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Commonly Offered Workshops

The workshops listed below are examples of the education workshops we usually offer annually. Not all that are listed are offered at this time.

We recommend checking our website's community calendar regularly for upcoming educational workshops and programs. 

For what's currently scheduled please click HERE

To view information about our Fundamentals for Conservation Commissioners Certificate Training Program please click HERE

   Soils Workshops

Hydric Soils: Co-sponsored with New England Wild Flower Society

Description: This course for environmental professionals serves as an introduction or refresher on hydric soils, with a focus on understanding the current field indicators of hydric soils in the United States (USDA-NRCS), the basis for USACE soil descriptions. During the morning classroom session, we will review basic soil descriptors including color, texture, and soil development, specifically hydric characteristics, and redoximorphic features. In the afternoon field session, we will learn to apply these indicators to soils.

Bring available field equipment and a bag lunch; wear footwear appropriate for muddy conditions.

Hydric Soils: How to Know ‘Em When You See ‘Em

Description: This one-day workshop on hydric soils, which will be a great introductory class or refresher for consultants and regulators, including conservation commissioners and agents. A morning classroom session will be followed by an afternoon in the field getting your hands dirty and putting your new knowledge to work. Topics: soils of Massachusetts; geologic history and its influence on our soils; soil texture, color, describing soil profiles, and estimating depth to seasonal high water table. The afternoon field trip will involve working in teams to describe soil pits on a wetland – upland transects using MassDEP Methodology. Morning refreshments and lunch are included. Bring your own field equipment if you have it, such as an auger, spade, and a Munsell color book, and dress for the woods and wetlands.

Limit 24 Participants

Vegetation Workshops

Fern Identification and Ecology for Conservationists

Description: This introduction to ferns will be helpful and informative for anyone interested in fern identification. With an emphasis on ferns and hydrology it should be especially useful to conservation commissioners. Come explore the woodland trails at the Fruitlands Museum and learn to identify the most common ferns of our area. An indoor lab session will cover basic fern biology, identification techniques, and ecology, and the field session will provide simple and easy methods for positive field identification. We will also observe the changes in fern species composition along the hydrologic gradient, and review the status of designated species as wetland indicators. Please bring a hand lens if you have one.

Please bring a lunch and water bottle, and you’re encouraged to dress defensively (for mosquitoes and ticks).

Wetland and Other Shrubs   (Offered at different locations each year.)

Description: Grassy Pond Conservation Land is a 96 acre sanctuary that includes Grassy Pond, associated wetlands, a small meadow, two small streams and a forest of oak, hickory, white pine and hemlock. Grassy Pond is a kettle hole pond formed during the retreat of the glaciers. It exhibits bog characteristics (very wet/highly acidic) around its perimeter, with leatherleaf, high-bush blueberry, red maple and tamarack moving in and shrinking the pond. There are two boardwalks to keep us high and dry - one going out into the pond and a second one running through the pond-shore bog. We’ll take a look at 16 - 20 shrubs as well as a couple of trees and a few non-woody plants that are often found in wetlands. We’ll also discuss some fun and interesting natural history about some of the plants we see. Please bring lunch, a favorite field guide and a hand lens if you have one.

Wetland Plant Identification: Co-sponsored with New England Wild Flower Society

Description: Some of the most productive ecosystems on earth are wetlands, but apart from their proximity to water, wetland habitats vary considerably. This is your chance to learn about the distinctive ecology and common indicator species of various wetland community types. Following a brief lecture, the class will visit a red maple swamp, a floodplain marsh, and a pond to observe ferns, sedges, and various aquatic species as well as shrubs and trees. Bring a hand lens (if you own one), lunch, and water; come prepared for wet feet.

Wetland Delineation Workshops

Wetland Delineation for Beginners

Description: This workshop is designed for Conservation Commissioners new to wetland delineation methodology. Participants will learn how to identify wetland resource areas using the DEP manual “Delineating Bordering Vegetated Wetlands under the MA Wetlands Protection Act”. Commissioners will gain a better understanding of how to identify a wetland resource area based on vegetation, soils and indicators of hydrology. DEP manual included

  • Attendees should bring a bag lunch
  • Coffee and refreshments will be served
  • Bring pencil/pen, tape measure and pocket calculator
  • Dress appropriate to the weather
  • Bring bug spray with DEET


Basic Wetland Delineation’s Soils and Vegetation

*Program presented in cooperation with the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program.

Instructor: John Rockwell 

Description: Having delivered his "Basic Wetland Delineation Workshop" to hundreds of Conservation Commissioners and wetland aficionados in Marion, Massachusetts over the past several years, John Rockwell, Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program Wetland Specialist, will now split his one-day workshop into two full-day workshops. Participants in both workshops will become more familiar with the state methodology of wetland delineation through practice sessions, case studies and a field session; they’ll be introduced to plant identification and be shown how to use the DEP manual, Delineating Bordering Vegetated Wetlands under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act.


Basic Wetland Delineation: Soils

Description: Focus is on hydric soils, indicators of wetland hydrology and understanding the DEP BVW Delineation Field Data form: Section II. Indicators of Hydrology

Limit 15 Participants

Basic Wetland Delineation: Vegetation

Description: Focus is on wetland vegetation and understanding the DEP BVW Delineation Field Data Form: Section I. Vegetation.

Limit 15 Participants

  • Lunch and the DEP manual are included in each session.
  • Bring pencil/pen and calculator
  • Field work in afternoon
  • Dress appropriate to weather
  • Bug Spray with DEET is recommended


Basic Wetland Identification and Delineation: Co-sponsored with New England Wild Flower Society

Description: This two-day course introduces the principal elements of wetland identification: wetland hydrology, hydric soils, and hydrophytic plants. Together, we will identify plants in the field, place a delineation line, and utilize web resources for preparation. Recommended gear includes a field notebook, field guides, soil color charts, an auger, and rain gear. Bring a bag lunch. Some pre-class reading is required.

more Calendar

9/3/2020 » 12/17/2020
Water Resources Policy and Watershed Management at Harvard Extension


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Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC)
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Belmont, MA 02478
Phone: (617) 489 - 3930
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