Life Hacks over Lunch: A Meet-up Series for Watershed Professionals

This free, virtual meet-up series is a peer-learning opportunity for watershed professionals to share ideas and advice for solving real-life challenges of watershed projects.

If you work with farmers and communities on watershed-scale projects to improve water quality and have ever found yourself thinking, “I don’t want to recreate the wheel,” this meet-up series is for you.

In each meet-up, one person will kick things off by presenting a challenge or issue to the group to “hack.” Conversation, collaboration, and commiseration will ensue.

Join us for these informal gatherings of peers who share a passion for watershed work – and bring your lunch!

The Details for the Fall 2022 Series

Dates: The 3rd Friday of the month from September through December – that’s September 16th, October 21st, November 18th, and December 16th.

Time: 11:30am CT / 12:30pm ET. The meet-ups last about 45 minutes

Place: Zoom.* We highly recommend you use a device with a camera and microphone, so you can take part in the conversation. *If you have a version of Zoom that is earlier than 5.8.6, you must use the Zoom web application to join. 

Next Hack: Friday, September 16th, 2022 is Life Hacks over Lunch, the Speed Networking edition! Get to know fellow hackers and broaden your network. We’ll provide the icebreaker, you provide the conversation.

Please register to attend>>

Please note: We do not record Life Hacks because their nature doesn’t lend itself well to recordings. The emphasis is on conversation, rather than presentation, and we spend about half the time in breakout groups.

Previous Hacks

Spring 2022 Series

  • May 2022: Jean Brokish, Midwest Program Manager for American Farmland Trust, kicked off with this: Documenting the economic benefits of conservation practices is a challenge, and often farmers are focused only on the upfront costs for seed and new equipment. What documents and data showing economic benefits of conservation are out there, and how can they be used to get more farmers on board?
  • April 2022: Maggie Sullivan, Watershed Coordinator of Friends of Lake Monroe, is trying to help upstream farms and communities connect with a downstream water body of concern, and she’s keen to get input on how to connect the dots between urban/suburban and rural communities and their concerns.
  • March 2022: Joe Bonnell, Natural Resource Educator at UW-Madison Division of Extension, kicked off with this: What engagement strategies could be effective for working with farmers who are resistant to adopting conservation practices, but whose management practices are contributing disproportionately to water quality problems in a watershed?

Fall 2021 Series

  • December 2021: Jennifer Jones, Watershed Outreach Associate with Illinois Extension, kicked off with this: How do we encourage and motivate middle to late adopting farmers to become involved in or lead watershed groups in watersheds that are considered state priorities for nutrient loss reduction?
  • November 2021: Malissa McAlister, Kentucky River Basin Coordinator at the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute, kicked off with this: What social media tools or tips should watershed professionals who do outreach have in their toolbox – especially those who don’t come to the job with those skills, but find themselves using social media to reach audiences?
  • October 2021: Eric Schmechel, Watershed Program Director for Dubuque SWCD in Iowa, kicked off with this: How can watershed professionals work more collaboratively with ag retailers, given the differences in messaging and lines of communication between them?


Life Hacks over Lunch is organized by The Confluence for Watershed Leaders, a community and collaborative of people working for healthy watersheds in the Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and Red River Basins of the U.S. Midwest and Mid-South. Learn more >>