The Trail Conference offers digital learning and engagement opportunities for volunteers. From live webinars to on-demand content, we're providing workshops and lectures to boost your skills and knowledge. Many of the below courses count towards our Trail U program.
Sincere thanks to our friends at Subaru Distributors Corp. for their generous support for helping to make these webinars and workshops possible.
- Trail Maintenance Workshop Webinar
- Tool Maintenance and Repair
- Invasive Species for Trail Maintainers Workshop
- Graffiti Neutralizing and Removal Workshop
- Invasive Species Management Techniques for Trail Maintainers
- Quick Invasives Management and ID Guide (PDF)
- Learn Invasive Species Identification (standard)
- Learn Invasive Species Identification (intermediate)
- Tools and Safety Protocols for Invasives Management
- Trail Layout and Design
- Trail Structures: Working with Native Stone
- Rigging for Trail Work
- Tool Maintenance and Repair
- Ask a Conservation Corps Member
2023 Invasives Strike Force Training Resources and Webinars
Below is a series of training videos for Lower Hudson PRISM's Invasives Strike Force Survey Program. This community science program is designed to help with the mapping of high priority and/or emerging invasive species in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York and northern New Jersey. If you are interested in potentially becoming an Invasives Strike Force Surveyor, please contact our invasive species team by emailing us at [email protected] for the next steps.
For all volunteers who have been in touch with us and are ready for the next steps in training or you are simply looking for access to on-demand survey training resources, look no further than the next sections for help!
Invasives Strike Force Survey Resources
Invasives Strike Force Surveyor Training Workshop Webinar- Part 1 (Species ID)
Description: This video is the first of two required training videos for the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and Lower Hudson PRISM's Invasives Strike Force Survey Program. This required course helps Invasives Strike Force volunteers to identify four high priority invasive species (beech leaf disease, spotted lanternfly, tree of heaven and hemlock woolly adelgid) as well as one emerging invasive plant that rotates depending on the month you begin surveying. For now, that plant is Black and Pale Swallow-wort. As trained volunteers, you will then conduct monitoring along assigned trail sections that are convenient to your own home and according to a schedule that works for you!
Invasives Strike Force Surveyor Training Workshop Webinar- Part 2 (Survey Protocols)
Description: This video outlines the data collection and reporting protocols for the Invasives Strike Force Survey Program organized by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and Lower Hudson PRISM. This webinar is a combination of a live Powerpoint presentation and taped video demonstrations of the field survey, data recording and data reporting process. Once completed with this part of your training, you will officially be ready to take on an assignment and become an official ISF surveyor in 2023!
ISF Survey Species QuickID Guide : Key features and photos of all the species on the 2023 ISF Survey species list
Hemlock Health Assessment Guide: Examples to help with coding for hemlock health assessment portion of the data sheet. See note below on the data sheet on how the coding has changed slightly.
ISF Survey Field Data Sheet : This is a .pdf of the data sheet you will need to take with you into the field if you have volunteered as an ISF Standard surveyor. Please take at least 5 copies of this document with you when you go out! Please note that the coding for the hemlock health assessment is slightly different than in the training webinar (the coding is now "healthy, moderate or unhealthy" versus high, moderate, low. We changed the wording to make it feel a little more intuitive and consistent)
Volunteer Service Agreement: Check this link to to see if you need to fill out a Volunteer Service Agreement for the park you've been assigned. This mainly applies to those of you who were assigned to a NYS State Park or State Forest. The State Park form is very easy to fill out- the State Forest one is a little more complicated so make sure to follow instructions.
Invasives Strike Force Parking Pass: While this isn't an official parking pass for the park, often showing this to a gate attendant and explaining your volunteer role will help with waiving parking fees.
Returning Data Instructions
There are three major steps to follow.
1. Make sure you complete STEP 9 of the Training Video to upload all the "yellow boxes" to iMap once you are back in wifi range. You can find this instruction starting at minute 1:05:11 of the ISF Training Video- Part 2 . Your field iMap data points can't be viewed by us until they are uploaded in the manner I refer to above!!!! It sometimes takes a while/takes a few attempts to upload these results even at home so be patient. I recommend uploading 5 yellow boxes at a time! They tick off/get processed one at a time which looks like it keeps "thinking" but it is actually processing (just slowly). Plug in your phone when you start uploading and do something else while it uploads (make dinner, call a friend, whatever)! You'll know everything went through successfully when all of the yellow boxes have disappeared (which means they uploaded properly and are no longer in the queue to be uploaded).
2. We also need everyone to take time out to transfer their written field data into Excel format. Here is the link to the Excel file template you will need to fill out. Please download and fill out this spreadsheet to transfer over the field data into. We have filled in the first 20 rectangle rows in the first column just so you are aware where the data goes and that each row represents a new rectangle. It's in the exact same format as the field data sheet essentially with the exception of cells A1-A4. Remember to count your travel to and from your survey site as part of your volunteer hours as well as count the time you spent inputting data and record the grand total in cell c3! Save the file in the format of SurveyorLastname_TrailName_2023. If we didn't give you an actual trail name in the assignment, just name it after the park and some other signifier such as blaze color or trail section name (e.g., FahnestockBlue or SouthMtnHemlockFallsTrail). We have records of what everyone did so it's easy for us to know exactly where you were.
