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Conservation Matters: Investing in People to Improve Watersheds

Presenters: Jenny Seifert, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension; Amanda Gumbert, University of Kentucky; Catherine DeLong, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Craig Ficenec, Sand County Foundation.

Science shows that the single greatest indicator of conservation practice adoption by farmers is sustained interaction with a conservation professional. People and relationships—human and social capital—are foundational to achieving soil and water conservation goals. Yet, investments in people lag behind investments in research, technology, and practices, often undermining success.

At the watershed scale, watershed coordinators and similar practitioners are critical connectors and implementers, whose fundamental role is relationship management. However, watershed practitioners often feel isolated in their roles, are undercompensated, and can get overwhelmed by the demands of the job, leading to high turnover, disrupted relationships, and thwarted success.

This webinar will make the case for investing in people to improve watersheds and explore the importance of peer learning and professional development. We will share how we are developing a community of practice through an online community and virtual meet-up series, both organized by The Confluence for Watershed Leaders, to help watershed practitioners feel better connected and supported. We will also hear what Leadership for Midwestern Watersheds is learning about professional development needs, the value of network building, and the funding and employment landscape for watershed coordinators. Finally, we will share lessons from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Watershed Academy and Land Stewardship Leadership Academy about how these programs are meeting the evolving needs of watershed practitioners.

Learn more about SWCS webinars at https://www.swcs.org/events/webinars

  • Event Date & Time

    September 28, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm CDT

  • Event Location

  • Cost