PDF of the workshops is available.

The professional development workshops held in conjunction with the SWCS International Annual Conference will be eligible for continuing education credits from various certifying organizations.

Workshop #1: Strategies to MAKE WAVES (Virtually) with Youth Education and Outreach
Monday, July 26 
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM CT

Instructors: Jacqueline Comito, Iowa State University; Todd Stevens, Iowa State University; Hilary Pierce, Iowa State University; Ann Staudt, Iowa State University

Get ready to MAKE WAVES with high energy, interactive, impactful, and FUN approaches to youth education from the award-winning Water Rocks! program—all through a computer screen! In this interactive workshop, participants will explore two unique and successful approaches to connect with K-12 youth virtually, with full adaptability to in-person, hybrid, and remote learning situations.

Approach #1: Water Rocks! Live Streaming virtual presentations, delivered synchronously to K-8th grade students, are designed as a hybrid news broadcast/variety show, with the opportunity to see conservation practices out on the landscape through "field reporter"–style interviews. These LIVE presentations include interactive elements of trivia and virtual scavenger hunts to engage participants throughout.

Approach #2: Water Rocks! Spoken Earth virtual workshops, delivered synchronously to middle school and high school students, combine science, spoken word poetry, literature, art, popular culture, and advocacy. It's poetry for the planet, and the poet is you! In these virtual workshops, students are engaged in learning about the history of spoken word poetry along with the science of biodiversity and ecology. Students are then challenged to find their own voices in writing original spoken word poetry about the earth around them, along with an opportunity to perform their pieces on the spot.
Finally, the workshop session will include dedicated discussion time to talk about technology equipment and platforms, interactive components, and evaluation strategies to make it all happen, based on firsthand lessons learned. Participants will come away with practical ideas for re-energizing their youth outreach efforts in these unique times!

Tickets: $30 (Registration by July 16 Required)

Workshop #2: Training on use of the Predictive-Soil Health Economic Calculator (P-SHEC) Tool to Conduct Assessments of the Potential Short-Term and Long-Term Economic Effects of Soil Health Practice Adoption by On-the-Fence Farmers
Monday, July 26 
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM CT

Instructors: Michelle Perez, American Farmland Trust; Florence Swartz, Consultant and Retired NRCS-NY Economist; Sarah Blount, American Farmland Trust

This training session will teach farm conservationist professionals to conduct a predictive economic analysis for their farmer clients who are "on the fence" about adopting conservation practices. The predictive assessment analyzes the potential costs and benefits, short-term and long-term, associated with adoption of soil health practices. This training will focus on row crop production and on soil health practices, including no-till or reduced tillage, cover crops, nutrient management, and conservation crop rotation.

The training will feature a detailed demonstration of the new American Farmland Trust (AFT) Predictive-Soil Health Economic Calculator (P-SHEC) Tool. This Excel-based tool and associated Word-based questionnaire enable conservationists to interview farmers about their interests in one or more soil health practices and conduct a short-term partial budget analysis and a long-term predictive analysis. Results are presented to the farmer in the form of a seven-page Predictive Assessment Summary (PAS) document. AFT hopes that this service will enable more conservationists to answer economic questions from farmers apprehensive about adoption.

The session also includes a presentation of a completed Predictive Assessment Summary for a corn-soybean farmer in Illinois who wanted to learn what his potential costs and benefits might be from reducing tillage, adopting cover crops, and adjusting nutrients. Attendees of this training session will receive at least 14 Word- and Excel-based resources to assist their development of their own predictive assessment summary reports for farmers who are interested but have not yet adopted soil heath practices. 

A related workshop offered during the SWCS 2020 conference focused on training conservationists to conduct a retrospective economic analysis of already “soil health successful” farmers and present results in two-page case studies. Nine such case studies have been developed using these now publicly available methods and can be found at https://farmlandinfo.org/publications/soil-health-case-studies/. This year’s event focuses on training conservationists to conduct a predictive economic analysis for farmers who have not yet adopted soil health practices and then present those results in seven-page predictive assessment summary reports. This year’s workshop will be useful to all attendees regardless of whether they attended last year’s training.

Tickets: $30 (Registration by July 16 Required)