In this workshop you will learn to sample vegetation hands-on using the rapid assessment/relevé survey methods, which provide scientific methodologies to collect data crucial for knowing and understanding California’s unique vegetation communities. Read on for details.

Vegetation Rapid Assessment/Relevé

September 8-10
Truckee, CA
Taught by Jennifer Buck-Diaz and Julie Evens

CNPS Members $440 / Non-Members $460

With lodging
Members $550 / Non-Members $560

Capacity: 20 participants
Last Day to Register: August 27, 2021

Cancelled due to air quality. Jen is in touch with participants.



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.

Full 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 and relevé methods. 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.

To earn a certificate of completion, participants will need to successfully complete two vegetation rapid assessment field forms on the final day.

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.

Schedule & Locale

Wednesday, September 8

Meet at Sagehen Creek Field Station. Indoor lecture, classroom setting.

2:00 pm
Introductions and overview: vegetation sampling, analysis, classification, and mapping

5:00 pm
Break for the day

Thursday, September 9

Meet at designated field site. Field exercises all day.

8:30 am
Field exercises: introduction to the combined vegetation rapid assessment/relevé method; estimating percent cover of vegetation layers

Lunch in the field (please bring your own lunch and water)

1:00 pm
Field exercise as a group: 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, September 10

Meet at designated field site. Field exercises all day.

8:30 am
Review rapid assessment protocol

9:30 am
Field exercise in small groups: select vegetation types for sampling, conduct first rapid assessment

Lunch in the field (please bring your own lunch and water)

1:00 pm
Field exercise in small groups: conduct second rapid assessment, using a different vegetation type

3:30 pm
Q&A; submit field forms for certificate of completion; course evaluations

4:00 pm
Workshop concludes

Schedule subject to change.

Venue: The day 1 classroom portion of this workshop will be held in the Sagehen Creek Field Station, located at 11616 Sage Hen Rd, Truckee, CA 96161. Field exercises on days 2 and 3 will take place at nearby locations TBA. Additional details will be provided to registered participants about a week before the workshop.

Materials & Requirements

Please bring...

  • Clipboard
  • Notebook and pencils
  • Sturdy boots and field clothes appropriate for conditions
  • Field-friendly lunches and plenty of water and snacks for Thursday and Friday
  • Sunscreen

Optional additional items include:

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

About the Instructors

Jennifer Buck-Diaz

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.

Julie Evens

Julie M. Evens is the Vegetation Program Director for CNPS, where she has directed vegetation projects and analyzed vegetation data for over fifteen years. She currently manages CNPS sampling protocols and databases, coordinates vegetation sampling and training sessions, collaborates on mapping projects with other agencies, and writes reports on vegetation classification across CA. Previously, she worked as a crew leader for major vegetation projects in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and the central Mojave Desert. She recently co-authored California’s Botanical Landscapes: A Pictorial View of the State’s Vegetation with Michael G. Barbour, Todd Keeler-Wolf, and John O. Sawyer, and compiled the CNPS Fire Recovery Guide. Julie received her BA degrees from UC Santa Cruz and MA in biology from Humboldt State.


Before registering, please review our full workshop cancellation policy and participant expectations. The last day to cancel your registration for this workshop and receive any refund (less the cancellation fee) is Friday, August 27, 2021. For other ways to register, please see our full registration & payment policy.

Did you know CNPS members get discounts on workshops? If you’re not a current member, you can join or renew now before completing the registration form below to qualify for special members-only rates!


Want to stay on-site? Purchase a registration with lodging. Sagehen accommodations are bunkhouse-style cabins (generally separate male and female), including limited ADA-accessible spaces and bathrooms.

Communal bath houses include toilets, sinks and showers. Check out the Facilities page for more information about and photos of Sagehen cabins, classrooms and other structures.