Training News from BWSR

Train Tracks NEW

In this issue:


The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) again will offer BWSR Spring Training for our LGU partners. This online training opportunity will take place on the morning of March 29th, with several concurrent sessions offered. There is no cost to participate. Registration will open March 1. Watch for additional information on the BWSR Spring Training page.


Two Minute Training

Large Purple Question Mark

 All Questions are not Created Equally


Engaging with the public to gather input and information is an important part of our work. Developing creative, thoughtful questions to help gather information is critical to a successful input session. There is a saying that if you ask the wrong question, you will get the wrong answer. Below are some considerations when creating questions to maximize partner feedback.


  • Include one question per ask. Be sure to not ask more than one question at a time. It is not uncommon for two questions to be asked within one sentence, but this should be avoided when possible. An example would be “When is the best time to meet and where should the meeting take place?” When two or more questions are embedded in one sentence, one of the questions may be overlooked and not answered.
  • Pay attention to closed and open questions. Closed questions require specific answers such as “yes/no” or “right/wrong.” Closed questions do not allow for individuals to elaborate and can discourage individuals from reflecting on a situation. Closed questions should be used when you seek specific information such as “Do you support this course of action?”


Open questions cannot be answered simply and require thought and choices. Open questions stimulate discussion and invite individuals to share their thoughts and perspectives. An example of an open question is “How do you think we should address this concern?”


  • Leading questions. This type of question suggests a bias or a particular answer that the questioner desires. An example of a leading question is “You did like the new plan, didn’t you?” It is a type of closed question that leads toward a specific answer. Leading questions do not allow for individuals to offer their unique perspectives and should be avoided.


Technical Training & Certification Program Updates

Technical Training & Certification Program Logo

2022 Conservation Planning Course


This year’s Conservation Planning Course will take place in August. Ideally this training will be held in person, but with the uncertainty of COVID-19, the course may be offered virtually. Final details for this course are still being developed and updates will be provided in the future. If you are interested in attending this training, please see the instructions below on adding it to your IDP.


Course attendees are required to be Level I Conservation Planners before attending, and it is expected that those attending this course will complete the additional requirements to become Level III Conservation Planners. The Level I Conservation Planner requirements can be found here. Many of these requirements are self-paced trainings through NRCS’s training system, called AgLearn. If you don’t already have an AgLearn account you can find instructions on requesting access here.


In addition to being a Level I Conservation Planner, all attendees need to complete the Core Competency modules before attending.


If you are interested in taking the Conservation Planning Course but you won’t be able to complete the prerequisites before August, we are planning to hold this training again in 2023. You can include it as a technical training need in your Individual Development Plan in eLINK, and start working on the pre-requisites now.


Add New Training Request Screen

To add this training to your IDP:

  1. Select the “My Training Needs” tab
  2. Select “Add New Training Request”
  3. Select “Other Certification” dropdown
  4. Type in “Conservation Planning Course: Part 2”
  5. Press “Save”


If you have questions or need further assistance, please reach out to us at:


2021 Individual Development Plan Results


Last fall, 375 people submitted nearly 2,400 technical training requests through their IDPs. If you were one of these people, your training needs were reviewed by your Area Technical Training Team (ATTT) to determine the local training priorities. Those priorities were then compiled at the state level and used to develop a training plan for 2022.


Curious what training needs were identified? You can view a summary of training needs here.


Due to a number of factors, including COVID-19, workloads, and shifting priorities, the 2022 training plan is constantly changing. What you can expect is high quality training based on prioritized training needs. Here are a few trainings to watch for this year:

  • Prescribed Burning
  • Windbreaks and Living Snowfences
  • Irrigation
  • Streambank
  • Soil Mechanics 1
  • Wildlife – WHEGs, Sharptail, Prairie Chicken, Monarch
  • Habitat – Savannah, Wetlands, Native Plant ID, Seedbed Prep and Seeding
  • Grazing – Pasture Condition Scoring, Estimating Forage Production, Pasture and Hayland Planting, Grazing School, Forage Harvest Management, Facilitating Practices
  • Forestry – Trails and Landings, Forest Stand Improvement, Tree/Shrub ID, Site Prep and Planting Methods
  • The Conservation Planning Course
  • Soil Health and Sustainability, No Till and Reduced Till, Cover Crops


Didn’t complete your IDP or have new training needs? Communicate your technical training needs directly to your ATTT and add them to your IDP today. We regularly pull updated information from the IDP tool and use it for direct email advertisement when applicable trainings are being held.


Upcoming Training Events

BWSR Sponsored Training Events


March 29


BWSR Spring Training - Morning Save the Date


Minnesota Wetland Professional Certification Program

Minnesota Wetland Professional Certification Program


Registration for all MWPCP courses (except the virtual training which registration is not required) will open the week of March 21st.  More information on these training events - including preliminary agendas - can be found on the MWPCP Website.


Virtual Training

February 15-16 Crash Course in Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) Administration

Basic Wetland Delineation and Regulation Class

July 11-15 Wetland Delineation and Regulation Basic Class, Arden Hills
Sept 12-16 Wetland Delineation and Regulation Basic Class, Brainerd

Intermediate Level Regional Training

May 17-18 Regional Training - Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, Spicer
May 25-26 Regional Training - Mankato Armory, Mankato
August 16-17 Regional Training - Cloquet Forestry Center, Cloquet
October 5-6 Regional Training - Beltrami Electric Cooperative Building, Bemidji

Advanced Technical Training

May 3 Interpreting Wetland Hydrology Data - (location TBD) Twin Cities metro area

Technical Training & Certification Program Trainings


Tech Talk Webinars:  Mondays at 1:00 pm

February 28 Irrigation Basics
March 7 Tree/Shrub Establishment
March 14 Pasture and Hay Planting – Species Selection
March 21 Tree/Shrub Site Prep and Planting Methods
March 28 Pasture and Hay Planting – Practice Standard
April 25 Forage Harvest Management
Feb 23 Filter Strip Training, Online


Related Partner Trainings



Feb 15-18

Managing for Soil Health with Ray Archuletta, MN Soil Health Coalition

Feb 16

Strategic Farming: Let's talk tar spot of corn, UMN Extension

Feb 16

Pollination Ecology, Conservation, and Prairie Restoration, DNR

Feb 17

Soybean Gall Midge: Understanding Risk and the Road to Management, ASA and Crop Protection Network

Feb 19

Winter Tree and Shrub Bud ID, MN Women’s Woodland Network

Feb 22

Prairie Strips & Conservation Programs, Practical Farmers of Iowa

Feb 22

Compliance Matters: NEPA and "Environmental Evaluation" at NRCS, Conservation Webinars

Feb 23

Strategic Farming: Let's talk small grains, UMN Extension

Feb 24

Debunking the Myths: Why and How to Protect Your UAN Investment, SSSA and ASA





March 1-3

Best Practices for Pollinators, Xerces Society and Pollinator Friendly Alliance

March 2

Strategic Farming: Let's talk drought effects on insect pest pressure, UMN Extension

March 8-9

SFA's 9th Annual Midwest Soil Health Summit, Sustainable Farming Association

March 15-16

NCAT Soil Health Innovations Conference: Soil for Water, Nation Center for Appropriate Technology


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.


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 David Demmer & Ben Meyer
Training Coordinator   Technical Training and Certification Program Coordinator MN Wetland Professional Certification Program Coordinators
(507) 844-0442   (218) 340-3521 (218) 464-8289 & (612) 201-9806 &