June 28, 2023

(Ankeny, Iowa – June 28, 2023) The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) 78th International Annual Conference, to be held August 6-9, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa, will assemble a diverse, multigenerational conservation community of researchers, practitioners, industry leaders, farmers, and students from around the world and feature the latest conservation ideas, technologies, and practices and foster dialogue around their scaling.

This year’s conference theme, “Healthy Land, Clean Water: Cultivating a Legacy of Conservation,” challenges us to envision the world we want to leave for those who follow us. At this year’s event, we will share successes and embrace lessons learned so that we can move toward our natural resource goals with greater speed, efficiency, effectiveness, and inclusivity.

Keynote speaker Elizabeth E. Heilman, Ph.D., will deliver the keynote Pritchard Lecture, Fields of Hope: The Transformative Practices Healing Ecosystems, Producers, and Professionals. Dr. Heilman is a professor of science education at Wichita State University (previously Purdue and Michigan State) who studies the pathways to regenerative agriculture. Her studies include not only ecologically sound agronomy but also emotional grit, community resilience, and policy action to create new food systems and human flourishing. She is the author of more than 60 book chapters and articles and is the author or editor of six books. She has been recognized through awards such as the American Educational Research Association Book of the Year, among others, and has served as an elected representative of the National Council for the Social Studies. Dr. Heilman farms in Wisconsin and runs cattle in Kansas, while working at Wichita State University.

Additional sessions to look forward to:

  • An Iowan and SWCS member, Iowa State University’s Dr. Jacqueline Comito, Program Director of Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks!, will share with attendees how she creatively tackles conservation work, mixing unique approaches to extension and outreach with a true passion for improving the health of Iowa’s environment.
  • USDA NRCS and USDA ARS will provide the most recent announcements and resources in the practice and research of soil, water, and natural resources conservation.
  • SWCS leaders will offer policy updates relative to conservation professionals.
  • Conservation art will be displayed, including live soil painting from formally trained soil scientist and artist Kirsten Kurtz and a special collection from Pulitzer prize-winning editorial cartoonist and Iowan “Ding” Darling.

In addition to hearing from leaders in conservation, attendees will participate in workshops, sessions, tours, and exhibits featuring cutting-edge developments in soil health, water quality, and resource management.

The presenting sponsor of the 2023 conference is Syngenta.

To learn more about activities at the SWCS International Annual Conference or to register, visit swcs.org/23AC. Early bird registration is open through July 3, 2023, and online registration is open through July 26, 2023.



About SWCS

With more than 2,000 members around the world, the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization that serves as an advocate for conservation professionals and for science-based conservation practice, programs, and policy.

The SWCS’s mission is to foster the science and art of natural resource conservation. We work to discover, develop, implement, and constantly improve conservation practices and systems that sustain the productive capacity of the land while protecting environmental quality.

We pursue our mission through a combination of research, education, and advocacy aimed at promoting state-of-the-art conservation practices and science-based conservation policy.

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