Northwest Lichenologists

NWL Purpose and Activities

Northwest Lichenologists (NWL) facilitates communication, meetings, and field trips among lichenologists interested in the Pacific Northwest. We promote and encourage professional training, growth, and renewal. We seek to maintain and promote high standards of performance in field lichenology. We are a nonprofit corporation.

Scientists, including lichenologists, are frequently called on to provide information on issues pertaining to issues of public concern. For example:

  • consulting for industry and forestry
  • advising government agencies
  • giving expert witness testimony
  • providing valid information to the media

The ability of lichenologists as a profession to provide information of this kind depends on sharing information, training, and certification of professional standards. Training and certification locations may be anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Typically we will rent facilities from other nonprofit groups or use facilities provided by government agencies.

Training opportunities for lichenology are currently quite limited. NWL will encourage better training in lichenology and related disciplines by (1) offering short courses and workshops for interested scientists and lay people, (2) disseminating information about how to obtain training, reference materials, and expert advice in lichenology, and (3) providing publications and reference materials.

Our web site provides an information resource. We sponsor a workshops and annual general meeting every year. We also sponsor field trainings and workshops. See the list of upcoming events.

Trainings will at least initially be financially supported by participant fees paid to NWL or the organizer. If you are planning a training and wish to have it sponsored and communicated by NWL, please send the secretary or other board member a short description of your plan. We also hope to obtain training grants, to be used in bringing in outside expertise, publishing training materials and other professional resource materials, and defraying student fees for the short courses.

Certification through Northwest Lichenologists sets standards for skills in field lichenology. These standards are needed for those whose activities affect the well-being of the general public.

Problem solving in land-use, forest management, range management, environmental monitoring, and management of endangered species create a need for the services of people trained in field lichenology. Such people must be able to show evidence of their qualifications. A certification program that identifies skilled practitioners for educational, scientific and service activities with public and private agencies is within the public interest.

Applicants demonstrate competency by a practical examination. The certification program is financially supported by applicant fees. Certification is for individuals only. The designation of "NWL Certified" may not be used in such a manner as to indicate that a business, firm, or agency is a certified entity. Further, the NWL certification may not be used in any way to connote NWL endorsement of a business, firm, agency, consulting service, product, or program.

The first round of certification occurred in June, 2000, at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Blue River, Oregon. Future certification exams will be offered at least once per year, provided five or more participants have applied. Locations are set each year by the Board of Directors in consultation with the examiner. NWL will contract the services of qualified instructors to administer the examinations.
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