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 our Spring 2022 Series

Dates: 3rd Friday of March, April, and May 2022 – that’s March 18th, April 15th, and May 20th

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: On Friday, May 20th Jean Brokish, Midwest Program Manager for American Farmland Trust, will kick off with this question: 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?

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

  • 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 collaborative of and for people who work to achieve healthy watersheds and thriving communities in the Midwest and Mid-South.