Since the COVID-19 pandemic has put virtual learning and networking experiences on the rise, we wanted to share a bit about how our Soil Health Nexus team ran the Soil Health Nexus Digital Café Series.
These events were created for extension educators to increase their skills while working remotely, so they can better serve the producers they work with when they are back in the field. The knowledge they gain will help them evaluate the health of producers’ soil and communicate how these metrics can benefit both farm management systems and the environment.
Here are some quick facts and numbers about how the series has been going:
- Frequency: biweekly mid-April through June, and now monthly
- Primary Audience: Extension professionals
- Format: An hour in length with a speaker (researcher, educator, or graduate student) presenting a soil health topic, research paper, or on-going research and then participants breaking off into “breakrooms” by their self-identified category – research, educator, and student – to discuss the presentation. During these breakout times, there have been lively discussions on various soil and water quality issues with input from educators and researchers throughout the country.
- Attendance: We have had 440 unique participants with many attending more than one café. Figures 1-3 showcase attendees demographics, with figure 1 the North Central Region and figure 2 other states within the U.S. The café has also included attendees from Canada and Puerto Rico. Figure 3 denotes the agency/organization of attendees.
We hope you’ll join us for the remainder of our 2020 monthly line-up.
- August 26, 2020, Dr. Dwayne Beck, South Dakota State University, will discuss crop rotations effects on soil health.
- September 23, 2020, Dr. Gregg Sanford, University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present on resiliency and soil health.
- October 28, 2020, Dr. Bijesh Maharjan, University of Nebraska, will talk about his research on what he has termed the Soil Health Gap.
- November 18, 2020, Dr. Sieglend Snapp and Vicki Morrone from Michigan State University will discuss soil health in an organic system.
To learn more visit the Soil Health Nexus Website.