Training News from BWSR

Train Tracks NEW

January 2024  

In this issue:

Two Minute Training

Time Management 101

Time Management 101


Who wouldn’t want to start the new year with less stress, more efficiency and being more productive in their job? These are some of the benefits of effective time management! Below are four important steps to time management:


  • Set goals. Identify what you want to achieve AND be sure it is realistic. Are there some tasks that are non-essential or that can be delegated?
  • Prioritize your tasks. When determining the order for your tasks you should consider deadlines and what other next steps are dependent on “this” task being completed. Also, consider the energy and input it will take to complete the task. Everyone’s energy levels change throughout the day. Are there certain times during the day you are more creative or have energy for physical labor?
  • Set time limits. Having a time limit helps to motivate you to keep working to stay within the time limit.
  • Take a break. Don’t forget to take a brief break to stretch, take a quick walk, and stay hydrated with water, coffee, or tea.


Wishing all of you a happy and productive 2024. Thank you for all your efforts to preserve and protect our natural resources.


Technical Training & Certification Program Updates

Technical Training & Certification Program Logo

Upcoming Tech Talks


Tech Talks are virtual webinars held on Mondays at 1:00. We have put together our initial sessions for 2024, and we are adding to the schedule all the time. Check out the upcoming schedule here. Miss a session? We record them all and post them in the Online Learning portal within about a week.


Soil Mechanics Training


This course introduces performing field tests to classify soils using the Unified Soil Classification System. Two sessions will be held, one in Faribault on February 6, and one in Detroit Lakes on February 8. Participants are shown how to perform the field tests and classify various types of soil. Participants are provided soil samples to test, classify, and explain results. This training is the foundation for identifying soils based on texture and understanding physical soil properties as they pertain to conservation engineering design.


Additional information and a link to register can be found here.


Water and Sediment Control Basin Design Training


TTCP is offering two different sessions on Water and Sediment Control Basin (WASCOB) design using the NRCS WASCOB Design Spreadsheet, February 28 and March 13, in Faribault, MN. One session will utilize AutoCAD and one will utilize ArcMap to obtain topographic information for entry into the design spreadsheet. The WASCOB Design Spreadsheet is located in the Minnesota FOTG. This training is intended for individuals that have some experience with the WASCOB (CPS 638) practice but need training on design using the Design Spreadsheet. Additional information and links to register can be found here:



Agronomy Technical Note 31 Workshops – March 2024


Minnesota’s Herbaceous Vegetation Establishment Guide, also known as Agronomy Technical Note #31, is used as a guide for the establishment of native and introduced plantings of herbaceous vegetation for the following practices:


  • Conservation Cover (327)
  • Contour Buffer Strips (332)
  • Critical Area Planting (342)
  • Riparian Herbaceous Cover (390)
  • Filter Strip (393)
  • Wildlife Habitat Planting (420)
  • Pasture or Hayland Planting (512)
  • Cross Wind Trap Strips (589C)
  • Restoration of Rare or Declining Natural Communities (643)
  • Upland Wildlife Habitat Management (645)
  • Wetland Restoration (657)


Six full day workshops on Agronomy Technical Note #31 are planned for early March. These workshops are intended to primarily be a hands-on working session during which participants will have the opportunity to work on several practice design exercises that apply the concepts found in Agronomy Tech Note 31. Participants will also practice using the seed calculator Excel spreadsheet to design, verify a vendor seed mix, and check out of an installed seeding.


Before attending, participants should attend the Tech Talk: Seed Calculator Revisions on January 22 at 1:00 (or watch for the recording to be posted to Online Learning) and complete the four Agronomy Tech Note #31 modules on the MNC3 website. Information on creating a MNC3 account can be found here. Completing these prerequisites is critical to be able to meaningfully participate in the exercises during the workshop. If you are not able to complete the modules before the workshop, please wait to register for the next time this workshop is offered.


The dates for the workshops will be as follows:

  • TBD – Grand Rapids
  • March 6 – Thief River Falls
  • March 7 – Detroit Lakes
  • March 11 – Redwood Falls
  • March 13 – Oronoco
  • March 14 – Waite Park


Additional information and a link to register can be found here.


Save the Date – Basic Cover Crop Training


Cover crops are a conservation practice that is important to cropland systems. They slow erosion, smother weeds, enhance nutrient and moisture availability, increase infiltration, improve other beneficial soil functions, and provide a host of other benefits to a field and farm. At the same time, there is a steep learning curve to successfully integrating cover crops into a farming operation and realizing these benefits. The goal of this training is to provide a strong foundation for understanding how cover crops can be incorporated into Midwestern cropping systems.


