NR 421 – Syllabus

Natural Resource Sampling

Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship

College of Natural Resources

Name:    Wade Tinkham
Office:    Forestry 123e
Office     Mon & Wed 8-8:50
Hours:    or by appointment

Teaching Assistant
Neal Swayze and Matt Creasy
Forestry 123a
Wed 10-noon or by appointment

                Course Information
Term:                            Spring 2019
Lecture Day/Time:    M, W, & F 9-9:50 or 10-10:50
Lecture Location:      Military Science 201
Course Credits:           3

Course Overview
This course provides an overview of the theory, principals, and process involved in collecting, processing, and interpreting sampling data of natural resources. This is intended to provide an understanding of the sampling designs and statistical approaches commonly implemented within natural resource management. It primarily focuses on the statistics and theory of natural resources and management sampling, including topics such as simple random sampling, stratified random sampling, systematic sampling, cluster sampling, and multiphase sampling. A major objective of the course is not only for students to learn the basics of sampling design but instill the importance of appropriate designs and what they mean for the standard error of the mean. The course will reinforce these principals through a term project, were students will develop, implement, analyze, and report on a natural resource survey.

Course Goals and Objectives
This course should enable students with the following skills and knowledge:

  • Students should be able to rephrase the importance of the Law of Large Numbers and Central Limit Theorem to probability based sampling.
  • Students should be able to interpret how steps within the Survey Process fit together and how this is utilized in broader natural resource monitoring.
  • Students should be able to discuss and justify different approaches to determining sample size.
  • Students should be able to describe the structure and limitations of common sampling designs (i.e. simple random sampling, stratified random sampling, cluster sampling, and unequal probability sampling).
  • Students should be able to evaluate and justify the use of different types of multiphase sampling.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze datasets collected using common sampling designs.
  • Students should be able to articulate the results of a natural resource survey through written and visual presentation.
  • Course Prerequisites

    • ST301 (Introduction to Statistics) or equivalent
    • NR220 (Natural Resources Ecology and Measurements)

    Required Text

    • Elementary Survey Sampling by Scheaffer, Mendenhall, Ott, and Gerow, 6th edition or newer
    • Additional readings will be posted on Canvas

    Graphical Syllabus

    Assignments consist of numerical interpretation, data analysis, and critical thought exercises. Students are encouraged to work together, but all work handed in must be your own. You are required to report your final answers on the homework sheet and show all work on a separate sheet in an organized and as neat a fashion as possible, Credit will only be awarded if students show their work and doing so allows for partial credit. Part of showing your work will include turning in two copies of any work performed in Excel, one with the values displayed and another with the formulas displayed. Without this formulas page we will not be able to provide partial credit. Be sure to double check your answer for proper units and to determine if your answer is reasonable, failing to label units will result in a 50% deduction on the question.
    Each assignment will be available on the course website and should be handed in by the assigned time on Canvas. The lowest graded assignments will be dropped from your final grade (we all have bad weeks). Written answers are encouraged to be typed and turned in on a separate piece of paper. Any typed answers must use Times New Roman 12 pt font, 1 inch margins, and at least 1.5 line spacing.

    Course Project
    The course will develop the skills needed for students to complete an independent sampling practicum. This practicum will require students to perform a preliminary evaluation from a site visit or previously collected data in order to determine the most feasible, rigorous, and statistically viable approach of sampling the population they define with appropriate management objectives in mind. This will be formalized in a sampling proposal that should include information on the number, type, and protocols that will be used to locate and collect sample units. You must justify the techniques that you use in terms of both efficiency and statistical rigor. Then students will conduct their proposed inventory and generate a memo to update the client on their progress and any issues that arise. This will be followed up by a formal report that summarizes the current conditions of the population in question and makes suggestions as to appropriate management actions to achieve the relevant management objectives. The finalized survey will be analyzed and presented as both a term paper and poster. A large component of this project will be evaluated based on your ability to use technical writing to convey statistical concepts.

    The two mid-term exams will be a combination of short answer, multiple choice, True/False, and matching, with 2-4 simplified quantitative questions. These are designed to assess your understanding of key course concepts and your critical thinking ability.

    Course Policies

    Late Work Policy
    All late assignments will receive a 20% deduction in credit for one week, after which the late assignment will not be accepted for credit. Students must notify the instructors at least 1 week before missing an assignment, report, quiz, or exam, or they will not be allowed to make it up.

    Extra Credit Policy
    Extra credit will be available through in class example questions and questions related to assigned readings. You may earn a maximum of 50 points extra credit, but it will only count toward your overall course grade if you earn a passing grade in the course. Meaning you can use it to improve your grade but not to simply pass the class, this is because you must first demonstrate a certain level of mastery of the material.

    Library & Research Help
    The CSU Libraries Help Desk provides basic research and technical assistance either in person at Morgan Library or by phone at 970-491-1841. Virtual assistance is also available via the Libraries’ Ask Us chat and email services ( Jocelyn Boice is the librarian supporting the Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department and this course. Contact her for in-depth assistance at: / 970-491-3882.