3. Once the Excel spreadsheet is filled in, please email us at [email protected] to say you are done and have completed the above two steps with the Excel spreadsheet attached!
Other Invasive Species Spotlight and Field Identification Videos (Not Part of the 2023 ISF Survey)
Check out our invasive species spotlight and field ID series! These short, ~5 minute videos highlight specific common, emerging and/or aquatic invasive species in our region. Each species spotlight video will feature information on the species' introduction history, ecology and impacts in addition to reasons for its invasion success and key ID features. For the species that are included in our Invasives Strike Force Survey program (and for other species featured in our monthly EcoQuest Challenge), we will also be releasing short field identification videos including how to tell it apart from other look-alikes!
Common Invasive Species
- Common reed (Phragmites) Species Spotlight (plus comparison with native Phragmites!- December 2020 EcoQuest Challenge called Learn How to Reed)
- Common buckthorn Field Identification (November 2020 EcoQuest Challenge Called The Buckthorn Stops Here)
- Sapphireberry Field Identification (also includes native blueberry and invasive porcelainberry ID for our August 2020 EcoQuest Challenge called Browsing for Blue)
- Tree of Heaven and Spotted Lanternfly Identification (July 2020 EcoQuest Challenge: Tracking Tree of Heaven and Spotting Spotted Lanternfly)
- Norway maple species spotlight and field ID
- Burning bush species spotlight and field ID
- Japanese knotweed species spotlight and field ID
- Autumn Olive Species Spotlight and Field Identification
- Multiflora Rose Species Spotlight and Field Identification
- Garlic mustard species spotlight and field identification
- Japanese barberry species spotlight and field identification
Emerging and Less Common Invasive Species
- New: Chinese Silvergrass Field Identification (October 2020 EcoQuest Challenge called Can't Miss Miscanthus)
- New: Beech Leaf Disease Field Identification (includes beech tree ID, in general, and other beech tree pathogen symptoms: September 2020 EcoQuest Challenge called Beech Leaf Investigation)
- New: Chinese Bushclover Field Identification
- Wisteria Field Identification
- Viburnum Field Identification (June 2020 EcoQuest Challenge focal: Vibing for Viburnums)
- Porcelainberry Field Identification (and comparison to native grapevines!)
- Siebold's viburnum species spotlight
- Linden viburnum species spotlight
- Slender false brome species spotlight
- Chocolate Vine Species Spotlight
- Chinese Bushclover Species Spotlight
- Jetbead Species Spotlight and Field Identification
- Sapphireberry Species Spotlight
- Scotch Broom Species Spotlight
- Castor aralia species spotlight
- Cutleaf blackberry species spotlight
- Japanese spiraea species spotlight
- Callery pear species spotlight and field identification (all in one)
Aquatic Invasive Species
- Fanwort species spotlight
- Brittle naiad species spotlight
- Water Chestnut Species Spotlight
- Curly-leaf pondweed Species Spotlight
- Eurasian Water Milfoil Species Spotlight
- Marsh dayflower species spotlight
- Alligatorweed species spotlight
- Connect with Nature Using Seek and iNaturalist!: A 5-Part Video Tutorial
- General Plant Identification and Invasive Plant Management Webinar
- Designing and Planting with Native Plants
- Wilderness Navigation Webinar
- Wake Up and Move with MovNat
- Avenza Maps App: To learn how to use the popular app that houses our digital maps, visit Avenza's online education center for upcoming and prerecorded webinars and tutorials
- Part 1: Making the Most of My Legacy Series: Donor Advised Funds
- Part 2: Qualified Charitable Distribution and How to Manage your IRA Required Minimum Distributions for Taxes
- Part 3: Smart Beneficiary Selection for your IRAs, 401(k) plans, Life Insurance, and Annuities
- Part 4: Advanced Planning
- Part 5: Community Foundations and your Charitable Goals
- The Heart of Philanthropy: For the Love of Trails Webinar
- Trail Project Panel: Building the Floating Walkway in Wawayanda
- Old Trails, New Systems: Re-Imagining Existing Trail Networks
- Making the Maps: How the Trail Conference Creates Its Popular Trail Maps Webinar
- Trail Map "Dos and Donts": Best practices for designing trail maps
- Finding Less-Traveled Trails
- Lenape Trail History & Overview - The Trail Conference's Urban Trail
- The Morris Canal Greenway: More than Hiking – Exploring Industrial Archaeology and Historic Artifacts Webinar
- Hiking Westchester: A Sneak Peek into Walkable Westchester's 3rd Edition
- Managing High Use Trails: Why Trail Stewards are a Necessity in Creating Safe, Sustainable Trails
- New Loop Trails in Northern New Jersey
- Winter Hiking Tips to Plan, Prepare, Explore!
Keep checking our events calendar for new listings!