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To actually restore and protect water quality, residents of your watershed need to be engaged in the process. Building functional partnerships are both the hardest and most rewarding part of watershed projects. As a concerned citizen, there are many ways you can gather like-minded people and build more support for local water conservation. Nearly every watershed group will eventually find it necessary to conduct an event (i.e. workshop, field day, public meeting, etc.) to involve the public in watershed management. Event planning boils down to two major components: logistics and content.
Content is the “meat” of your event. What are you going to talk about or do at the event? Most groups know what overall topic they want to cover. Planning out the more specific talks or activities generally takes some brainstorming. Estimate (to the minute) the time you’ll need to cover each line item on your agenda to keep the event on schedule. Make notes about the supplies, equipment, and propse that you will need in each segment.
Groups often invite experts to speak to the topic at hand. Using speakers brings variety to your event and breaks up the day into nice “chunks.” They can also bring a level of credibility to your event (after all, you are not the only one preaching your message!) However, speakers often charge a fee to attend events, so you’ll want to look into this ahead of time.
Even if you have everything planned perfectly, there’s no guarantee that the event will proceed smoothly. In planning for events, as in life, having a Plan B is a good idea. Consider what you will do in case of: foul weather, power outage, higher attendance than expected, computer glitches, the restaurant bungling your order, or your main speaker getting sick at the last minute.
Specific pages dealing with planning field days, workshops, public meetings, steering committees, education campaigns and agendas are available on our website. Regardless of the topic or format, remember that the reason you are planning your event is to involve other people. As you work toward this goal, always keep in mind the needs of your participants and make adjustments to suit them.