The 2020 Minnesota Water Resources Conference moves online
Minnesota Water Resources Conference co-chair and Water Resources Center Director Jeff Peterson announced that due to continuing uncertainties about the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference planning committee made the decision to move the conference to an online-only format. “Our decision was made to ensure the health and safety of all participants, as well as to provide inclusive and equal access to all regardless of individual health risks,” said Peterson.
The online conference will be held October 20-21 and have all the familiar meeting features including keynotes, posters, vendors, and breakout sessions - all of which will be offered via online tools. The sessions will include Q&A and there will be opportunities to network with other attendees and speakers throughout the conference.
While the program is still being finalized, two keynote speakers have been confirmed:
Jennifer Day is the Great Lakes Regional Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Day has a broad portfolio of private sector experience in public relations and state, federal and international government experience working specifically on the Great Lakes and with its larger regional community for more than 25 years.
Sara Heger is an engineer, researcher and instructor in the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program in the Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota. Since 1999, she has been providing education and technical assistance to homeowners, small communities, onsite professionals and local units of government regarding onsite wastewater treatment. Heger coordinates the research program at the UMN and is currently serving as the principal investigator on grants to create online owner’s guides and evaluate rest stops served by septic systems. Heger is on the faculty of the Water Resources Science program, teaching Sustainable Waste Management Engineering.
While fees have not been announced, organizers expect them to be dramatically lower than in previous years. Peterson expressed hope that reduced registration rates would increase diverse participation. “Although the virtual format came out of necessity, this change creates new opportunities. For example, people can participate from anywhere without the need to travel to St. Paul, so we think it may attract participants from across Minnesota and beyond.”
Details will be announced on the conference website later this summer.