Four ways to give input and help make the Certification Program a success!

  1. Click here to view the Certification Letter to Members and then complete a brief online survey here.
  2. Review and Comment on the Draft "Certification General Scheme" document.
  3. Review and Comment on the Draft "Certification Policy" document.
  4. Review and Comment on the Draft "SWGWILD Standards and Guidelines" document.

Initial Announcement of Certification Program under SWFS

The Scientific Working Group for Wildlife Forensics (SWGWILD) provides resources and consensus-based standards, guidelines, best practices, and recommendations for use by the wildlife and non-human forensics community as represented by Society for Wildlife Forensic Science (SWFS). In response to interest voiced by SWFS members, the Society requested that SWGWILD produce recommendations for a certification program. SWGWILD has developed a preliminary document for a professional certification program designed specifically for practitioners of non-human biological forensics (e.g., fish and wildlife, domestic animals, pet identification, timber, other plants, etc.). This document was approved by the Board of Directors of SWFS in December. The Board would like to solicit input from the SWFS membership, as well as from interested parties who may not be SWFS members, regarding the format and content of the proposed certification program. Your input in developing this program would be greatly valued.

The proposed program creates a Certification Body which operates under the SWFS. For legal reasons the Certification Body must be linked with the SWFS, however the Certification Body was designed to ensure that it is sufficiently independent of the Society to provide impartial evaluations. The structure of the Certification Body includes a (1) Certification Body Chair, who also serves on the SWFS Board; (2) a Scheme Committee which facilitates the design of new schemes and oversees the old (the “scheme” is the detail of the structure and conduct of the certification process—schemes can be general or discipline- specific as needed); (3) a Professional Standards Committee, which evaluates applicants and releases certification decisions, (4) a Record Keeping Committee, which facilitates the secure retention and organization of applications and certification data, and (5) a Treasurer. Policies and Procedures for the operation of this Certification Body were drafted by SWGWILD; that document is available on the SWFS website ( for review and comment.

SWGWILD also designed an initial certification scheme; that draft is available on the SWFS website ( This scheme is meant to be a general scheme to allow the program to get off the ground. We anticipate that specialty certification will be desired by the community (e.g., in DNA, Morphology, etc.), and have established methods for development of such schemes in the future.

The most important part of developing a certification program is your input. You are the reason we are creating this program, and your opinion will help guide how we will proceed. To facilitate the input process we have created a brief survey. The survey can be taken whether you review the above documents or not. It will only take a couple of minutes and will vastly improve the program. Please take the time to provide your input through individual comments or through our online survey at the address below:

Our goal is to receive input from everyone, both members and non-members of the SWFS. To this end, if you know of professionals who work in related fields, or other science professionals who would be interested, please forward this letter. The certification program, although under SWFS, will be open to any interested practitioner and everyone’s input is welcome.

Thank you for your time, and we look forward to seeing you at the SWFS meeting in May 2012!


Kathy Moore, Irv Kornfield*, Kim Frazier*, Mary Burnham Curtis*, Carolyn Ferrell, Jenny Giles, Dee Dee Hawk, Christina Lindquist*, Wayne Lord, Chris O’Brien, Rob Ogden, Piper Schwenke, Pepper Trail, Danny Walker, Paul Wilson, Bonnie Yates*, Tasha Bauman†, Ed Espinoza†, Trey Knott†, Elizabeth Wictum†

*Certification Committee members
†Subject Matter Experts

Please join us in May for the Triennial SWFS Meeting: