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Come Learn With Us

Since its inception in 1972, Environmental Concern Inc. has put a premium on building the capacity of those in the wetland field (consultants, government, higher education, non-profits) through quality professional development opportunities.  Unlike other wetland training centers, Environmental Concern is a working firm engaged in the work of wetlands.  We are able to provide students a unique learning experience presented from the practitioner’s perspective.  The Wetland Learning Center in St. Michaels, Maryland (Eastern Shore) includes the nation’s first wholesale wetland plant nursery – currently growing over 120 different species, and an active restoration department engaged in cutting edge enhancement, restoration and creation initiatives.

All courses are held at  Environmental Concern’s Wetland Learning Center located on the headwaters of San Domingo Creek in St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. (Directions)

Most course days are scheduled from 8:30 am-5:00 pm.

Discounts for multiple registrations may apply.
Please contact us for details.

Grasses Sedges Rushes field ID

Title Bar for Wetland Delineation

Basic Wetland Delineation:

Students and professionals just entering the field of wetland science, as well as those needing a review, should attend this 4.5 day (36-hour) course covering the methodologies and protocols set forth by the Corps of Engineers. The participants will focus on the technical aspects of wetland delineation using the individual wetland parameters of vegetation, soils, and hydrology. Instructor: William Sipple

April 30 - May 4, 2018
Early Registration $950 before 4/13/2018
After deadline $975

September 10 - 14, 2018
Early Registration $950 before 8/24/2018
After deadline $975

Heading for Soil Courses

Evaluating Hydric Soils in the Field:

During this two-day course, participants will learn to identify the field indicators of hydric soils through lectures and field trips.  This course will include extensive field work to build participants’ experience and confidence in accurately identifying hydric soils for delineation reporting. Background experience in hydric soils is not required. Instructor: Autumn Starcher, Ph.D.

September 24 - 25, 2018
Early Registration $375 before 9/7/2018
After deadline $400

Vegetation Courses Button

Winter Woody Plant ID:

This three-day course will give wetland professionals a competitive edge when delineating wetlands. Vegetation analysis is the primary criteria used to delineate wetland boundaries. Numerous wetland and upland woody plant species will be identified through lectures, field trips, and field/lab keying using species-specific winter plant morphological characteristics. Background in botany is preferred, but not necessary. Instructor: William Sipple

November 13 - 15, 2018
Early Registration $550 before 10/26/2018
After deadline  $575

Wetland Plant ID:

Designed for wetland professionals to improve vegetation identification skills, this two-day field course will focus on both tidal and non-tidal wetland plant identification. Emphasis will be placed on key field characteristics of select vascular plant families.  Instructor-led and group keying will teach the necessary skills for field identification of wetland indicator species as we visit a variety of wetland habitats on the Eastern Shore. Instructor: Leslie Hunter Cario

August 14 - 15, 2018
Early Registration $375 before 7/27/2018
After deadline  $400

Grasses, Sedges and Rushes:

A solid understand of grasses, sedges and rushes is necessary for anyone working with wetlands. This four-day course will focus on identification of these members of the plant kingdom. Participants will leave with an understanding of the families, family subdivisions, and genera of the often confusing species of grasses, sedges, and rushes (wetland and upland). Prior experience with plant identification is required. This is not a beginner level course. Instructor: William Sipple

July 23 - 26, 2018
Early Registration $700 before 7/6/2018
After deadline  $725

Instructor Bio Button

Instructor Biography:

Leslie Hunter Cario

As the principal of Chesapeake Horticultural Services, LLC, Leslie Hunter Cario serves as an independent consultant to non-profit organizations, nurseries, and landscape operations.  With a focus on native plants and conservation landscaping, this horticultural work encompasses production planning, research, nutrient management, and training.  Involved with the native plant industry since 1997, Leslie’s previous experience includes directing Environmental Concern’s native plant nursery as well as collecting seeds and growing plants for a major seed supplier.  She is a Certified Professional Horticulturist, LEAD Maryland fellow, and Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional.  Volunteer service includes the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council, the Maryland Nursery Landscape and Greenhouse Association, the Town of Easton Tree Board, and Maryland’s Invasive Plants Advisory Committee.

William S. Sipple

William S. Sipple is a wetland ecologist and the principal in W. S. Sipple Wetland & Environmental Training & Consulting, a small company he established after retiring from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2003. At EPA, he was an ecologist in the Agency’s Wetland Division in Washington, D.C. from 1979- 2003. From 1971-1979, he worked for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in Annapolis in a tidal wetland program. He has lead numerous field trips in the Mid-Atlantic Region since 1971 and has taught various wetland delineation and plant identification courses in the private sector at Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, the Humboldt Field Research Institute in Steuben, ME, the Institute for Wetland & Environmental Education & Research in Laverett, MA, Environmental Concern, Inc. in St. Michaels, MD, the Northern Virginia Community College in Woodbridge, VA, and at the Graduate School, U. S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. His graduate training was in regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania and plant ecology at the University of Maryland. He has published a number of scientific articles in various peer-reviewed journals and is also a dedicated journal keeper (over 50 years) and writer, which has resulted in extensive field journals and two books: Through the Eyes of a Young Naturalist (1991) and Days Afield: Exploring Wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay Region (1999).


Autumn N. Starcher, Ph.D.

Autumn N. Starcher, Ph.D., is an environmental soil chemist and Extension Agent in 4-H Youth Development through WVU Extension Service.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in Plant and Soil Sciences in 2016 and received her B.S. from Marshall University in Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Science in 2011.  The focus of her doctoral dissertation was formation of iron-bearing minerals in reducing soil conditions, such as those found in wetland soils, and their interactions with heavy metal contaminants.  Findings of her research have been presented at national and international conferences, and she received a travel grant through the National Science Foundation to present her research at Goldschmidt 2016 in Yokohama, Japan.  In addition to her Ph.D. dissertation, she has published her manuscripts in the peer-reviewed journal Chemical Geology


Instructor Bios

Registration and Cancellation Policy

Directions to EC's Campus

Schedule for 2018
Professional Courses



April 30
- May 4

Basic Wetland Delineation

July 23 - 26

Grasses, Sedges, and Rushes ID

August 14 - 15 Wetland Plant ID
10 - 14

Basic Wetland Delineation

24 - 25

Evaluating Hydric Soils in the Field

13 - 15

Winter Woody Plant ID


Basic Plant ID Class


Plant ID



Sweet Flag (Acorus americana)