Martinelli Center
3585 Greenville Road, Suite 2
Livermore, CA 94550-6710
P (925) 371-0154
F (925) 960-1550

Join us May 9-10, 2018, for the Alameda Whipsnake Workshop, led by instructors Karen Swaim, MS and Jonathan Q. Richmond, PhD.

The Alameda County Resource Conservation District invites you to join us for the 2018 Alameda Whipsnake Workshop, May 9th-10th in San Ramon, CA.  Comprised of one classroom and one field session, this workshop will present attendees with the most current information on Alameda whipsnake biology, ecology, genetic research and habitat management and allow for hands-on field based learning as well. 


$350 - includes light breakfast and lunch

Registration is first-come, first serve, and is only finalized upon receiving payment.  Total workshop attendance is limited to 30 participants.  Each field session is limited to 10 participants each, to ensure instructor interaction and hands on training in the field.

Register now through Eventbrite!

We apologize that we are not able to hold spots until payment is received – we have consistently had trouble in the past receiving payment when spots were reserved before they were paid for.



This workshop will detail the biology of the Alameda whipsnake and how to apply this information to habitat management. Material will  be useful in conservation planning, impact analysis and educational outreach to those considering conservation projects to benefit the Alameda whipsnake.  It will also provide attendees with knowledge for monitoring projects where potential impacts to Alameda whipsnake have been identified.

The classroom session will focus on Alameda whipsnake biology; habitats and ecology; predators and prey; movements, populations, metapopulations, and landscapes; distribution; population genetics and implications for management; species differentiation; threats; strategies for conservation and recovery; trapping, field study and marking techniques.

The field session will provide training and instruction about trapping and sampling techniques, handling, and marking and processing captured vertebrates. 

PLEASE NOTE: Attendees will not be able to handle or trap Alameda whipsnakes directly, but will observe workshop instructors doing so.  Small field class sizes ensure attendees will learn proper techniques handling and trapping, even without the ability to handle whipsnakes directly.   Attendees will be able to handle any non-listed species captured.


May 9th, 2018
Classroom Session - 8:00am to 2:30pm
Presentation-style lecture; Breakfast, lunch and beverages provided.

Field Session 1 - 3:00pm to 6:30pm 

May 10th, 2018

Field Session 2 - 11:00am to 2:30pm

Field Session 3 - 3:00pm to 6:30pm


Karen Swaim, MS., Swaim Biological Inc., is a local herpetologist and president of a local research and consulting company.  She has been working in this field in the Bay Area for 19 years. Karen received her BS and MS in Biology from Cal State Hayward, now known as Cal State East Bay. Her thesis work focused on the ecology of the Alameda whipsnake and involved the use of radio-telemetry.  She also conducted trapping surveys at 22 sites in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Most of her current research work includes Alameda whipsnake, but also involves research on many other listed or special status reptiles and amphibians, including the San Francisco garter snake, giant garter snake, and California tiger salamander. A major focus of her current research work is on vegetation management to benefit amphibians and reptiles and also on the community assemblage of species.  The ACRCD is excited to welcome Karen as instructor for this workshop for the fourth time!

John Q. Richmond, PhD.
, works at the Western Ecological Research Center, San Diego Field Station, United States Geological Survey.  Dr. Richmond conducts research in evolutionary biology, conservation genetics, systematics, and ecology. Current projects include studies on a variety of reptile and amphibian species in the southwestern United States, including the Alameda whipsnake.  We are excited for Dr. Richmond to join our as an instructor for the first time in 2018, as he brings with him a wealth of information about the role of genetics in management planning, the genetic research that the USGS has conducted to date on the Alameda whipsnake, and future studies that will resolve open-ended questions about population genetics and phylogeography of the species.


Course Location

The classroom sessions will be held at the Rancho Amador Community Center, 1998 Park Loop Road, San Ramon, CA.  The field site is still being finalized, but will be within approximately 30 minutes of the Rancho Amador Community Center, and will include both breeding and upland habitat. Although we cannot guarantee successful capture of Alameda whipsnakes, workshop instructors do their very best to select a field site with Alameda whipsnakes present.


Please bring field-ready clothing, footwear and of plenty of water! Snake gaiters are recommended. 

Participants are also required to sign a waiver in order to participate in the field session (the form will be available at the classroom session).

Food and Beverages

Beverages, breakfast and lunch will be provided in the classroom session. We will do our best to accommodate special dietary needs when registrants notify us in advance. Please note that the classroom and field sessions are in rural locations with few restaurants and no stores nearby.


Class size is limited (30 participants) – this means you will have a great instructor-to-participant ratio in the classroom and field session, but it also means that the workshop generally fills up fast.   Please register through Eventbrite.

We apologize that we are not able to hold spots until payment is received – we have consistently had trouble in the past receiving payment when spots were reserved before they were paid for.  But please contact us with any questions - we recognize that it can be difficult for agencies to approve payment before registration.

Workshop Cancellation and Refunds
Participants who wish to cancel their registration will receive a refund minus Eventbrite fees if they inform Rachelle Hedges by May 1st, 2018.  Partial refunds after that date may be granted at the discretion of the RCD Executive Officer.

The Alameda County Resource Conservation District reserves the right to cancel or postpone a workshop or a portion of an event such as a field session for any reason, particularly for the lack of sufficient registration, incapacity of speaker, inclement weather, etc. In the case of cancellation, registrants will receive full refunds, and in the case of postponement those who are not able to attend the new date will receive full refunds.

If you have questions about the workshop or registration process, please contact Rachelle Hedges.  Email: or phone: 925-453-3872.