California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Scientific Community Development Program

DFG scientists

The Scientific Community Development Program (SCD) was started in 1985 as a means of bringing on-the-job mentoring opportunities to new CDFW Staff. The program’s primary goal is to introduce new scientific staff to CDFW protocols and standards, and assist them in identifying and addressing immediate training needs. The program’s other priority is to assist in the CDFW’s scientific staff’s professional development and provide guidance through ongoing learning opportunities, and to actively cultivate relationships throughout the CDFW for the effective stewardship of the State's natural resources.

The program rests on four pillars:

  1. Consistent, Centralized, and Logical Delivery of Standardized Protocols
  2. Building relationships and fostering Networking among the Scientific Staff
  3. Creating opportunities for Intradepartmental Collaboration
  4. Collaboration with our Resources Agency partners and Federal counterparts

There are three training areas of focus in the Scientific Community Development Program: Technical Skills Training, Field Skills Training, and Department Orientation. The SCD program is designed for CDFW's scientific staff regardless of classification, level of experience, or tenure on the job. 

The SCD program provides orientation and hands-on field training to scientific staff newly hired by CDFW. Orientation materials provided by SCD are designed to introduce new employees to routine administrative and operational details that are often overlooked. Full benefits include a guided training needs assessment followed by development of an individualized training plan, and full sponsorship to attend approved training with travel, per diem, and training fees paid for completely by the SCD program. SCD program enrollees are also granted priority enrollment for all resource management classes. The term of enrollment in the program is two years.

Furthermore, the SCD program has expanded and seeks to enhance the professional knowledge of the CDFW's experienced scientists through fostering networking, encouraging attendance at workshops and conferences, and establishing partnerships with other professional and government agencies.