and wetlands. Discounted registration fees are offered to CNPS Members. (Join CNPS here)

Looking for information about a previous event? Past workshops and training events are listed here.

2014 CNPS Plant Science Workshops
Dates and locations are subject to change. Information will be published here as it becomes available.
Apr 1-2 Introduction to Plant Family Identification

Instructor: David L. Magney
Location: Casitas Springs, Ventura County

Plant Family IdentificationThis is an intensive introductory course on how to recognize plant families, focusing on the 25 dominant families of native plants found in California. Plant identification can be a challenge; however, if you know the basic leaf, flower, and fruit characters of the most common plant families, you will be able to significantly reduce the amount of time required to properly identify most plant species. It is geared towards anyone who wants or needs to improve their knowledge and skills about identifying native and naturalized plants. Emphasis will be given to southern California species; however, information learned in this class will be readily applicable throughout California and elsewhere. Common and rare species will be covered. The class will include classroom presentation and exercises, and field excursions, primarily into the Ventura River and Ojai Valley in Ventura County. We will spend at least half the time in the field. Riparian, chaparral, and coastal sage scrub plants will be covered.

Cost: CNPS Members $310; Non-members $345
Register online
Print & Mail Registration form: PDF (14kb) | Word (40kb)
More Information: Full Workshop Announcement (PDF 1.5Mb)
Apr 15-17 Cancelled due to drought
Spring Flora of the Eastern Mojave: a Focus on Five Formidable Families

Target audience: Professional botanists, ecologists, agency resource managers, and conservationists. Participants should have moderate to advanced taxonomic skills. Field trips will include moderate to short day hikes.

Instructors: Jim Andre and Tasha LaDoux
Location: UC Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, located within the Mojave National Preserve, eastern Mojave Desert

The rugged eastern Mojave Desert represents one of the most floristically diverse regions of California, and continues to yield a high rate of new species discoveries. This course will focus on the taxonomy and ecology of five major plant families that collectively comprise more than 50% of the species in the spring flora: Asteraceae, Boraginaceae, Fabaceae, Polemoniaceae and Onagraceae. Through field observation, lab identification, and evening presentations, participants will gain a better understanding for these families and other common species in the region. This field-intensive workshop is intended for botanists with moderate to advanced taxonomic training with an interest in learning both the general and rare spring flora of the eastern Mojave. Field trips will target a variety of habitats and CNPS-listed rare species. Day trips will be planned according to optimal blooming. Be ready to hike on rugged terrain. A few 4WD vehicles will be needed beyond what we have available.

Apr 29 - May 1 Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations

Instructor: Taught by John Willoughby
Location: UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Santa Cruz, CA

Measuring and Monitoring Plant PopulationsUsing classroom and field exercises, the workshop will focus on the role of plant population monitoring for adaptive management. Participants will learn how to develop good management objectives. Topics cover principles of sampling and several sampling designs, field techniques for measuring vegetation, analyzing monitoring data and presenting results. Participants will receive a copy of the BLM-published book, Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations, by Caryl Elzinga, Dan Salzer, and John Willoughby, a notebook of all materials covered and a CD with additional materials to help with monitoring programs.

Cost: CNPS Members $410; Non-members $445
Register online
Print & Mail Registration form: PDF (14kb) | Word (20kb)
More Information: Full Workshop Announcement (PDF 254kb)
May 27-29 Herbaria Specimen Collecting for Floristic Work - Tejon Ranch
This two and a half day course is a combination of classroom and field studies in the Tehachapi Mountain Region, Kern County, California.

Target Audience: Professional botanists, ecologists, land managers, resource specialists, academics, and conservationists. Participants should have an understanding of plant terminology and adequate experience in plant identification.

Nick Jensen, Graduate Student at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and past CNPS Rare Plant Program Director;
Heath Bartosh, Senior Botanist of Nomad Ecology
Classroom: Tejon Ranch Conservancy 1037 Bear Trap Rd, Lebec, CA 93243
Field Site: High elevations of Tejon Ranch (4,000 to 7,000 feet)

This workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the equipment and skills necessary to make botanical voucher specimens of vascular plants with the goal of depositing specimens in their local herbaria. The course will include a half-day lecture focused on the multitude of reasons to incorporate specimen collecting into professional botanical survey and scientific work. In the field, participants will learn about the process of making specimen collections including the equipment necessary, prioritizing which plants to collect, data collection, plant pressing, label making, and the process of submitting vouchers to herbaria. The workshop will provide a chance to explore Tejon Ranch, California's largest contiguous piece of private land, which is situated in one of the state's most ecologically interesting locations-the Tehachapi Mountains. Fieldwork will focus on the middle and high elevation areas of the ranch that have little history of botanical study. Join us for a chance to learn and explore!

Cost: CNPS Members $360; Non-members $395
Register online
Print & Mail Registration form: PDF (14kb) | Word (20kb)
More Information: Full Workshop Announcement (PDF 463kb)
June 10-12 Vegetation Rapid Assessment/ Relevé

Lead instructors: Todd Keeler-Wolf and Jennifer Buck-Diaz

Location: Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach, CA

This workshop is presented with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It consists of an introductory evening lecture and two field-days with exercises in fine-scale vegetation sampling for professional and student botanists, ecologists, resource managers, and conservationists. Participants should have an initial understanding of the subject matter and basic plant identification skills. This course focuses on sampling plant communities using the CNPS/CDFW combined vegetation rapid assessment/relevé method. There will be a combination of lecture and field exercises in vegetation sampling with a focus on collecting data using the CNPS-CDFW combined vegetation rapid assessment/ relevé method. We will discuss applications of fine-scale vegetation sampling, classification and mapping, how to document rare natural communities, and how vegetation information fits into planning documents.

Cost: CNPS Members $335; Non-members $370
Register online
Print & Mail Registration form: PDF (38kb) | Word (44kb)
More Information: Full Workshop Announcement (PDF 312kb)

Note that some details, including price and exact locations, are subject to change.

To register or for more information, contact Josie Crawford at (916) 447-2677 or


Copyright © 1999-2014 California Native Plant Society. All rights reserved. Contact Us