Pre-Meeting Professional Development Workshops & Field Trips

Pre-conference events in development include a Burrowing Owl Symposium and a Wildlife Biologist Construction Monitoring Training. If you have suggestions for topics you’d like to see in the future, please email Janine Payne at

Burrowing Owl Symposium

  • Workshop Full – No Walk-Ups Accepted
  • Two days!  Monday & Tuesday, February 6-7, 2023. Riverside Convention Center, CA.
  • Monday, 12-5pm (with optional 6:30-8:30pm) and Tuesday, 8:00am-5pm (Includes Tuesday lunch buffet)
  • In-Person Only
  • Requires separate registration fee.  Link to rates
  • The Burrowing Owl Symposium is a stand-alone event so you can register for it on its own.
  •  Co-Chairs – Susanne Marczak and Colleen Wisinski
  • Sponsored by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

Join us February 6-7, 2023 for a special symposium focusing on Western burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) sponsored by the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. This two-day symposium will include regional updates, presentations from experts, and group dialogue on a variety of topics related to the species.The geographic scope of discussion on the species and habitat will be California and Nevada, but topics, presentations, and themes will have broader relevance to the entire range of the subspecies. An optional add-on training session focused on burrowing owl biology and ecology, as well as survey techniques and permitting considerations and requirements will be offered on Monday evening for Symposium registrants.

Tentative Schedule of Events

Monday (Feb 6)

  • 12-5 pm: status updates, research & methods updates
      • Presentations
  • Unofficial networking dinner
  • 6:30-8:30 pm: biology and techniques trainings
    • Biology/ecology of BUOW
    • Survey methods & best practices
    • Permitting

Tuesday (Feb 7) 

  • 8:00 am: coffee/muffins 
  • 9 am-12 pm: discussion session 1, potential topic: HCPs
  • 12-1 pm: catered lunch
  • 1-4 pm: discussion session 2, potential topic: horizon scan
  • 4-5 pm: wrap-up, coordination moving forward, next steps 

Wildlife Biologist Construction Awareness Training (WildC.A.T.)

  • Tuesday, February 7, 2023 –  1:00pm-5:00pm
  • In-Person Only
  • Requires separate registration fee.  Link to rates
  • Moderator:  Natalie Greer

Wildlife biologists are often called on to provide technical expertise and implement protective measures on construction sites, but they rarely receive practical training in environmental permits or safety as they enter the workforce. This half-day workshop provides an introduction to construction monitoring for recent graduates, early career professionals, and regular construction monitors, and will be taught by experienced wildlife biologists, construction personnel, and health and safety officers.

Learn about the environmental permits that require construction monitoring, what to expect on construction job sites, situational awareness and health and safety basics, common environmental protection issues and Best Management Practices, effective communication techniques with construction crews, and useful tools of the trade.  Upon completion of the workshop, attendees will receive a certificate of completion and helmet sticker that shows prospective employers and construction personnel in the field that they have attended WildC.A.T. training.


Riverside Area Fieldtrips

The Southern California Chapter is organizing two different field trip options for Tuesday, February 7th to highlight the local flora and fauna of the Riverside area. We hope you’ll join us. More information is coming soon!

(1) From the Mountains to the Sea: The History and Management of the Santa Ana River (Tuesday, February 7, 1-5pm. Price $10)  The Santa Ana river is the largest river in California, delivering much needed water from the San Bernardino Mountains to the semi-arid Inland Empire, and eventually draining into the Pacific Ocean near Long Beach. Many of the region’s imperiled species such as the Least Bell’s Vireo, Arroyo Toad, Santa Ana sucker, and the San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat depend on its waters and unique intermittent wetland habitats. It is also at the heart of many conservation challenges as much of its watershed encompasses some of the most urbanized areas of the state. Come learn about the species and the management of the river that Riverside is next to.   Details:  Meet outside the Riverside Convention Center (next to the three flag poles) at 1pm. Return to the Convention Center by 5pm (at the latest).  This field trip has two parts – The 1st part will be presentations on the subject followed by a tour of the Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District facilities. For the 2nd part – you will have the option to follow local experts to two different locations for further discussion based on preference and/or physical capability: 1st option is to a local park to visit a restored alkaline meadow, 2nd option is taking a popular hike route up nearby Mt. Rubidoux for a better view of the local watershed. All field trip locations are within a 10min drive of the convention center (carpooling coordinated though Whova). Please wear closed toed shoes and be sure to bring water, snacks, hats, sunscreen, etc.  (Max people: 40)

(2) Fire as a Management Tool – An Example (Tuesday, February 7, 8:30am-12:30pm. Price $10) Prescribed fire is just one of many tools in the Land Manager’s toolbox.  Fire has been frequently used to manage grasslands for the recently downlisted – from endangered to threatened – Stephens’ kangaroo rat (SKR).  The Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency manages lands set aside for conservation under the SKR Habitat Conservation Plan.  We will visit the Lake Mathews/Estelle Mountain Reserve and see how their successes in land management, using both fire and grazing, has enhanced habitat for this species and others within the Southern California grassland ecosystem.  Details: Meet outside the Riverside Convention Center (next to the three flag poles) at 8:30am. Return to the Convention Center by 12:30pm.  This field trip will be to a preserve that is closed to the general public and will require a signed waiver. The location is a 30-45min drive from the convention center and we will be carpooling to different locations within the preserve (4X4 not needed, but a high clearance vehicle recommended – we’ll be coordinating though Whovia). Please wear closed toed shoes and be sure to bring water, snacks, hats, sunscreen, etc. Subject to cancellation due to rain. (Max people: 30)

Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing Tour and Lunch

  • Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 11am-1pm
  • Location – Highway 101, Agoura Hills
  • Price $10 per person, includes lunch
  • Hosted by Beth Pratt and the National Wildlife Federation

Join Beth Pratt of the National Wildlife Federation and other partners to tour the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing – which is now under construction!  The Wallis Annenberg Crossing is a public-private partnership of monumental scope that has leveraged the expertise and leadership of dozens of organizations and institutions to protect and restore wildlife habitats in Southern California. Construction is now on its way and when built, the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will be the largest wildlife crossing of its kind in the world, the first of its scale in an urban setting, and will restore habitats and an ecosystem that over time has been degraded by human development. The bridge will allow for wildlife to cross freely over the 101 freeway without the threat of death or accidents, and will ensure the survival of many isolated species.  Lunch will be provided by the National Wildlife Federation.  (Limited to 25 people.) 


 – Take the Ventura Freeway/Highway 101 north to the Liberty Canyon exit in Agoura Hills.

–  Turn right at the end of the offramp.

– Park in the small pull out area next to the trailhead. There will be a sign there that notes the wildlife crossing.

Riverside Area Photos by Michele Felix Derbarmdiker