Scientists Workshop Priorities for Great Lake Research

Ever year, hundreds of scientists and other professionals from a wide variety of disciplines attend the IAGLR Conference on Great Lakes Research.

These are the wicked smart people working hard to keep the largest fresh bodies of water in the world as clean and healthy as possible.   They’re kinda nerdy save-the-planet superheroes, really.

Darryl Finnigan, with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, was scheduled to host a two-hour workshop on June 10, 2016, at the end of the four-day conference.  He asked if he could borrow a set of Feedback Frames for the day, and I was honored to oblige.

The goal of the workshop:

create a prioritized list of agricultural research gaps.

Part 1 included presentations and a panel discussion. Part 2 consisted of small group discussions to answer the question:

“What research is needed to understand agricultural impacts on water quality?”

After generating close to 50 suggestions, each on their own statement sheet, Darryl amalgamated a few to present 40 statements for rating levels of agreement using Feedback Frames.

Over 25 attendees participated, dropping tokens and writing comments for each suggested research topic.  

Following the workshop, staff typed-up the token counts into a spreadsheet, sorted topics by agreement score, and the emailed the results to all participants.  What a useful and tangible output from a conference workshop!

In case your were wondering, the top three research topics with the most agreement were (drum roll, please): 

  1. Winter nutrient losses. (agreement score 8.0 / 10)

  2. 4Rs of fertilizer and manure use.  (agreement score 7.5)

  3. BMPs as a systems approach.  (agreement score 7.3)

Thanks again, Darryl Finnigan, for this opportunity to demonstrate Feedback Frames in a government sponsored conference, and to all the participants who were gracious to let me photograph them for my blog.

Go water geeks go!

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