Training News from BWSR

Train Tracks NEW

In this issue:

Two-Minute Training

Tips for Blended Meetings Inperson Staff with Video Conference Staff

Tips for “Blended” Meetings

Blended meetings—or meetings with an option to participate online—are especially beneficial when your meeting participants are located in different geographic areas. They can also be a tool to help balance busy schedules. Here are some suggestions for convening a blended meeting with the option of online or in-person attendance:

  • Evaluate if the meeting can effectively reach its objectives with online and in-person participants. Is there a need for interaction among all participants requiring everyone to be there in person?
  • Be sure to have all participants introduce themselves at the beginning of the meeting. If someone joins online after the meeting has started, acknowledge that they’ve joined the conversation.
  • Have a chat box available to allow participants who are not in the room an opportunity to share thoughts and/or let the convener know they wish to speak.
  • It can be difficult for online participants to gauge when to enter the conversation, so check in with your online participants to provide an opportunity to verbally contribute to the discussion.
  • At the end of one conversation topic, before moving onto the next agenda item, be sure to check in with online participants to ensure they have had time to contribute to a topic before moving on.
  • Designate one person to convene/facilitate the meeting conversation and another person assigned to pay attention to the online participant list and chat box.
  • Summarize where there is agreement in the discussion and what decisions have been reached. Those online can not see heads shaking “yes” or “no” and may not be able to see the entire room if a hand vote is taken.

Training Success Story

Technical Training and Certification Program Grant to Area V

Technical Training and Certification Grant provides for Area V Technical Training


BWSR awarded a Technical Training and Certification Grant in 2018 to the Area 5 Technical Training Team in Minnesota’s southern region. This grant enabled 25 SWCD and NRCS staff from Area 5 and Area 4 to attend a two-day course in August 2018 at the University Extension Research facility in Lamberton. Nobles, Redwood, and Renville SWCD offered support. The training offered was based on NRCS and SWCD training needs identified through a survey.

The course focused on how to deliver the message of soil health in a practical and relatable way. The goal of the training was to incorporate open dialogue to increase SWCD staff’s comfort level with soil health terminology, economics, designing cover crop mixes, and to help them gain a better understanding of barriers customers face while adopting soil health practices. To meet this goal, the course was designed to be a technical, hands on, peer-to-peer learning opportunity led by experienced SWCD staff, with presentations from farmers, University of Minnesota Extension Researchers and soil health industry leaders. The training used a variety of delivery methods using the USDA Technical Standards, including PowerPoint presentations and small and large group exercises in the classroom and in the field. This mix of methods provided opportunities for trainees of all learning styles.

The August 2018 training was intended to build off a Speaking Farm Course that was held on July 30, 2018, led by Gabe Brown, Dr. Allen Williams, Ray Archuleta, Grant and Dawn Breitkruetz, and coordinated by Redwood and Renville SWCDs. That course focused on communicating with customers in a way that builds trust and establishes accountability.

Attendees said the course was “very informative” and “the course put starting conversations into practical steps and approaches.” Attendees were also provided with take home examples of seed mixes and a chemical carryover table. Participants expressed leaving the course having more confidence to talk about the economics of soil health.

Technical Training & Certification Program: updates

Technical Training & Certification Program Logo

IDP 2019: The Results are In!

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) Tool was used in eLINK for the first time in 2019. For managers, this tool allows selection of priority resource concerns and the conservation practices to address them by County. The IDP tool also enables conservation staff to identify their technical training needs, document their credentials and certifications, and find others with conservation skills for peer-to-peer assistance/on-the-job training.

Cody Fox with the Mower SWCD completed his IDP in 2019. "The IDP completion took about an hour of time. Our office discussed collaboratively to verify we are on the same page and road map our staff and goals for the future. This process forces you to think about the future of your office and staff."


This past year the IDP went live on September 10, and users only had one month to enter their information. Despite the short timeframe 289 people submitted more than 1,650 training requests! The most highly requested items include:


·   Cover Crops

·   Wetland Restoration


·   Grade Stabilization

Basic Skills:

·   Plant ID

·   Wetland ID & Ecology Basics

·   Soil Erosion Prediction Models

·   Vegetation – Species, Seeding

Advanced Skills:

· Advanced Hydrology

· Wildlife Habitat Assessment


· Electronic Surveying

Even though the 2019 timeframe has closed you can still access your IDP at anytime to select priority resource concerns and practices, identify your technical training needs, document training you attended, or search for others in your area that have the skills to help you! Did you complete your Individual Development Plan? If not, get started today:


What is TTCP doing with the IDP results? Stay tuned for more information next month about the training schedule developed to address your 2019 IDP training needs!

Upcoming Training Events

BWSR Training

Registration for the below Minnesota Wetland Regulation & Delineation classes will open the end of January.

Technical Training & Certification Program Events


Related Partner Training Opportunities





Learn on Your Own

Not all training takes place in a classroom. Check out the links below to learn at a time and place of your choosing.




EFT Preferences This video shows how to import preferences and explains the configuration used in the Engineering Field Tools in Minnesota.


Webinars four and five in ASWM and NRCS’s jointly-developed nine-part wetland training webinar series:


We’ve also put together a searchable library of recorded modules, webinars, videos and other resources to help our staff and partners find professional development information on a variety of topics. You can visit BWSR's Online Learning page to find web-based technical training resources sorted by category.

Program Contacts

Barbara Radke   Jon Sellnow
Training Coordinator   Technical Training and Certification Program Coordinator
(507) 844-0442   (218) 340-3521