    Grades of “Incomplete”
    Per university policy, an instructor may assign temporary grade of Incomplete to a student who demonstrates that he or she could not complete the requirements of the course due to circumstances beyond the student’s control and not reasonably foreseeable. A student must be passing a course at the time that an Incomplete is requested unless the instructor determines that there are extenuating circumstances to assign an Incomplete to a student who is not passing the course. When an instructor assigns an Incomplete, he or she shall specify in writing using the Department Incomplete Grade Form the requirements the student shall fulfill to complete the course as well as the reasons for granting an Incomplete when the student is not passing the course. The instructor shall retain a copy of this statement in his or her grade records and provide copies to the student and the department head or his or her designee. (Section I.6 of the Academic Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual)

    Disability Access
    Colorado State University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. Students with disabilities who need accommodations must first contact Resources for Disabled Students before requesting accommodations from the professor. Resources for Disabled Students (RDS; is located in room 100 of the General Services Building. Their phone is (970) 491-6385 (V/TDD). Students who need accommodations in this course must contact the professor at the beginning of the semester to discuss needed accommodations.

    Attendance Policy
    Students must inform the instructors prior to any anticipated absence and take the initiative to make up missed work in a timely fashion. In the event of a conflict in regard to this policy, individuals may appeal using established University procedures. University-sanctioned activities include competitions, events and professional meetings in which students are officially representing the institution. Appropriate sanctioned activities include:

    • Intercollegiate athletics;
    • Collegiate club sports and competitions;
    • Conferences and workshops recognized by the University not related to academics;
    • Commitments on behalf of the University (ASCSU, band, etc.); and
    • Professional activities recognized by the University related to academics.

    Department heads or their designated representatives must approve sanctioned professional and departmental activities. Other sanctioned activities must be approved by the appropriate program director on record with the Division of Student Affairs offices or the Department of Athletics.

    Religious Accommodation
    Participation in official University activities, e.g., an out-of-town athletic event, or special religious observances may provide a legitimate reason for an excused absence. The student is responsible for discussing this with the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

    Final Exam Policy
    Final examination week is part of the regular semester. Student attendance shall be consistent with University policy. If a student has three or more final examinations (not classes) scheduled for the same day or if conflicts of examination times occur, the student may negotiate a time change with the instructors involved. If the parties involved cannot find a mutually agreeable time, the Registrar’s Office indicates which courses must be changed. Note: The Registrar’s Office must be notified at least one week prior to Final Examination Week to allow instructors time to make appropriate accommodations.  It is the student’s responsibility to initiate negotiations.

    Any student who has a conflict with the examination schedule must inform the instructor as soon as possible before the examination. If an agreement cannot be reached between the instructor and student as to the appropriateness of a make-up examination the student should appeal to the department head.

    Professionalism Policy
    Per university policy and classroom etiquette; mobile phones and electronic devices must be silenced during all classroom and lab sessions. Those not heeding this rule will be asked to leave the classroom/lab immediately so as to not disrupt the learning environment. Please arrive on time for all class meetings. Students who habitually disturb the class by talking, arriving late, etc., and have been warned may suffer a reduction in their final class grade. When emailing the instructor or TA, please do so in a professional manner by including a salutation, complete sentences, and your full name, CSU ID, and the course number in your email.

    Academic Integrity
    The Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship takes academic integrity seriously. At minimum, academic integrity means that no one will use another’s work as their own. The CSU writing center defines plagiarism this way:

    Plagiarism is the unauthorized or unacknowledged use of another person’s academic or scholarly work. Done on purpose, it is cheating. Done accidentally, it is no less serious. Regardless of how it occurs, plagiarism is a theft of intellectual property and a violation of an ironclad rule demanding “credit be given where credit is due.”
    Source: (Writing Guides: Understanding Plagiarism.

    If you plagiarize in your work you could lose credit for the plagiarized work, fail the assignment, or fail the course. Each instance of plagiarism, classroom cheating, and other types of academic dishonesty will be addressed according to the principles published in the CSU General Catalog (under “Academic Integrity/Misconduct:

    Of course, academic integrity means more than just avoiding plagiarism. It also involves doing your own reading and studying. It includes regular class attendance, careful consideration of all class materials, and engagement with the class and your fellow students. Academic integrity lies at the core of our common goal: to create an intellectually honest and rigorous community. Because academic integrity, and the personal and social integrity of which academic integrity is an integral part, is so central to our mission as students, teachers, scholars, and citizens, we will ask to you sign the CSU Honor Pledge as part of completing all of our major assignments. While you will not be required to sign the honor pledge, we will ask each of you to write and sign the following statement on your papers and exams:

    “I have not given, received, or used any unauthorized assistance.”

    Title IX Information
    CSU’s Student Sexual Harassment and Violence policy, following national guidance from the Office of Civil Rights, requires that faculty follow CSU policy as a “mandatory reporter” of any personal disclosure of sexual harassment, abuse, and/or violence related experiences or incidents shared with the faculty member in person, via email, and/or in classroom papers or homework exercises. These disclosures include but are not limited to reports of personal relational abuse, relational/domestic violence, and stalking. While faculty are often able to help students locate appropriate channels of assistance on campus (e.g., see the CSU Health Network link below), disclosure by the student to the faculty member requires that the faculty member inform appropriate CSU channels to help ensure that the student’s safety and welfare is being addressed, even if the student requests that the disclosure not be shared.
    For counseling support and assistance, please see the CSU Health Network, which includes a variety of counseling services that can be accessed at:  And, the Sexual Assault Victim Assistance Team is a confidential resource for students that does not have a reporting requirement and that can be of great help to students who have experienced sexual assault. The web address is Source:

    Non-Discrimination Statement
    Colorado State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy. The University complies with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, related Executive Orders 11246 and 11375, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 402 of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and all civil rights laws of the State of Colorado. Accordingly, equal opportunity of employment and admission shall be extended to all persons. The University shall promote equal opportunity and treatment in employment through a positive and continuing affirmative action program for ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans. The Office of Equal Opportunity is located in 101 Student Services. Source: