Why You Should Attend an Education and Outreach Class at CONNECT

by Jen Nelson

April is approaching, and you might be considering what classes you want to take at CONNECT. With so many great technical offerings, you might overlook the education and outreach track entirely. Don’t do that! These great topics are useful for every employee at a conservation district or watershed council. For example…

Have you ever needed a photo for that newsletter article you just wrote, and just borrowed it from the web? Or maybe you wanted to share photos of children from a classroom event in your newsletter or on Facebook. Ever wonder if your District or Council could get sued for that? Come pose these and other burning questions to three copyright gurus from Lewis & Clark Law School’s Small Business Legal Clinic and Elliott Ostrandar & Preston at the “Staying Out of Trouble with Copyright” session Wednesday afternoon. (Have a question now? Email it to me, tualatinswcd@gmail.com, and I will send it to them before the class!)

Oh, but maybe your District or Council isn’t using social media or a website as part of your outreach. Having trouble making the case for it? If you are using it, would you like to do so more efficiently? We’ve got classes for that too – “Social Media and Data Analytics as an Awareness Tool” Wednesday afternoon will help you measure the impact of these tools. Thursday morning, “More Than Just a Website: Rethinking How we Present Information Online” will focus on more traditional online communications.

Maybe you aren’t the techy type. Does your District or Council focus more on fliers to share information about programs and workshops? Did you know there could be a better way to organize those fliers to grab people’s attention? “Creating Flawless Fliers” Friday morning is a practical session that will walk you step-by-step through the design process. With the inside tips on seeing fliers through a designers eyes, your next publication will be amazing!

All Districts and Councils have to work with the media, and a few of the classes on our schedule will help you break down the changing media landscape in this brave new digital world so that you can get attention when you deserve and manage attention when maybe you don’t want it so much. “Working with the Media to Tell Your Story” on Thursday covers the basics of what motivates reporters, and “Telling Your Story with Photos” later that day builds on the theme, helping you understand why a picture really is worth a thousand words (and maybe the caption too). “Power up Your Communications with Public Opinion Research” follows that with valuable information about what people care about in Oregon that you can use to further hone your media strategy.

Finally, if communications just isn’t your thing, there is still education, an important part of every District or Council’s mission. In today’s world, educating starts with funding – don’t miss the “Grant Writing Basics” class on Thursday. Then, learn more about the amazing education programs at your fellow Districts and Councils Friday before you leave for the weekend in “Successful Education Programs: Logistics, Challenges, and Evaluation”. Ever wonder how to best make the connections needed for partnerships, educational or otherwise? The “Art of Effective Networking” on Wednesday can help everyone of us do a better job of connecting to people at workshops, events, or, well, CONNECT!

Still not certain any of this applies to you? Want to know more about one of these classes? Feel free to email me at tualatinswcd@gmail.com. I hope to see you in one of these sessions!