Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Environmental Sciences and Management


Natural Resources Management


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Nicholas E. Williams

Advisor Department

Natural Resources Management

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


California does not have a cohesive curriculum for educating and training forest and fire professionals. The Swanton Pacific Ranch Fuels Management Training Program is Cal Fire affiliated and provides online and in person training to assist in equipping fire and forest professionals throughout California with the necessary skills to be successful fire and forest practitioners and managers. An exit survey was offered to all workshop participants after the Swanton workshop concluded. The survey was answered by 331 Swanton workshop participants to assess the effectiveness of the training program, the educational practices used to teach participants, and what factors of a participant’s background influence their change in knowledge. Analyses indicate that specific elements of a Swanton workshop participant’s background (i.e., gender and years of experience) as well as workshop type strongly correlate with their overall change in knowledge. Swanton workshop participants identified five best educational practices for their learning experience that also aligned with best practices identified in the literature. These practices included personal experiences, engaging instructors, presentations, explanations, external resources, detailed definitions, and a facilitated question and answer portion. Multiple instructors during hands-on and online Zoom sessions were beneficial for engagement and organization. The workshop's accessibility benefits those in the industry thus making it helpful. The employment of the five best practices also showed significant correlation with greater changes in workshop participant's change in knowledge. The results also indicate that the Swanton Pacific Ranch Fuels Management Training Program is effective due to a consistent increase in knowledge obtained after the workshop. These results can be used to create a cohesive training curriculum for the state of California to ensure that well rounded fire and forest personnel are maintaining California forests. The results can also assist in creating a cohesive framework for all Swanton workshops to follow to maintain effectiveness.