Workshops are your chance to learn and apply new skills and methodologies. Please note that all of these sessions happen at the same time as the conference events (concurrent sessions, field trips). Pre-registration for workshops is required and will include a nominal fee. Sign up for workshops when you register for the conference. Space in each workshop is limited, and sign up is first-come-first-serve, so register early to make sure you get in to your desired workshop. Note that workshop fees are non-refundable.

Wednesday, February 20

Don't Talk Like A Scientist

Date and time: Wednesday, February 20, Time 1:30 – 3:10 pm

Location: TBA

Registration fee: $20

Instructor: Cindy Crosby, author and communication professional

How do we connect and engage a general audience of non-scientists with science concepts and the practice of ecological restoration in our communities? Good conservation and restoration work begins with good communication and discovering what is important to stakeholders in a particular area. This interactive workshop will give scientists and managers practical, immediately usable, and more effective tools to connect and engage non-scientists in their communities or organizations with science concepts. Participants will partake in role-play, case studies, group brainstorming, and games to show how the way the science of ecological restoration is communicated can make or break its reception by a community.

Cindy Crosby is an Interpretive Trainer for the National Association for Interpretation and certifies natural resources leaders in communicating clearly about the natural world. She has a passion for sharing the natural world through words, images, and experiences. She has designed interpretive panels on natural area sites, written a weekly prairie blog for non-scientists, and produced programming to natural resources volunteers at The Morton Arboretum in Illinois. She is also the author of several books including “Tallgrass Conversations: In Search of the Prairie Spirit.”

Conservation Dogs: What's the Sniff All About?

Date and time: Wednesday, February 20, Time 3:40 – 5:00 pm

Location: TBA

Registration fee: $10

Instructors: Cory Gritzmacher, Mequon Nature Preserve and Laura Holder, Midwest Conservation Dogs, Inc.

Learn how trained dogs can be an effective and efficient tool to assist with conservation programs. You’ll learn about the science behind a dog’s amazing ability to find target odor in the natural environment (their sense of spell is 40x greater than a human’s!), including odors that humans could never detect and in places humans may not be able to go. Conservation dogs also have the capacity to find multiple targets of various species of plants, mammals, amphibians, and even bacteria. You’ll hear about current projects where conservation dogs are being used as well as about the potential for new applications.

Cory Gritzmacher is the Director of Restoration and Operations at Mequon Nature Preserve. He oversees all the land restoration projects on 444 acres at the Preserve and is the canine handler for Mequon Nature Preserve’s on-staff conservation dog Tilia.

Laura Holder is the Executive Director and lead trainer/canine handler for Midwest Conservation Dogs, Inc., a Milwaukee-based non-profit specializing in the training and deployment of professional scent detection canines.

Thursday, February 21

Biology and Identification of Aquatic Macrophytes

Date and time: Thursday, February 21, Time 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Location: Geneva

Registration fee: $10

Instructors: Paul Skawinski, UW-Extension Lakes and UW-Stevens Point

This workshop will discuss the biology of aquatic plants and macro-algae (Characeae family) and introduce participants to the features of aquatic macrophytes that facilitate identification to species level. Learn how to distinguish species through a combination of high-resolution photographs and preserved specimens. Hear about the challenges facing aquatic macrophytes and how these species have adapted to face these challenges. Anyone working around wetlands benefits from knowing how to identify plants, including knowing how to identify threatened and endangered species, detecting invasive species, and using plants to understand chemistry and habitat quality.

Paul Skawinski is the Statewide Citizen Lake Monitoring Network Educator for the UW-Extension Lakes Program and teaches Aquatic Botany at UW-Stevens Point. Paul is also the author and photographer of the widely used field guide “Aquatic Plants of the Upper Midwest” and has taught dozens of aquatic plant workshops.

Wetland Soils: An Introduction or Refresher Short Course

Date and time: Thursday, February 21, Time 1:30 –  4:30 pm

Location: Geneva

Registration fee: $20

Instructors: Pat Trochlell, retired wetland ecologist, and Neil Molstad, former WDNR

This workshop will provide a basic introduction to or a refresher on soils for people who work with wetlands. Through hands-on experience identifying and describing hydric soil indicators and characteristics, you will learn about wetland soil types and indicators. You’ll also learn about the importance of soils in wetland development and restoration, including the relationship between soils and plant communities and how soil types can influence wetland restoration. This workshop is particularly relevant to people who are relatively new to wetland delineation or restoration, for those who feel a need for a soils refresher course, and for those who work in a wetlands field but do not regularly work with soils (e.g. hydrologist, botanist).

Pat Trochlell is a wetland ecologist who worked for WDNR for more than 37 years. She is also a licensed Professional Soil Scientist and Hydrologist. She teaches wetland plant identification as well as a Master Naturalist course, and she monitors both wetland and upland plant communities.

Neil Molstad is a wetland identification specialist for WDNR, a position he has held since 2014. He worked in the private sector as an environmental consultant, for the USDA-NRCS as a soil scientist, and as a middle and high school science teacher prior to joining WDNR.