Photos courtesy of ILF
DELIVERING THE MESSAGE: Due to COVID-19, face-to-face meetings are no longer held, but the mission of the Conservation Learning Group hasn’t changed. It’s Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks! programs have quickly adapted to social distancing, school closures and other radical changes the farm and student audience has recently experienced.
VIRTUAL REALITY: Conducting virtual field days for farmers, the Conservation Learning Group is keeping information and education in front of the communities served by the ILF program and Water Rocks.
TUNING IN: While a fully virtual field day is a new approach, ILF has an extensive library of online how-to videos and podcasts. They cover and explain some of the same soil conservation and crop management topics and concerns often discussed at field days.
ATTRACTING ATTENTION: Since March, Iowa Learning Farms has seen a significant increase in live webinar viewers and views on archived webinars. There is demand for information and ILF has made it easy to access. Recent webinars have hosted approximately 100 attendees and are being seen in many downloads within a few weeks.
TIMELY TOPICS: You have a chance to select, download and enjoy some 50 podcasts and more than 100 webinars and videos when and where you like, including from the tractor cab. This is a free but not a new service from ILF, and the virtual field days are also available for download.
GETTING ANSWERS: There is no best way to reach every Iowan. While some may prefer online options, others will be best reached with printed materials that they can hold, or in-person contacts such as traditional field days. Iowa’s Conservation Learning Program offers such options.
FILMING THE BEES: The Conservation Learning Group recently launched an online youth education video series with Water Rocks music and classroom content. Students learn about soil and water conservation, water quality practices, and the role pollinators play in crop production.