Friday, May 17

Please note: due to space limitations, you must pre-register for all Friday pre-conference sessions. 

 

FIELD TRIP: Diverse Farm Tour: Small- and Large-scale Dairy, Livestock, and Crops

10:00 am–5:00 pm
Meeting Location: Conference Center Atrium 
Erin Larson, Jim Van der Pol, Nate Hultgren, Brad Heins, Jared Goplen

This tour will take participants to three local farms to­ learn about crop farming, a large scale dairy operation, and a family livestock operation raising hogs and sheep. Participants will meet local farmers, see equipment in operation, visit a working dairy and learn how crops are grown. Your tour guides will be Extension faculty specializing in crops and livestock, who will be able to answer your questions and interpret the on farm experience with you. Come out and meet a local farmer! Please dress appropriately and wear closed-toe footwear. There may be poison ivy on this trip. Pre-registration required.

Experience Level: Beginner
Activity Level: Moderately active
Fee: $50

 

WORKSHOP: AIS Detectors

9:30 am–5:30 pm
Gallery 2
Megan M. Weber, Dan Larkin, Pat Mulcahy

This is a fun, interactive workshop that completes the training program to become an AIS Detector. The AIS Detectors program is a statewide volunteer program that trains members of the public to help identify, educate about, search for, and report aquatic invasive species. You must pre-register and complete the online training prior to arriving at the workshop from the program website. Learn more at www.aisdetectors.orgSEPARATE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.

Experience Level: Beginner
Activity Level: A little bit active
Fee: $195

 

FIELD TRIP: Prairie Tour

10:00 am–5:00 pm
Meeting Location: Conference Center Atrium 
Rhett Johnson, Kelly Randall, Brad Bolduan

See for yourself how a voluntary agreement (easement) between a landowner and the MN DNR can protect North America’s most endangered habitat, native prairie. Learn how an easement works, how cooperative management maintains the prairie, and why this type of protection is so important. Oh, and enjoy touring a place few people get the chance to visit! After that we’ll visit Swedes Forest Scientific and Natural Area to see restoration of the open habitats needed by reptiles, butterflies, as well native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Join this tour to see the dramatic changes on this rocky site. Please dress appropriately and wear closed-toe footwear. There may be poison ivy on this trip. Pre-registration required.

Experience Level: Intermediate
Activity Level: Moderately active
Fee: $50

 

WORKSHOP: Invasive Species in Minnesota: What local leaders need to know

1:00–5:00 pm
Gallery 1
Eli Sagor & Angie Gupta

Species like Palmer amaranth, emerald ash borer, wild parsnip, and other troublesome invasive species are moving into Minnesota’s farms, forests and prairies. Not sure what you can do about the issue? This workshop will address strategies to deal with these species through public advocacy and local leadership. You’ll leave with a better idea of how to mobilize funding and other community resources to proactively and effectively address emerging invasive threats. This workshop will be of greatest interest to local elected officials, organizations coordinating community-level responses, and active volunteers. Pre-registration required.

Experience Level: Beginner
Activity Level: A little bit active
Fee: $35

 

FIELD TRIP: Nature Photography Obstacle Course

1:00–5:00 pm
Meeting Location: Conference Center Atrium
Janet Nelson, Chris Tolman, Amy Granlund

Do your photo skills feel a bit flabby? Need to exercise your camera and teach it some new magic? This is the place to learn some new skills and try them out during a series of mini-workouts designed to get the dust off of your camera skills. Learn how to "Freeze a Bee" with flash and shutter speed, paint the dark with colored lights, try out macro photography, see how spot meter can help your camera record detail in a bird against a bright sky, record the motion of water, and learn how to freeze a flying bird. This class will be useful to any experience level and will be best enjoyed with a camera that can't make a phone call. We will have a few full-featured compacts to loan. Please dress appropriately and wear closed-toe footwear. There may be poison ivy on this trip. Bring your own camera. Pre-registration required.

Experience Level: Intermediate
Activity Level: Moderately active
Fee: $35

 

FIELD TRIP: Alternative Agriculture: Shrimp and Lettuce Farms

1:00–5:00 pm
Meeting Location: Conference Center Atrium
Paul Damhof & Kevin Ortenblad

This is a rare opportunity to visit two very different examples of alternative agriculture in the Willmar area. First: Can we duplicate the ocean environment in Minnesota? Come on out and see how Simply Shrimp is doing it. Owner Paul Damhof will show you the different feeds, how he tests the water, and will talk about how he keeps the water in condition. Then we’ll visit Lettuce Abound, a family-run farm in west central Minnesota growing plants in a completely soil-free environment with the most cutting edge in growing technology called Aeroponics. This method allows them to produce lettuce year-round while using 95% less water than conventional farming. Join this tour to see innovative approaches to food production that reduce environmental impacts. Pre-registration required.

Experience Level: Beginner
Activity Level: Moderately active
Fee: $35

 

WORKSHOP: Outdoor Investigations with Birds, Pollinators, Dragonflies and Phenology

1:00–5:00 pm
Gallery 3
Beth Girard & Sean Hoppes

Learn about the citizen science curriculum produced by UMN Extension and how it blends with The Raptor Center's online platform "Outdoor Investigator". Find out how you can use these tools with non-formal and formal groups. Be prepared to go outside to learn new strategies for working with students in nature's classroom! Please bring a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Pre-registration required.

Experience Level: Beginner
Activity Level: A little bit active
Fee: $35