Introduction to the Mojave Desert Tortoise
This year we offer a full introductory course including two half days of online lectures (Friday PM October 27 & Saturday AM October 28, 2023), a brief online quiz, and a full day of fieldwork in Ridgecrest CA on EITHER Friday November 3 or Saturday November 4. Completion of all parts plus an online course evaluation will be required to receive certification.
Those who completed a lecture series without a field experience will need to register for the whole course, there would be no difference in price, there are updates, and the review will support the field experience.
We are aware that there could be a Covid resurgence this fall. If that happens, we might have to impose additional restrictions, cut the size of the groups in the field, or cancel the fieldwork completely. We will notify you and you will receive refunds if we cancel.
- The lectures will be on Zoom, Oct 27, 12 to 5 PM and October 28 from 9 AM to 2 PM, PDT.
- There will be a brief, online quiz to complete before attending a field workshop.
- A Field Workshop is required to complete the course and will be given in the field in Ridgecrest CA for one day, EITHER Nov 3 or 4.
- There will be an online evaluation to prepare prior to receiving the certification letters.
Each person will register for the lecture series plus the field day of their choice along with the lectures. There are 4 choices for registration for the full course. Please be sure you select the correct one.
- Standard – Friday Nov. 3 field workshop plus lectures Oct. 27 & 28
- Standard – Saturday Nov. 4 field workshop plus lectures Oct. 27 & 28
- Student – Friday Nov. 3 field workshop plus lectures Oct. 27 & 28
- Student – Saturday Nov. 4 field workshop plus lectures Oct. 27 & 28
- Audit lectures only ($25).
The online lecture course will be available to audit for personal information without any certification or other recognition of attendance.
Online Lecture Course
The lectures will be on two half days (not available individually) online via Zoom.
Friday October 27 from 12PM – 5PM PDT AND Saturday October 28 from 9AM – 2:00 PM PDT
This online lecture course includes specific information about the biology, ecology, habitat preferences, life history, and health of the Mojave Desert Tortoise as well as presentation of the threats this species faces today. We will introduce how we do field surveys and tortoise handling and discuss the permits and authorizations that are required from various agencies. This course is designed for wildlife biologists, zoologists, natural resource specialists, wildlife managers, land managers and recreation specialists and may be useful for teachers, students, professionals working with the public, and the general public.
Please be prepared to use Zoom for the lectures and, be sure you use your full name and stay logged in during the entire session. Be sure you have a good internet connection and use a computer, not a phone or tablet. Chrome and Microsoft Edge are excellent. Safari and Firefox are usually OK. Do not use Internet Explorer. Download the free Zoom app ahead of time. By registering you agree not to share your course access code with anyone else. Be prepared to remain online for the entire program, we will be checking.
Field Workshop – Ridgecrest, CA
Friday Nov 3 from 8:30 AM – 5 PM PDT
Saturday Nov 4 from 8:30 AM – 5 PM PDT
Duplicate registrations will be cancelled.
Prerequisites: Completion of the online lecture course and the online quiz.
The morning demonstrations will cover identification of sign of desert tortoise and other desert species, and types and construction of tortoise-proof fencing. There will be a brief lunch break on site. The first afternoon demonstration will be how to process a desert tortoise. The final activity will be to walk a 1-kilometer transect, learning how to detect and record tortoises and sign. We hope for interactive sessions with many questions.
This workshop will be held in the field, outdoors only, with appropriate CDC recommended protocols for masking and social distancing. By registering you agree to comply with all COVID protocols — specific protocols will be determined according to the CDC advice available at the time. All instructors will be fully vaccinated.
You will need:
- to be well. Anyone arriving and showing signs of illness will be required to leave the workshop and their fees will be forfeited. Vaccinations are strongly advised but we will not be checking COVID vaccination status.
- appropriate clothing for outdoor work and for walking transects. The weather is unpredictable in early November and could be hot and dry or cold, windy, and rainy. We recommend layers.
- sturdy shoes or hiking boots, a hat, and sunscreen.
- your own water bottle, snacks, and a sack lunch.
- the map to the site, and all of the other handouts and data sheets that will be sent to you as pdf files prior to the workshop. Please print them out and bring them.
- a clipboard, pencil and pen.
- to complete an online course evaluation prior to receiving certification by US Mail.
- to arrange for lodging and meals — Ridgecrest has many inexpensive motels and restaurants.
Cost & Registration
Registration is now open. Please read all descriptions carefully.
The cost of the full course is $300 ($200 for students) for early registration until September 30. After that the fees will be $400 ($250 for students). There is an audit only option for the lectures for $25.
Each individual must register separately, do not have anyone register for you.
Students must send proof of current school enrollment to the email address below.
If you would like to pay by check, you can click the “Invoice Me” button, at the end of the online registration process, print the invoice, and mail a check payable to Desert Tortoise Council (with “Intro Course” on the memo line) to:
Desert Tortoise Council
3807 Sierra Highway #6-4514
Acton, CA 93510.
You must register and pay the invoice (this is a 2-step process) in order to be fully registered. Unpaid invoices will forfeit their place in the field workshop if it fills.
Materials and instructions for the lecture and the field workshop, and the link to join the lecture course, will be sent by email prior to the start of the course. Please be sure we have your correct, personal email to use.
For your registration you will receive:
- Access to the entire lecture course and a field workshop.
- Certification of participation as soon as you complete the post course evaluation online.
- Access to recordings of the course, online and read only after the entire course is over.
- Email access to course presenters for additional questions.
- Copies of pdf files listing permitting agencies and appropriate references to tortoise biology and conservation.
Paid registrants may cancel and request refunds:
- until October 1 for a full refund, less a $10 handing fee.
- until October 15 for a 50% refund.
- after October 15 for a full refund only if you become ill. Please email your request immediately so that we will be able to bring people from the wait list into the workshop.
- If you arrive for the course and you appear to be ill, you will have to leave the workshop and your fees will be forfeit.
- Full refunds will be given should the course be cancelled.