Fall 2013 Director's Corner
I was taking items from my house out to the street for my block’s annual National Night Out event, and was surprised to see someone setting up an information table on storm water runoff. My neighbors asked if I was responsible, and when I said “no” they seemed as surprised as I was. My brain finally registered that this was several members of the first cohort of Master Water Stewards, a program developed by the Freshwater Society, starting in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. I had led a session on water policy a few weeks before for this class of dedicated volunteers and had no idea that my block would be one of the first to reap the benefits of the program. I paused, and then smiled. For those of us who are been in the water resources field for some time, this signals yet another step in broadening the legion of specialists working to protect and restore our precious water resources. Research shows that neighbor-to-neighbor interaction is an effective educational approach.
As researchers and educators at the Water Resources Center, we recognize the importance of multiple means of disseminating current research to water specialists and citizens. One of the premier events sponsored in part by the WRC is the annual Water Resources Conference, which is highlighted in this issue of the Minnegram. After you read the article, don’t forget to go to wrc.umn.edu to register for this year’s conference. It is a great time to learn about the latest research, new methods of engaging individuals and communities, and new policy issues. This fall, we are also expanding the WRC’s portfolio of professional training programs, with a new online Watershed Specialist course. We are full for the fall course, but look for another class beginning in January 2014. You will also read about a new webinar series designed specifically for water professionals in Local Units of Government across the state, which highlights the latest University of Minnesota research that is relevant to those positions. These are just a few of the current ways we ensure that the latest research and information is accessible to citizens and water specialists.