Symposium Short Courses


Join us on virtually the week of January 31st to learn technical and communication skills essential to restoration practitioners.

Unless noted below, short-courses will be held in-person at Skamania Lodge on Monday February 6, 2023.
Short course fees are $200 for each half day course and $400 for the full day courses.

Diverting Bias

Half Day: Morning

Instructor: Dr. Derron Coles 
Material to be covered: Implicit biases, cultural values and cultural conflict management, and barriers to inclusion and belonging.

Description: This short course will examine cultural impacts on our ability to build and maintain diverse teams and authentic community participation in watershed restoration, enhancement, and protection. We will use the neuroscience behind implicit bias and cultural conflicts to better understand how and why our biases impact our decision-making team cohesion, and the level of engagement community partners have in our projects. Along the way will learn specific barriers to engagement cited by members of historically disenfranchised cultural groups and identify strategies for diverting our biases to provide space for collaborations to grow.

By the end of the workshop, participants will understand (a) what implicit bias is, its connection to culture and cultural norms, how it impacts our teams and environmental stewardship, and strategies for disrupting or reducing its occurrence.

Introduction to Ecohydraulics

Full Day

Instructors: Rocko Brown, PhD & Joseph Merz, PhD

Material to be covered: Understanding current and future flow and fisheries relationships is at the heart of applied and basic fisheries science and management. Advances in science and technology, such as numerical modeling and field-based evaluations of fish community and flow structure, make this topic important.

Description: Ecohydraulics is a multidisciplinary field and practice that combines ecology, biology, chemistry, engineering, hydrology, hydraulics and geomorphology to understand how aquatic organisms and their ecosystems are shaped and evolve with lotic systems. This course aims to introduce ecohydraulics to people interested in learning about some of the basic principles and concepts with a focus on applications to solve real world management questions. We intend this course for new and/or curious professionals seeking an introduction or refresher on ecohydraulics.

Decolonizing Restoration

Half Day: Afternoon

Instructors: Serina Fast Horse and Toby Query

Material to be covered: This workshop will focus on the principals of Indigenous Traditional Ecological and Cultural Knowledge (ITECK) and western knowledge systems that are applied in land stewardship. In this workshop, participants will learn and practice strategies around partnering with Indigenous community members in a respectful manner and steps that can be taken to foster relationships.

Description: How can we realign our projects and ourselves to form better relationships with the land and its First Peoples?  What are examples of projects that acknowledge this history of the land, its peoples, and include not just ecological restoration but cultural and spiritual restoration?

In this workshop, we will have a dialogue about the history of native peoples and white supremacy in the northwest and how it intersects with ecological restoration. We will be using the example of the Shwah Kuk wetland enhancement project which includes ITECK (Indigenous Traditional Ecological and Cultural Knowledge) as well as Western methods.  We will compare ITECK approaches and western approaches and look for common ground, including themes of healing through reciprocity, respect, and relationships. We will share learnings and challenges faced in our project when creating a co-created and co-managed project between the urban native community (including Portland State University’s Indigenous Nations Studies program) and the City of Portland, that will support your future projects with a wider and more inclusive spirit.

The Right Plants and the Right Specs: A Practical Session for Stream and Wetland Restoration & Mitigation Planting

Instructor: Dr. Sarah Spear Cooke

Sign up for the morning, afternoon, or both!

Morning Session: Stream and Wetland Restoration Planting & Mitigation: What To Plant and What Not To Plant

This half-day class is geared towards those who design and implement compensatory mitigation and restoration projects and/or those who review and condition mitigation plans who want more technical information on what plants are appropriate and what plants should not be used (but often are).

Course objective: To provide details on which plants are ideal to plant in many stream. and wetland applications and which plants should NOT be used for those who are experienced in restoration design.

Material to be covered: riparian (upland and wetland) plants mostly west side Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington


Afternoon Session: Stream and Wetland Restoration Planting & Mitigation: Specifications, Cost Estimates, and Construction Inspection

This half-day class is geared towards those who design and implement compensatory mitigation and restoration projects. The class focuses on factors to consider when designing wetland projects with emphasis on preparing planting specifications and bid documents and how to prepare a cost estimate for your project.  It also will include on-the-site tips on inspection of grading, plant materials delivered and getting planting contractors started on their installation in a way appropriate for native plantings (which is different than planting grassy strips in parking lots!).

Course objective: To provide details on the preparation of planting specifications and bid documents and the on-the-site inspection of grading, plant materials and installation technique by contractors.

Material to be covered: riparian (wetland and upland mitigation design specifications, bid documents including cost estimates and in the field protocols for site grading, plant materials, and installation inspections.

Target audience and recommended prerequisites: those who design stream and wetland mitigation plans. Highly recommend the person have at least preliminary knowledge of common PNW lowland wetland and upland plants.  This is not a beginner class.

Target audience and recommended prerequisites: those who design, review and/or condition stream and wetland mitigation plans. Highly recommend the person have at least preliminary knowledge of common PNW lowland wetland and upland plants. This is not a beginners class.

Speaking of Science — Delivering Inspired Presentations

Half Day: Morning

Instructors: Janine Castro

Material to be covered: If you would like to improve your public speaking and science communication skills, please join me for a half-day session on making your presentation interesting and effective, while also reducing your stress and actually enjoying the experience.  Participants will leave the workshop with a greater skill set, including a comprehensive checklist and personal coaching, to develop and deliver presentations, which is directly transferrable to our everyday communication. The workshop is highly interactive and builds on the collective experience of the audience and the instructor.

Description: Scientists and engineers should not be condemned to dry, monotonous, and uninspired presentations, because science is not boring. River restoration is one of the most exciting and dynamic fields of science and it is up to us to reflect our enthusiasm and passion in every talk we give and every message we deliver. Improve your public speaking skills, feel less nervous, and actually enjoy getting up in front of a crowd. Become a river restoration champion! Join me to learn a few simple techniques to dramatically improve your delivery and your impact.  You will leave the workshop armed with useful skills to develop and deliver inspired presentations and to improve your everyday communication. Whether you are a seasoned speaker or a relative novice, this course is for you.

New for this year we are offering a Part 1 online on Friday January 27 from 9-12 PST. This will allow those who are presenting at RRNW time to incorporate the information from this great workshop into their presentations. Part 2 will be in person on Monday February 6.


Science to Social: Make Videos to Show Results

Full Day

Instructors: Michelle Alvarado, Owner of Wahoo Films

Material to be covered: In this workshop, participants will gain an understanding of the principals of creating impactful short videos for social media or presentations. The workshop will include social strategy, story discovery, production tips, distribution, and more ways to share the videos.

Description: You and your team are doing important work but it is often hard to bring out the public and stakeholders to see the progress.  Videos are an effective way to engage your audience and show results.  This hands-on course will share how to develop an effective storyline, the 101 to making a video and how to get your videos in front of your audience.  If you already have a video, this course will share ways to do even more with it.

Remote Sensing

Instructor: Dr. Emily Fairfax

Dr. Emily Fairfax’s short course has been scheduled for a workshop in the Spring of 2023.