SWCS hosts educational webinars to provide conservation professionals the latest in research, practice, and policy, as well as professional development opportunities. 

2023 webinars include the following:

Conservation Matters

SWCS hosts a regular monthly webinar series on the fourth Thursday of each month. All members of the Society are invited to join, and webinars are recorded for later viewing. The webinar series is an opportunity to present hot topics related to science, practices, and policy to the membership of the Society. Webinars will run 60-90 minutes, with Q&A if time allows.

September Webinar

Investing in People to Improve Watersheds
September 28, 2023, 12:00 PM CT
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. 

SWCS Book Club: A Year with Aldo Leopold

Photo of Sand County Almanac bookJoin fellow SWCS members in 2023 as they read, or re-read, Leopold’s classic work like an actual almanac—one chapter per month! 

Each month, we will meet virtually for one hour with the following agenda:

  1. Recap the monthly reading and share reactions
  2. Explore Leopold’s experiences at the Shack that shaped his writing
  3. Discuss what Leopold’s work means for us today

This is a recurring meeting, on the last Friday of every month from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CT. The first meeting is January 27, 2023, and the last meeting is December 22, 2023. There will be no meeting in May of 2023.

These events are for SWCS members only. Check your membership status to ensure you're an active member. Active members will be emailed a link to register. Contact joe.otto@swcs.org with any questions or if you did not receive your registration link and would like to participate. 

Lessons from Leaders: Accelerating the Adoption of Conservation Drainage Webinar Series

Series ended May 2023
This webinar series explored the adoption of conservation drainage across disciplines, regions, and landscapes. Through five, 75-minute sessions, leading stakeholders shared unique perspectives, engaged in dialogue, and generated a set of recommendations to be used to advance conservation drainage adoption locally and nationally.

The series is intended for a broad audience of conservation professionals and the producers who implement conservation practices. What to expect:

  • Access to farmer adopters and leading influencers across sectors and states to gain an understanding of their perspectives and experiences, including exclusive Q&A sessions and the wrap-up virtual dialogue
  • A broader understanding of the benefits of conservation drainage to various stakeholder audiences
  • An opportunity to expand your network of contacts who are working to accelerate the adoption of conservation drainage
  • The most up-to-date information, resources, and tools being used
  • A set of recommendations for encouraging conservation drainage adoption locally and nationally
  • Ability to earn Continuing Education Credits (CEUs)
  • A series completion certificate upon request

The webinars were FREE to members of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) and Agriculture Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC), with support from the Conservation Drainage Network’s Growth Committee (CDN). 

Virtual Student Events

SWCS has teamed up with MANRRS, the National Association of Conservation Districts, and the Soil Health Institute to host a second season of our virtual Student Professional Development Series. We are committed to providing valuable resources and knowledge to students and early career professionals in natural resources conservation, environmental science, biology, agriculture, soil science, hydrology, and all others working toward a more sustainable world.

Learn more and register for our student events