Workshops are your chance to learn and apply new skills and methodologies. Pre-registration for workshops is required and will include a nominal fee to cover workshop expenses. Sign up for workshops when you register for the conference. Please note that all of these sessions happen concurrent with other conference content (concurrent sessions, field trips, and/or working groups), so check the conference schedule before you sign up. Space in each workshop is limited, and sign up is first-come-first-serve, so register early to make sure you get into your desired workshop. Note that workshop fees are non-refundable.

Story Time: Become an Effective Wetland Communicator

Date and Time: Thursday, February 20, 9:00 am – noon
Room: Palm Garden F
Registration fee: $30
Instructor: Matthew Miller, The Nature Conservancy

Effective communication is a cornerstone of conservation, restoration, and public awareness. You don’t have to give a TED talk or write a blog to benefit from sound communications practices. Whether you’re talking to one person or one thousand, the principles are the same. By effectively communicating, you can better reach your professional goals and audiences that can influence the success of your work. This 2-hour workshop will focus on storytelling, as many of us forget what we intuitively know when it comes to work—that storytelling is simple. In this workshop, we’ll break down what makes stories work and discuss how you can use a simple story blueprint to reach your target audiences. Using examples, we’ll examine how to improve clarity in writing and speaking. In this interactive session, you’ll have time to practice storytelling skills—and even pitch your blog ideas for publication.

Matthew L. Miller is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy and editor of the organization’s popular blog, Cool Green Science. Matt is the recipient of the Jade Award, the highest conservation honor of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

Amphibian Identification

Date and Time: Thursday, February 20, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Room: Palm Garden BC
Registration fee: $20
Instructor: Rori Paloski and Rich Staffen, WDNR; Josh Kapfer, UW Whitewater 

This indoor workshop will teach participants how to identify Wisconsin’s frogs and salamanders, including egg masses, larval/juvenile/adult stages, and breeding calls (frogs). The workshop will also cover habitat preferences, as this can provide important clues to help with identification. The workshop is designed for those who want to begin learning about Wisconsin’s amphibians, as well as those with previous knowledge that would like to continue learning. The information offered at this workshop will help anyone engaging in site visits, research projects, habitat management work, wetland delineations, or citizen-based monitoring projects.

Rori Paloski is a Conservation Biologist with the WDNR, where she specializes in herpetology and works on a variety of regulatory issues related to endangered resources.

Josh Kapfer is a professor and wildlife biologist at UW-Whitewater, where he teaches lecture and field-based ecology classes and conducts research with undergraduate students.

Richard Staffen has been a Conservation Biologist for the Wisconsin DNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation program since 2002. He performs inventory and monitoring projects across the state focused on rare vertebrate animals.

Scenario Modeling of the Impacts of Groundwater Withdrawal on Calcareous Fens

Date and Time: Thursday, February 20, 1:30 – 6:00 pm
Room: Palm Garden F
Registration fee: $20
Instructor: David Bart, Steven Loheide, and Eric Booth, UW-Madison; Tom Bernthal, WDNR (retired)

This workshop will explore the use and usefulness of the Fen Drawdown Impact (FDI) models for wetland management and well siting. The FDI scenario models were developed to understand and illustrate the short- and long-term impacts of groundwater extraction on calcareous fens in an effort to avoid further damage. The workshop, which will be part presentation and part charrette, will allow potential stakeholders to understand how the models were derived, the assumptions and limitations of the modeling exercises, the major findings on cumulative impacts, and the role of feedbacks in determining outcomes. Participants and organizers will also fine-tune the models and the model handbook to maximize their policy and management relevance.

David Bart is an associate professor in the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture at UW-Madison.  He researches the role of current and past land uses on wetland plant communities, with a recent focus on calcareous fens.

Steven Loheide II is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UW-Madison.  One of his research interests is groundwater influence in wetlands.

Eric Booth is an assistant research scientist in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Agronomy at UW-Madison.  He has researched ways to model groundwater influence in wetlands for the past several years.

Thomas Bernthal is the former wetland monitoring and assessment coordinator for WDNR.  Before retiring, he helped design and lead floristic quality assessments in wetlands throughout the state.

Identification and Biology of Wisconsin's Aquatic Plants

Date and Time: Thursday, February 20, 9:00 am – noon
Room: Palm Garden DE
Registration fee: $40
Instructor: Paul Skawinski, UW Extension Lakes

This classroom workshop will use a combination of photographs and preserved specimens to teach participants how to identify and better understand the submergent and floating-leaf flora of Wisconsin. The workshop will cover a range of common and unusual species that are likely to be found while exploring wetlands, including some invasive species. Participants are welcome to bring in photographs or specimens of unknown aquatic species for help with identification.

Included in the price of the workshop is a copy of the recently published 4th edition of Aquatic Plants of the Upper Midwest.

Paul Skawinski teaches aquatic botany at UW-Stevens Point and is the author/photographer of the field guide Aquatic Plants of the Upper Midwest. Paul is passionate about all things aquatic and has led dozens of workshops on aquatic plant and animal identification.

Introduction to Common Wisconsin Sedges

Date and Time: Thursday, February 20, 1:30 – 4:30 pm
Room: Palm Garden DE
Registration fee: $25
Instructor: Pat Trochlell, The Prairie Enthusiasts, and Steve Eggers, US Army Corps of Engineers

This workshop will provide an introduction to Wisconsin sedges, introducing participants to plants in the sedge family and teaching them how to tell them apart from sedge look-alikes. We will briefly cover common genera in the sedge family, however we will concentrate on plants in the genus Carex, particularly species most frequently encountered Wisconsin. Participants can expect to learn how to identify common species of sedges as well as techniques and tips for keying plants. We will also cover habitat and ecology as clues to identification and will provide dried sedge samples for observation and keying practice. We will also have recommended books and resources available for perusal.

Steve Eggers is a senior ecologist and professional wetland scientist who has worked for the USACE for more than 40 years. He is a recognized regional and national expert in wetlands and has provided training and assistance with wetland delineation, restoration, and plant identification for agency staff and the public.

Pat Trochlell is a wetland ecologist who worked for WDNR for more than 35 years. Her areas of expertise include wetland botany, soils, restoration, assessment, and education. She is a state-licensed hydrologist and soil scientist.