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This training helps users of NatureServe species data to understand and, therefore, more effectively use NatureServe data.

This four-part Data Use Training takes only an hour to complete, and provides an in-depth introduction to the information NatureServe and its network members are particularly known for—the locality data or “element occurrences” that document the precise locations of rare and imperiled species.

Completion of this training is required for those accessing any scale of species occurrence data that are sensitive and, therefore, governed under a data license agreement, but is also recommended for anyone using NatureServe data and/or interested in learning more about the methodology behind the development of our species data. Completion of the online training allows you to instantly become a NatureServe Certified Data User.

The training consists of four tutorials. To become a Certified Data User, you are required to complete all four tutorials by reading the provided material or watching the associated video. You can pause and come back to the videos for Tutorials 2-4 at any time. After completing all four tutorials, you can fill out the form at the bottom of the page to become a Certified Data User.

For technical support, or more information email us at

Tutorial One: Introduction to NatureServe

NatureServe is the hub of an international biodiversity data network comprised of more than 90 state, provincial, national, and territorial member programs and encompassing more than 1000 biodiversity scientists across the U.S. and Canada. What makes the NatureServe Network unique is that we have a standardized way of collecting field data, mapping biological features, assessing the condition of those mapped elements, and managing the information. This common methodology ensures that the data we provide is decision quality and can be compared across states, provinces, and territories.

This training will acquaint you with how our data is collected in the field, understanding the data, and important considerations for making decisions based on the data. The advantages of completing the training and becoming a Certified Data User are that you only need to sign one data license agreement when working in multiple jurisdictions, and that the data is taxonomically reconciled across jurisdictional boundaries. You will also be able to better use the data as you become more familiar with it through the training.

Visit the following links to learn more:

Tutorial Two: Prioritizing and Mapping Biodiversity

Play this video to complete the second Data Use Training section: Prioritizing and Mapping Biodiversity. This tutorial covers what species are tracked by the NatureServe Network and why, what Element Occurrences are and why that matters, and gives a first peek at what the data looks like.

Tutorial Three: Status and Viability of Biodiversity

Play this video to complete the third Data Use Training section: Status and Viability of Biodiversity. This tutorial covers important considerations for using EO data, including: S- and EO-ranks, date of observation, landscape factors, biological factors, locational uncertainty, survey efforts, and the absence of data.

Tutorial Four: Data Sensitivity and Data License Agreements

Play this video to complete the fourth Data Use Training section: Data Sensitivity and Data License Agreements. This video covers data sensitivity issues surrounding species with commercial value, landowners, legal restrictions, indigenous rights and knowledge, and data providers. It also covers some of the important terms of the Data License Agreement, and requirements of a being a certified data user.

After watching all of the videos, please fill out this form to complete the Data Use Training.