Training Course: Decision Science for Conservation and Spatial Action Mapping

The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation is offering a professional short course for conservation scientists and practitioners focusing on introducing participants to decision analysis tools, optimal monitoring and value of information theory, and Marxan and spatial action mapping. This course will allow participants to discuss their real-world field projects and apply their new knowledge to their current research. Those who are new to Marxan or GIS and have no formal training are welcome to apply. Applications received before March 23rd 2020 will receive priority. Apply here.

Date published: 2020/03/19

Graduate and Professional Short Courses

Decision Science for Conservation and Spatial Action Mapping

A week-long intensive course in quantitative problem formulation and problem solving for conservation scientists and practitioners.

Apply here.

Program Details


May 18-22, 2020

Available Formats

Professional Training (SMSC 0533, 3.75 CEUs)


Professional Training: $1417.00


Apply by March 23, 2020 (for first consideration)
Payment Due By April 6, 2020

Visit the program website for details on housing and preparing to attend this training course.

What You'll Study

  • Introduction to decision analysis tools including cost-effectiveness, multi-criteria decision analysis, and project prioritization
  • Introduction to optimal monitoring and value of information theory
  • Introduction to Marxan and spatial action mapping
  • Problem formulation to frame projects as a decision science problem

This course is aimed at practitioners who have current/ongoing conservation projects and are prepared to discuss a current conservation project. Participants do not need any formal training in Marxan or GIS to take this course and there are no formal prerequisites.

Meet the Faculty

Hugh Possingham: Chief Scientist, The Nature Conservancy

Jennifer McGowan: Spatial Planning Technical Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy

What’s Included

Acceptance does not guarantee you a seat in the course. Seats are allocated as registration payments are received, and early registration is strongly encouraged to ensure you get a spot.

The total cost for professional training includes our Housing ($225.00) and Dining ($192.00) Packages and covers:

  • Registration fees
  • Instruction, course manual, and other course materials
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off shuttle service at Dulles International Airport (IAD) at specific pre-arranged times. We do not provide ground transportation shuttle service to or from any other airports in the Washington, DC, region.
  • Transportation for course activities
  • Daily full-service buffet at the SMSC Dining Commons
  • Housing at the SMSC Residential Facility, including a shared room with bathroom (single rooms available at twice the shared housing cost)

Interested in Commuting?

Participants with a documented, permanent address local to campus may elect to commute with permission from SMSC. Commuters are required to purchase a reduced meal plan ($50) which includes lunch and snack breaks for each day of instruction. Additional dining options are available and may be selected during registration.  Email [email protected] for additional information.

Visit the Smithsonian-Mason Graduate and Professional Short Courses website for more information on this course and others like it.

New to GIS? Our GIS group can answer your questions!

Continue the discussion… GIS