Introduction to Desert Tortoises and Field Techniques

Maturango Room, Springhill Suites Marriott, Ridgecrest, CA

The confirmed dates for the next Introductory Tortoise Course are November 11–12, 2017.
Email Maggie Fusari at Introductory Tortoise Course with questions about the next Course.

Introduction to Desert Tortoises and Field Techniques is a two-day beginners course including information on ecology, habitat preferences, life history, health, physiology, and threats; applicable state and federal laws and required permits, and field sessions on surveys and identification of tortoises and tortoise sign. This two-day course is a comprehensive introduction to Agassizi's or the Mojave Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii ) designed for wildlife biologists, zoologists, natural resource specialists, wildlife managers, land managers, recreation specialists, persons dealing with the public, teachers, and the general public.

This course is recommended for entry-level field biologists looking to prepare themselves for the job of locating tortoises and sign in the field, and for seeking authorizations to do tortoise fieldwork. An understanding of basic vertebrate biology and ecology is helpful.

The course includes:

  • Hands-on exercises in monitoring and surveying techniques for desert tortoises
  • Authorized demonstrations of egg handling and burrow construction
  • Presentations about the desert tortoise and threats to its survival
  • To receive a letter affirming completion of this course you must attend the entire course including the field portion, turn in a completed field survey form, and complete the on-line test that will be available in the week following the course and due in mid December.

Authorization Facts
Desert Tortoise Council's Introduction to Desert Tortoises and Field Techniques courses are recognized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, BUT a certificate of attendance does not guarantee any USFWS authorization or permit. However, completion of the course should help with the authorization/permitting processes.

Regarding the DTC Authorized Biologist Course: While the Introductory Tortoise Course provides an exceptional overview of tortoise biology, ecology, federal and state regulations, and monitoring and survey techniques, you will also need a minimum of 280 hours conducting construction monitoring in desert tortoise habitat plus 280 hours of conducting desert tortoise surveys to qualify for the Authorized Desert Tortoise Biologist Training Course.

Watch this website for details and links to registration which will begin by July 7.

Registration covers the course plus 2 breakfasts and 1 lunch. Other meals, transportation and lodging are on your own. Information on hotels with guaranteed rates will be posted along with registration instructions.

Early Registration will be $295 ($195 for a currently registered college student) up to Saturday, September 16. Thereafter Regular Registration will be $345 ($245 for a currently registered college student). You will be charged regular registration unless you pay by the early registration date.

Special accommodation will be made for agencies wishing to pay for unspecified attendees and for government agencies with budget restrictions.

After you complete the course you will receive a complimentary one-year membership in the Desert Tortoise Council (unless you elect not to accept it).

Speakers will include Kristin Berry, Peter Woodman, Becky Jones, Alice Karl, and Ed Larue of the DTC, Carolyn Woods (BLM), and Ray Bransfield (USFWS).

For questions email:
Maggie Fusari, DTC workshop coordinator