In a week or so, I will be headed south for a short winter break – crossing the Mighty Mississippi at St. Louis, skirting the Ozarks, and landing on the Gulf Coast at Padre Island National Seashore. There will be familiar faces there – widgeon, teal, sandhill cranes, house wrens, and other birds that know better than to brave a Wisconsin winter – even in a warmer-than-average El Niño year! How fortunate I feel to be able to follow the smallest of sparrows and one of our nation’s most important natural arteries to a new place, with new sights, sounds, and stories to enrich life at home.
However, before I leave the snow flurries behind, I get to take stock of the year through annual reporting. Annual reporting is not high on my list of holiday cravings (okay, it’s not on the list at all). However, it is a time for reflection, time to take stock of what the North Central Region Water Network and our partners have accomplished in 2015. Reviewing the calendar and reports from each completed project reminds me how much I have much to be thankful for, even if my kayak never touches the salty Laguna Madre. There’s too much to list here, so I’ll just refer you to the Network’s Initiatives, Resources, and Webinars pages for more information.
I also encourage you to read Dan Devlin’s Kansas State University highlight in this newsletter. The Kansas State Extension Watershed Specialist program is one of many examples of how Extension takes a systems approach to complex problems like water, providing everything from one-on-one education to water quality monitoring to assistance with BMP implementation, to documenting pollution reductions. K-State specialists and educators collaborate with Kansas Department of Health and Environment, agricultural groups, and farmers to get the job done. In true John Dewey fashion, research and education are tools for individual and public good. They are employed purposefully by talented and committed people to make the world a better place.
So as 2015 comes to a close, thanks to all of you who are giving so much for your communities and the water resources on which they depend. Happy holidays and warmest wishes for the new year.
P.S. What are you thankful for in 2015? Tell us here!
Save the Date! The North Central Region Water Network’s second conference and regional working session will be March 21-23, 2016 in Lincoln, NE. Theme: “From Science to Success.” More details coming here!
Rebecca Power, Network Director