This training is a slightly revamped repeat of the 2023 training. There will be virtual webinars held in March prior to the in-person session. Attendees that are working to obtain their Job Approval Authority must attend these webinars prior to attending the in-person session. Anyone else that is interested in an in-person refresher cover crop training can attend just the in-person session. The target audience for this training includes NRCS, SWCD, and other conservation partner employees, in addition to agronomists and crop consultants that work in the private sector.  


The in-person sessions are planned for the last two weeks in March with locations in Brained and Austin. This training will be rotated to two training locations in the western half of the state in 2025.  


Additional information will be provided in the February edition of Train Tracks. This information will also be shared directly with those that have Cover Crop identified as a training need in their Individual Development Plan.


Soil Health Tidbits


There are several upcoming soil health events that you may be interested in:



Save the Date – Seed Mix Training


Two sessions are planned for designing and evaluating seed mixes. More information will be out soon, but if you are interested mark your calendar for these upcoming opportunities – Farmington on April 9 and Detroit Lakes on April 11.


Updated Training Opportunities


Our catalog of online trainings is always on the move. Links change, new information becomes available, topics get outdated. If you ever find content that doesn’t appear to be relevant or working properly, please feel free to send it our way. To that end, we have updated several trainings in the Online Learning portal.


The National Association of Wetland Managers has put together some great webinars. There is a series on Wetland ID and Ecology Basics, and another on Wetland Hydric Soils.


NRCS partnered with Centrol Consulting to put on a series of Ag 101 sessions. You can find information about all six of these sessions here.


2024 Shared Training Calendar


The initial working version of the 2024 training calendar is now available. This 12-month view of training offerings is regularly updated and provides information about upcoming training events, including potential dates and locations. Please see the legend at the top and note that the further out a training is proposed the more likely adjustments will need to be made. The dates, locations, and other details are always tentative until the event is posted on the Training Calendar.


BWSR Sponsored Training Events


March 28/am

Hold the date for BWSR Spring Training offered by BWSR/online

Upcoming Training Events

Minnesota Wetland Professional Certification Program

Minnesota Wetland Professional Certification Program

The MWPCP is planning the 2024 training schedule. The courses will be listed on the MWPCP website.


Technical Training & Certification Program Trainings


Tech Talk Webinars:

Mondays at 1:00



Did you miss a Tech Talk? A full listing of replays from 2023 can be found here.


Jan 22

Seed Calculator Revisions

Jan 29

Managing Alfalfa for Yield and Environment

Feb 5

Source Water/Wellhead Protection

Feb 12

Updated Engineering Practice Standards

March 25

Hydrology Single Watershed Tool





Jan 23, 25

Basic Hydrology, Online





Feb 6

Soil Mechanics 1 (SM-1), Faribault

Feb 8

Soil Mechanics 1 (SM-1), Detroit Lakes

Feb 28

WASCOB Design Spreadsheet Training (AutoCAD), Faribault





March 6

Agronomy Technical Note 31 Workshops, Thief River Falls

March 7

Agronomy Technical Note 31 Workshops, Detroit Lakes

March 11

Agronomy Technical Note 31 Workshops, Redwood Falls

March 13

WASCOB Design Spreadsheet Training (ArcMap), Faribault

March 13

Agronomy Technical Note 31 Workshops, Oronoco

March 14

Agronomy Technical Note 31 Workshops, Waite Park


Related Partner Trainings



Jan 17

Agroforestry Symposium: Silvopasture in Practice, University of Missouri, Online

Jan 17, 24

High Tunnel Webinar Series, Renewing the Countryside, Online

Jan 25

Is Soil Compaction Squeezing Your Yields?, UMN/SSSA, Online

Jan 31-Feb 1

Minnesota Erosion Control Annual Conference, MECA, Plymouth





Feb 27-29

Best Practices for Pollinators Summit, Xerces and Pollinator Friend Alliance, Online





Jan 9 to Dec 10

Sustainable Forestry Education Cooperative 2024 Forestry Webinar Series, SFEC, Online


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
Training Coordinator
(507) 844-0442 
  Jon Sellnow
TTCP Coordinator
(218) 340-3521

David Demmer &
Ben Meyer
MWPCP Coordinators
(218) 464-8289 &
(612) 201-9806 &