CPSG offers training courses in a variety of skills that build capacity and promote effective conservation.

Facilitation courses allow participants to hone their skills in structured decision making, communication, group dynamics, and conflict resolution. Courses in risk assessment and modeling provide an overview of population biology and conservation planning, focusing on the use of simulation methods for evaluating extinction risk under various management strategies.

Training is also available in ex situ population management principles, techniques, and software. Other types of conservation-related training courses are offered periodically to meet the specific needs of organizations or regions.


Training courses offered by other organizations: 

Graduate/Professional Training - Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, a partnership between George Mason University and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), is offering a full schedule of unique, intensive residential training courses hosted in our sustainably-built Academic Center on the grounds of SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia. All courses offer continuing education credits (CEUs) and some can be taken for graduate credit as well. Visit our website ( or email us atSCBItraining@si.edufor more details about each course, course costs, and credits earned.


Upcoming Training Courses from the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

Field Recording and Analysis of Biological Sounds for Research and Conservation

May 1-12, 2017—NEW COURSE!! 

Spaces still available: Applications accepted until MARCH 30—Apply NOW!!

Acoustic recording and monitoring now are mainstream tools for biological research and conservation, used to explore biology of acoustically active animals in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. Recording equipment and software for analyzing animal sounds are readily available, but few opportunities exist for biologists to learn appropriate use of the equipment and software together. This course fills that training gap. In two-weeks of long field-and-lab days, participants make and document high-quality recordings under varying conditions and address research and conservation questions by using acoustic analysis software to visualize/extract recording information. Collaboratively taught by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Smithsonian, and George Mason researchers, participants learn practical techniques for acquiring and analyzing animal sound recordings under real-world field conditions. This hands-on training focuses on bioacoustics, principally with Raven Pro sound analysis software (course fee includes student license): course modules also discuss soundscape theory, the emerging field of ecological acoustics, and other acoustics software platforms.


Essentials of Open Source GIS

June 5-9, 2017

Spaces still available—Apply Now!

GIS, GPS, satellite imagery, and mapping are essentials in the toolboxes of researchers, natural resource managers, and conservationists. However, the use of these technologies is often limited because of a lack of access to expensive and specialized software.  This one-week course focuses on freely available open-source GIS software and tools that can be modified and freely redistributed.  Combining lectures with computer tutorials, the course covers essential concepts, quickly and effectively getting practitioners started with open-source geospatial analysis tools, including QGIS and R. 


Stakeholder-Driven Scenario Models for Strategic Conservation Planning

September 11-16, 2017NEW COURSE!! 

TheScenario planning approach allows us to imagine how land use decisions we make today could influence the landscape of tomorrow. Storylines developed by stakeholders, scenarios describe potential alternate futures. If linked to land use, socio-economic, and environmental data, scenarios can help identify trade-offs or synergies between environmental health and human well-being. Project-based, this 6-day modeling course provides a conceptual and practical understanding of the intersection of scenario planning and land use modeling in the planning context.


Additional Upcoming Courses:    

·         Practical Zoo Nutrition Management (June 5-9, 2017: Full—no longer accepting 2017 applications)

·         Camera Trapping Study Design and Data Analysis for Occupancy and Density Estimation (June 19-30, 2017)   

·         Ecology and Conservation of Migratory Birds (September 18-29, 2017)           

·         Spatial Ecology, Geospatial Analysis & Remote Sensing for Conservation (October 16-27, 2017)


Check out Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Summit, April 21-23, 2017: