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Registration closes May 27

Education Program - Workshops and Professional Training

Vegetation Rapid Assessment/Relevé: Yosemite

in conjunction with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife

June 3-5, 2015
El Portal Community Hall, El Portal, CA & field sites the Sierra National Forest, just outside Yosemite National Park

Instructors: Jennifer Buck-Diaz, Vegetation Ecologist, CNPS; Diana Hickson, Senior Environmental Scientist and Co-Lead, VegCAMP Program, California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW)

Download the print-friendly flyer for this workshop (pdf)

Target Audience: Professional and student botanists, ecologists, resource managers, and conservationists. Participants should have an initial understanding of the subject matter and basic plant identification skills.

Description: This course 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.

Participants will learn:

  • Applications of fine-scale vegetation sampling, classification and mapping
  • How vegetation sampling is used for mapping projects
  • How to collect data using the CNPS-CDFW combined vegetation rapid assessment/relevé method.
  • How to document rare natural communities
  • How vegetation types and attributes can be mapped
  • How vegetation information fits into County General Management Plans, CEQA, HCP's, NCCPs, etc.


Registration is now open! Last day to sign up is Wednesday, May 27. Click here to sign up now.

Registration fees are discounted for CNPS members. If you are not a CNPS member, visit to join now and save!

Please note: class size is limited to 20 participants. Pre-registration is required.

  Date CNPS Members Non-members
Vegetation Rapid Assessment/Relevé June 3-5 $375 $395

Cancellation policy: The last day to cancel your registration and receive any refund is Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Refunds may be subject to processing fees. Please send cancellation requests by e-mail to Becky Reilly, Click here for more details on the cancellation policy for CNPS workshops.

Lodging: CNPS is looking into group camping/lodging options in the area. More details will be provided soon.


Wednesday, June 3
Meet at El Portal Community Hall. Indoor lecture, classroom setting.
2:00 pm Introductions and Overview: Vegetation sampling, analysis, classification, and mapping.
5:00 pm Break for the day

Thursday, June 4
Meet at designated field site (TBD). Field exercises all day.

8:30 am Field exercises: introduction to the combined vegetation rapid assessment/relevé method; estimating percent cover of vegetation layers
12:00 pm Lunch in the field (please bring your own lunch and water)
1:00 pm Field exercise in small groups: conduct a field survey using the vegetation rapid assessment method
4:30 pm Regroup for Q&A
5:00 pm Break for the day

Friday, June 5
Meet at designated field site (TBD). Field exercises all day.

8:30 am Review rapid assessment protocol
9:30 am Select vegetation types for sampling, conduct first rapid assessment
12:00 pm Lunch in the field (please bring your own lunch and water)
1:00 pm Conduct second rapid assessment, using a different vegetation type
3:30pm Q&A; submit vegetation rapid assessment field forms for Certificate of Completion; course evaluations
4:00 pm Workshop concludes

About the Instructors:
Jennifer Buck-Diaz is a vegetation ecologist and botanist with the CNPS Vegetation Program. She brings to CNPS extensive work experience with different plant communities across the western United States. Prior to joining CNPS, Jennifer worked as an ecologist with The Nature Conservancy at the Cosumnes River Preserve. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Plant Biology from the University of California, Davis.

Diana Hickson is Senior Environmental Scientist and Co-Lead with Todd Keeler-Wolf of the California Department of Fish And Wildlife's Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program (VegCAMP). Diana has known she wanted to map vegetation since she was in high school. She received a B.A. in Geography from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in Geography from U.C. Santa Barbara, where she studied the composition of maritime chaparral related to time since fire. She was an environmental consultant for seven years, mapping rare plant populations and wetlands, before getting a position at the Department in the Endangered Plant Program. Diana has worked in VegCAMP since its inception, finally mapping vegetation!

Materials Required
Please bring the following:

  • Clipboard
  • Notebook and pencils
  • Sturdy boots and field clothes appropriate for conditions
  • Plenty of water for time in the field
  • Field-friendly lunches for two days

Optional additional items:

  • Compass and/with clinometer
  • Binoculars
  • Digital camera
  • GPS unit

Materials Provided: CNPS will provide data sheets, maps, and references for all field exercises, and a certificate of completion after successfully completing two vegetation rapid assessment field forms on the final day.

Physical Requirements: Participants should be physically able to hike over uneven terrain and remain in the field for up to 8.5 hours at a time.

Workshop will be held rain or shine. We will spend approximately 80-85% of the time in the field.

Maps and Directions:
Please note: cell reception in the area may be limited, we recommend bringing printed directions.

El Portal Community Hall
5512 Foresta Rd
El Portal, CA 95318

Details on the designated field sites in Yosemite will be provided about a week before the workshop.

If you have questions about this or any other CNPS workshops, please contact Becky Reilly, CNPS Events Coordinator, at 916-447-2677 x207 or

View the complete schedule of CNPS 2015 Plant Science Workshops

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