Dates: May 1-3, 2018 (Tuesday – Thursday)
Location: San Luis Obispo & Morro Bay, CA
Jennifer Buck-Diaz, Vegetation Ecologist, CNPS; Rachelle Boul, Environmental Scientist, CDFW – Biogeographic Data Branch

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Registration: $375 CNPS Members / $395 Non-Members
Capacity: 20 participants
Last Day to Register: April 23, 2018

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2017 Vegetation Rapid Assessment/ Relevé workshop, Bodega Bay. Credit Becky Reilly.
2017 Vegetation Rapid Assessment/ Relevé workshop, Bodega Bay. Credit Becky Reilly.


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 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.

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, NC

Schedule (subject to change)

Tuesday, May 1

Meet in the Oak Glen Pavilion at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden. Indoor lecture, classroom setting.

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

5:00 pm
Break for the day

Wednesday, May 2

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

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

Thursday, May 3

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

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

Venue: The Tuesday afternoon classroom session will take place in the Oak Glen Pavilion at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden, located at 3450 Dairy Creek Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405. Field study portions of this workshop will take place in Montaña de Oro and Morro Bay State Parks. Maps and directions 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 Wednesday and Thursday
  • 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 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.

Rachelle Boul has been with the Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program (VegCAMP) of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) since 2006. She has worked in a variety of different landscapes across California including marsh, desert, chaparral, riparian, coastal, and forest habitats. She has a B.S in Biology from California State University Chico.


Note: the last day to cancel your registration and receive any refund is Monday, April 16, 2018. Please see full CNPS workshop cancellation policy for details.

Join or renew your membership in CNPS to access discounted member registration rates today!

Registration for this workshop is now closed. Please contact Becky Reilly with any questions.