Monitoring for Change Pays Off
There is only one guarantee in agriculture or other land-based businesses: “When we improve land health we realize improvements in production, profitability, and social well-being.” So, how do we confirm and/or measure improved land health? We must learn how to read the land as we walk across it, and learn how to conduct various biological monitoring practices, from simple to more complex.
ALL LEVELS: Farmers, farm managers, and other landowners interested in learning how to improve land health through the power of observation, data gathering and interpretation.
The primary learning objective for this course is to enable you to begin successfully understanding observations and information you can easily gather from a piece of land. This will allow you to establish a baseline of the land’s health and determine if your management decisions are moving toward what you desire for the land in terms of health and productivity.
In this course you will learn how to:
- Make visual observations
- Develop a monitoring transect
- Collect data
- Summarize and analyze the data you collect
- Use these data to change your management to move the land toward what you want
WebinarsA majority of the work is carried out on your own schedule, which can include readings, photographs, videos, graphics and PowerPoints. A key component are assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To pace and coordinate the independent study there are weekly webinars during the course to allow you to learn from presenters and other students and to ask questions in real time. If you miss or wish to review any webinars, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.
Live instruction for the 2021-2022 season has ended, and the next live session will be in late September 2022. While we encourage live attendance so you have the opportunity to engage with the presenters and ask questions, all webinars are recorded and posted in our online classroom for students to watch anytime. Once you have enrolled in this course, you will retain access to all materials indefinitely, and can return to participate in the live webinars in future offerings of the course if you wish.
Phil Metzger is a farm and natural resources development consultant, retired from a 31-year career as a Resource Conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Phil instructs on various topics including: biological monitoring, land planning, farm, personal & business financial planning, goal setting, and improved decision making. He is a certified educator of Holistic Management (HM) and has personally practiced HM for over 20 years.
StartWeek 1 Webinar Join Link, Slides, and Recording
StartFORUM: Introduce Yourself!
StartOptional: Readings on Soil Health
StartOptional: Readings on Ecosystem Processes
StartFORUM: Growing Soil As Our Primary Crop article and reflection
StartOptional: Fancy a Short Quiz?
StartExercise 1 - Ecosystem Health Analysis Worksheet
StartWeek 2 Webinar Join Link, Slides, and Recording (0:08)
StartOptional Reading: Brittleness: An Introduction
StartOptional: Try this short Quiz on for size!
StartFORUM: What was one thing you learned from Sarah Williford's presentation during Webinar #1?
StartExercise 2 -Tools & Land Health Analysis