Introduction to the Mojave Desert Tortoise
Online Lecture Course & Field Workshop
For 2023 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.
There appears to be a Covid resurgence, and we intend to require face masks in the field whenever you are close to other people. It is possible that we will 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, October 27, 12:00 to 17:00 and October 28, 09:00 to 14:00 Pacific Time.
- 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.
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 12:00 – 17:00 Pacific Time AND Saturday October 28 from 09:00 – 14:00 Pacific Time
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. Be sure you have a good internet connection and please 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.
We are grateful to the Turtle Survival Alliance for hosting this course online as a Zoom webinar.
Be prepared to remain online for the entire program, we will be checking.
Field Workshop – Ridgecrest, CA
Friday November 3 from 08:30 – 17:30 Pacific Time
Saturday November 4 from 08:30 – 17:00 Pacific Time
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 protocols for masking and social distancing. By registering you agree to comply with all COVID protocols. All instructors will be fully vaccinated. You will be asked to wear an approved mask over your mouth and nose and remain socially distanced at all times.
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
Open registration will begin in mid summer.
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 once 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.