Groundwater education with Extension
by Anne Nelson
Groundwater and drinking water issues are being brought to our attention more and more every year in Minnesota. Everything from health issues to limited supply and treatment costs are making headlines. In 2018 a workgroup made up of representatives from several state agencies and the University of Minnesota, started a project to create an educational course for local government and natural resource managers focused on the basics of groundwater. After surveying the audience and much background work, the development of the information and materials started in 2019 and was completed as an online, self-paced course. The course is held on the platform Canvas through the University of Minnesota Extension.
Currently, this course is open to the public and is free of charge. It is designed in two parts, one focusing on the basics of groundwater science with many examples related to groundwater in Minnesota. Part two is focused on communicating about science to an audience unfamiliar with natural resources science, with some general information about communicating science as well as case studies from natural resource employees in Minnesota.
When participants were asked what the most important thing they learned from the course was, one participant said, “I thought the information on communication was really well done. It's an important reminder to be more intentional in our work with landowners.” another stated, “How to better describe vulnerability due to landscape and geologic/soil factors.”
Additional modules are being planned for the future including topics such as: how groundwater impacts drinking water for private and public wells, emerging contaminants of concerns (ECEs), and management of groundwater.
To take the class you can follow the link here and register for free.
Other information on groundwater is in development and will be on the UMN Extension website shortly. Currently, short animated videos on groundwater have been added to the UMN Extension Water Resources Youtube page, with topics including the differences between a confined and unconfined aquifer and what a cone of depression is.