Get Started: User Guide

This guide is under development and will evolve as new features are availabe on

My Stuff:
Don't see the "My Stuff" menu?  Register to become a member!  

Become a member – Most of the content and discussions on the Commons are open for viewing by the public.  However, to participate in community, one must join as a member and be logged in.  To become a member all you need to do is fill out the Join Our Community form which you can find on the “Home” page.


Reset my password – The Ecosystem Commons will automatically generate a password for your new user account.  Once you have become a member you will need to reset your password to something you can remember.  To do this select "My Profile" from the "My Stuff" menu.  Under your picture you will see a link to edit your profile, click it.  Once in the editing window you can select the "Password" tab. You will be prompted to type in your preferred password and confirm it.  Make sure to hit the "Change" button to complete the process. 

Update my user profile – Your user profile includes all the information that introduces you to the Ecosystem Services Community of Practice.  It allows people to easily find you based on your professional interest and expertise.  To update your user profile select "My Profile" from the "My Stuff" menu.  Under your picture you will see a link to edit your profile, click it.  Once in the editing window you can use the tabs to change your account details, password, organization, and personal information. Please include a photo of yourself so your colleagues can recognize you!

Customize your Dashboard – All members of the Commons have a customizable Dashboard. You can find your dashboard by selecting “My Stuff” from the main menu bar.   The Dashboard includes several default boxes of information called widgets. You can turn widgets off or on by clicking on the “Toggle Items” button in the upper right of your screen.  Alternatively you can collapse, expand, or close each widget using the options of the upper right of individual widgets.  Don’t forget to save your changes to keep your customizations for every time you log in.

Manage Notifications and Subscriptions -  The default setting to receive notifications and subscriptions is via email.  If you would like to edit the type or the frequency of notifications and subscriptions, you can click on the "My Profile" dropdown of the "My Stuff" menu.  Below your picture, you will see a series of links.  Click on the "Notification settings" link.  You will see a series of six tabs that will enable you to change your notification and subscription settings.  "Overview"will synthesize your current status of notifications and subscriptions.  By clicking on the "Subscriptions" tab, you will be able to activate, deactivate, delete, block, change your send method, and change your send interval for various subscriptions.  The "Author" tab will give you a list of authors that you have subscribed to.  By clicking on the "Content type" tab, you will be able to alter the send interval and send method of your subscriptions.  The "Thread" tab will give you a list of active threads you are subscribed to.  If you wish to add a subscription, click the "Add Subscription" tab.  You may then add subscriptions based on content type within your group or groups, thread, all content type, and per author.  


Join Groups – There are several groups on the Commons organized around a topical interests, or a region.  All members are automatically part of “Our Community” the primary group on the Commons.  If you would like to communicate in a more focused way check to see if there are any groups that align with your interests.  If you would like to start a new group, see below.  To find groups select “Groups” under the “Community” Menu. To join a group, click the join button or request membership.

Start a New Group - If you are interested in creating your own group, follow the above links to the Groups page.  On the top right side of your screen, you will be able to click a link that says "Create a Group".  You will then be prompted to to provide a name, description, and mission statement for your group.  After that, you will be prompted to refine your groups interest by toggling a series of vocabularies that indicate effort types, ecosystem services, and ecosystems your group will focus on.  Then, you will be able to decide if you want this group to be private or public.  Also, feel free to add an image that corresponds with your group.  Don't forget to save!

Contact a Fellow User - The commons has hundreds of users from throughout the world.  If you are interested in contacting another user, you may do so through the "Members" section of the "Community" Menu.  You will then be directed to the "Browse Users" page.  You can click on the "Filter" button at the top of the page to narrow down your search.  If you know the user's username, first name, last name, or tags, enter those into the appropriate boxes.  After finding the correct user, you may have the option to contact that user by clicking the link located under their picture.

Participate in Discussions – Much of the content on the Commons is posted in order to facilitate conversations among the community of practice.  All members are encouraged to participate in discussion and make comments.  If you wish to add a comment to a discussion post, simply click on the title of the post from the Discussions home page.  You may then scroll to the bottom of the page to post your comment. 

Add an Event to the Calendar – The Commons hosts a calendar of ecosystem services related events.  All members can add events to the calendar.  To view the calendar, select “Calendar” under the “Community” menu.  From there you click on the "Create“ button near the upper right corner of the page.  You will need to fill out the event details in the form provided.  Make sure to save your event at the bottom of the form.  

Post a Document – If you would like to share a document that does not already appear on the Commons, you can upload it by selecting “Documents” under the “Community” menu, then click on the "Create" button near the upper right corner of the page.  You will need to fill out the form which includes fields for a document title and a brief description or teaser. 


Add your Ecosystem Services project or program to the Catalog – The Catalog your place to share information about the ecosystem services projects and programs you work on, and find out what others are doing. Anyone can view and search the Catalog, but you must be logged in as a member to add a new project. To add your project or program into the Catalog you will need to fill out a form that includes a title and brief and several pieces of supporting information so that others may find your work. You can access the form by selecting "Upload Your Own" from the "Catalog" menu. Fill out as many fields as possible. The bottom of the form provides the option to upload an associated document.  Remember to save.


Find Ecosystem Services References – The Commons hosts and provides links to a limited number of ecosystem services related reference documents, tools, and databases.  As the Commons evolves, we will include additional references that meet our criteria; however it is not the intention of the Commons to host an ecosystem services clearinghouse.   To find references, tools and databases go to the Resources menu and select the type of reference you are looking for.  If you know of references that you believe we should add to our list please contact us