Get Started: a New Program

How do I get started?

Comprehensive natural resource planning and management is a complex process made more difficult by the fact that people are involved in doing it. The natural resource professional may find him or herself in the middle of a contentious group, chairing an advisory committee, or working with a lone farmer.

Whatever the circumstance, the educator or natural resource professional must:

  • analyze the situation.
  • determine the “teachable moment”.
  • bring whatever communication and teaching skills he or she has to bear on the situation.

Human progress is the goal. A tall order!

Incorporate Best Education Practices into your communication or outreach initiative

Education, outreach, and communication are important natural resource management tools. But how do we assure that we’ve applied each to its best advantage?

Natural resource professionals often do not have specific training in education, outreach, or communication skills. Extension educators bring a wealth of outreach and communication experience, but need so many different kinds of skills that they may not have cultivated the one needed at that moment. Trained educators are experts at building conceptual understanding, but may have little experience with outreach or communication.

The Water Outreach website provides a wide variety of resources that will help you create or revise your natural resources initiative. Here are a few that are helpful in deciding how to get started. Explore to see which meets your needs best at this moment. Next time you visit, a different resource may be exactly what you need.

Curious about education lingo or just have general questions about education? Try FAQs about BEPs (Best Education Practices). Answers to these Frequently Asked Questions provide brief examples of an education challenge and a potential solution.

Accomplish What? Helps you think about your interaction with people. Do you need to get information to some people; talk things over; provide training for a new skill; or really change how things are done? Once you’ve decided, you can take steps to plan a successful initiative.

Once you decide what you want to accomplish, you need to make a Plan. This section takes you from the idea to implementation to evaluation.

You see how you might be able to accomplish your goal using a good plan. But where do Best Education Practices fit in? Essential BEPs provides short lists of what you must keep in mind for learning to occur in different scenarios: with the individual, with a group, with the community, for web-based learning. It’s best to refer to BEPs during the planning process.

You looked at the Essential BEPs and they don’t seem to fit your needs. Choose BEPs takes a different approach. A Decision Tree walks you through common scenarios that may confront a water educator and helps direct you to BEPs important for that situation.

e-Networking provides access to common listserves of interest to water educators. This is a good way to ask your question to people like you. Sometimes advice from a colleague is the most effective way to begin.