TRAININGS AND SEMINARS

PEOPLE TRAINED: 180 
(since October 2016)

CAPACITY BUILDING & TRAINING PROGRAM

 

The conference hall and cafeteria 
at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s
Sikhote-Alin Research Center, in Ternei, Primorye

Photograph © Jonathan Slaght, WCS.
 


Background: WCS offers a training program to provide researchers with a complete “conservation tool kit.” This training program includes workshops covering most of aspects of conservation research. We teach how to develop research questions, collect data, choose correct analysis tools, and publish results. Also, how to design, implement, and manage conservation projects/programs, and how to monitor conservation interventions for indicators of success. Some examples of our trainings include statistics, scientific writing, camera trapping, use of tagging to monitor animal movements, and other relevant topics.


Where: WCS created the Sikhote-Alin Research Center (SARC) in 2005, which supports and provides opportunities for young, capable, and eager Russian students and professionals, helping them find their niche in the realm of wildlife biology, management, and conservation. SARC is a formal collaboration with Sikhote-Alin Reserve to undertake high-quality scientific research in the protected area and more broadly in the RFE, and is also an informal collaboration with a number of Russian and American scientific institutes and academies. Our training program includes multiple workshops a year, primarily hosted at SARC, but occasionally elsewhere (such as Vladivostok, Land of the Leopard National Park, or in neighboring China).  


Staff: Our trainings are led by Dr. Eugenia Bragina. Workshops are designed and carried out by Dr. Bragina with support from WCS Russia staff and experts brought in from across Russia and the world. For inquiries please contact Dr. Bragina at email: ebragina@wcs.org


Participants: WCS Russia holds seminars for scientific specialists representing various academic institutes, federal universities, protected areas, and federal and provincial agencies (see Map below for geographic distribution of recent attendees).       

 

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UPCOMING WORKSHOPS (Fall 2018)

15-19 October: a workshop on how to write proposals which get funded by Jon Slaght, PhD, and Eugenia Bragina, PhD. Funding is something everyone needs, so here is a training on how to get the most popular skill.

11-15 November: Heidi Kretser, PhD, and Mikhail Yablokov, PhD, are leading a workshop on human dimension in wildlife. How to cooperate rather than fight with lay people? How do we engage, negotiate and work together? Will talk about human behaviour, social norms, message framing, and other topics.

19-23 November: Anna Klevtsova, MS, and Maxim Dubinin, PhD, will lead a workshop on remote sensing of the environment with free software. We will discuss how to measure logged areas, estimate phenology trends, make land use maps and other questions. The syllabus is developed for beginners.

 

PAST WORKSHOPS (2016-2017 sample)

Statistical Analysis in Program R: November 2017, Sikhote-Alin Research Center, Ternei, Russia

 

In contrast to several decades ago, biological studies today must be backed by rigorous statistical methods to be considered credible. The statistical program known simply as R is currently being used in an overwhelming majority of biological studies being published today. With huge analytical advantages over Statistica, the statistics program most-used in Russia, R is actually much easier to use (once an initial learning curve has been mastered). Our goal with this workshop was to help participants overcome their fear of statistics in general, and of R in particular. This workshop targeted graduate students and early-career professionals.

Preparing Scientific Manuscripts and Presenting Data to an Audience: November 2017, Land of the Leopard National Park, Primorye, Russia

Scientific methods of data collection and analysis are constantly evolving, but the ability to effectively convey complex ideas to different audiences remains foundationally important. The purpose of this week-long seminar was to learn how to communicate thoughts to a target audience, from structuring scientific manuscripts for publication to giving public presentations before scientific and lay audiences. Participants, mostly graduate students and early-career wildlife conservationists and managers, wrote articles and prepared reports, and then discussed and edited them in a group setting. By the end of the workshop, every participant had a draft of a scientific manuscript and/or Powerpoint presentation. 

Shorebird and Waterfowl Workshop: 09-11 October 2017, Sikhote-Alin Research Center, Ternei, Russia
Twenty-one avian specialists from Russia and the United States met from October 9-11, 2017 at the WCS Sikhote-Alin Research Center in Ternei. The purpose of this meeting was to share ideas, practice advanced avian tracking and data analysis skills, and to identify pressing trans-border conservation needs that can be addressed via collaborative action across the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Workshop participants were experts who conduct research across the region, including the Russian Provinces of Chukotka, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, Yakutia, Khabarovskii Krai, and Primorskii Krai, as well as the U.S. state of Alaska. Participants hailed from three institutions of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Far Eastern Federal University, Moscow State University, one federal-level protected area, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Russia and WCS Arctic Beringia Programs, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Significantly, this workshop resulted in the identification of true conservation needs that allow all parties (i.e., Russian and American researchers) to contribute their strengths to further conservation of migratory shorebirds at the international level. 

Drs. Rick Lanctot (USFWS) and Rebecca Bentzen (WCS Arctic Beringia) demonstrate how to attach a leg harness transmitter to a small shorebird, using a stuffed animal as an example. Photograph © Jonathan Slaght, WCS.

 

Workshop on Population Analysis: February 2017, Vladivostok, Russia

This workshop was held in Vladivostok, with lecturers from the United States Forest Service, Idaho Fish and Game, and WCS Russia. We covered multiple topics including abundance assessment techniques like indices, estimates, capture-recapture methods, and transects, various models of survival estimation, population growth rate analysis, and design of monitoring programs. The audience of 25 individuals included graduate students from the Far Eastern Federal University and staff of regional protected areas. Every student practiced designing their own research program. The workshop received high evaluations and many students said that it would be nice to have more time for exercises and practice.


 

Karl Malcolm (USFS, right) and Eugenia Bragina (WCS, left) lead a discussion on animal populations with students from the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, February 2017.


Workshop on Scientific Writing: February, 2017, Sikhote-Alin Research Center, Ternei, Russia

We attracted 17 participants from across Russia to this training at our SARC facility. We covered grant writing (e.g., structure, etiquette, funding sources), scientific manuscript preparation (e.g., structure, figure preparation), and development of other skills (e.g., curriculum vitae preparation, common writing mistakes, and the habits of a successful writer). 

Each day was filled with ample time for participants to work on drafts of their grant proposals or scientific manuscripts with trainers circulating throughout the room to answer questions and consult on a one-on-one basis. We held regular, group feedback sessions, where participants volunteered to show their progress and receive critical feedback from the rest of the group. 

After dinner each night, 3-4 workshop participants gave short Powerpoint presentations about their projects or regions of origin. While not specifically related to writing, this was an important part of the daily routine as it allowed participants to learn about their colleagues and the unique locations where they live and work. This section was very well received and helped build interest and comradery among participants.

In our post-workshop follow ups, as a direct result of this training, we learned that nine participants (of 17 total) met their post-workshop goals of either submitting manuscripts for peer-review or proposals for grants.


Jonathan Slaght (WCS) describes grant structure in the Sikhote-Alin Research Center’s conference room. Photograph © Dale Miquelle.


SECR Analyses of Camera Trap Data: April  2016, SARC. 
Advanced level seminar for dedicated professionals. 

Camera Trap Use and Data Analyses: January 2016, SARC. 
A seminar and training for scientific specialists from Institutes of Far Eastern Branch of  Russian Academy of Sciences, and from of protected areas from different regions of Russia (32 participants)