Core Methodology Training 2019

Core Methodology Training, or CMT, is a hands-on introduction to standards, methods, and tools that are "core" to the success of the NatureServe Network. The training supports the consistent use of these standards and methods, and facilitates a sense of camaraderie across the Network. It also provides a forum for discussion of how well our methodologies are working locally, supporting their ongoing evolution.

View NatureServe's Core Standards and Methods documents.

CMT includes three full days of training on Tuesday-Thursday, April 23-25, and optional 1/2 day sessions on Friday, April 26. The first three days will including the following topics and activities.

  • Overview of the NatureServe Network
  • Summary of how the NatureServe Network is guiding conservation decision-making
  • Beyond Core Methods: How the Network is integrating maps, observation data, and modeling
  • NatureServe Network's challenges and opportunities in biodiversity conservation
  • Interactive overview of the NatureServe Network Methodology
  • Field trip to collect data, and gain an understanding of what type of information is important for creating EO records
  • Biotics hands-on mapping exercises
  • Element Occurrence (EO) status assessment (EO Ranking) exercises
  • Element Conservation Status Ranking (Global and Subnational Ranking) exercises using the Rank Calculator
  • Opportunities to get to know NatureServe staff and other members of the Network 

The three optional sessions available on Friday, April 26 are described below and will be held simultaneously from 8am-12noon. 

Biotics Optional Training: Trainees will be polled prior to the training to identify Biotics-related training needs. By default, hands-on training on SQL (queries, inserts, updates) and bulk uploading in Biotics 5 will be covered, but this will be adjusted according to trainee poll responses. The training will be a hands-on training led by Whitney Weber (NatureServe DBA & Product Support Specialist) and Danielle Kulas (Virginia Natural Heritage Program Biodiversity Data and GIS Specialist). 
Ecology Program Optional Training: An overview of the Ecology program at NatureServe will be provided, and, based on input from trainees ahead of time, a discussion of identified topics will be facilitated. Pat Comer (NatureServe Chief Ecologist), will lead this session.
Species Science Program Optional Training: A brief summary of tools and communication avenues available to network botanists and zoologists will be provided followed by a discussion of trainees’ questions and conundrums submitted prior to the session. Bruce Young (NatureServe Chief Zoologist and Senior Conservation Scientist) will lead this session. 

2018 Core Methodology Training Field Session at Coyote Ridge, Colorado

Should I Attend?

We recommend attending CMT if you are a recent addition to the NatureServe Network, have never taken methodology training before, took methodology training more than five years ago, or are a partner organization working with the NatureServe Network and want to learn more about the core methods that are being used. Since NatureServe methodologies are always evolving, and the training has evolved to be more hands-on and interactive, most NatureServe Network staff, members, and partners will benefit from attending this training.

How much does it cost?

  • $1,100 for NatureServe members and staff
  • $1,400 for non-members
  • Optional Friday session (9am-noon) can be selected for an additional $175. There are three options for the Friday sessions: 1) additional Biotics training including Query Builder & SQL, Bulk Upload, and/or other topics of interest, 2) Ecology Program discussion, or 3) Species Science Program discussion.

This CMT fee includes training materials, field trip expenses, and lunch on Day 2 only. No other meals or travel expenses are included.


Dates: Tuesday-Thursday, April 23-25, 2019 from 8:30am-5pm eastern time, and an optional 1/2 day session will be offered on Friday, April 26 from 8:00am-noon eastern time (see details on these sessions above).
Location: NatureServe's new location at 2511 Richmond Hwy, Arlington, VA 22202
Air/Ground Travel: We recommend flying into Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) if possible. From DCA you can take a bus (12 minutes), metro (12 minutes), or cab (6 minutes) into Crystal City. If you are flying Dulles International airport (IAD) you will have to take a taxi or Super Shuttle (it is a 30-mile drive from IAD to Crystal City).  
Hotel: There are several hotels within walking distance to the new office location: The Hilton, Holiday Inn, Hyatt. We have a group rate at the Holiday Inn National Airport/Crystal City for $139/night, which you can use by following this link or calling 888-294-5059. The deadline to reserve a room using the group rate is March 22nd.


Core Training Team

  • Shara Howie, NatureServe, Program Manager
  • Don Faber-Langendoen, NatureServe, Senior Ecologist, Northeastern North America
  • Whitney Weber, NatureServe, DBA & Product Support Specialist
  • Wes Knapp, NC Natural Heritage Program, Western Regional Ecologist/Botanist
  • Danielle Kulas, Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Biodiversity Data and GIS Specialist
  • Chris Ludwig, Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Chief Biologist

Other Trainers

  • Sean O’Brien, NatureServe, President & CEO
  • Allison Gratz, NatureServe, Director of Network Relations
  • Lori Scott, NatureServe, Chief Information Officer
  • Pat Comer, NatureServe, Chief Ecologist
  • Anne Frances, NatureServe, Lead Botanist
  • Amanda Treher, NatureServe, Research Botanist
  • Bruce Young, NatureServe, Chief Zoologist and Senior Conservation Scientist
  • Healy Hamilton, NatureServe, Chief Scientist
  • Regan Lyons Smyth, Spatial Ecology Project Manager 

Register Now!

Please contact Shara Howie at, 703.797.4811 if you have any general questions about the training, and contact Alli Kenlan at, (919) 943-0827 with any logistical questions. 

I really enjoyed the training! It gave me a sense of why I chose this job and a bigger picture of the NatureServe community and how it benefits species and habitat conservation. I think everyone in this field should attend the training at least once so they can appreciate and understand the standardized, science-based methodology that NatureServe offers to programs on an international scale.

-Stephanie Shelton, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.