On March 19th, Ogallala Commons Board and Advisers gathered in Nazareth, Texas, for Spring meetings. The first day included Board Team meetings, as well as a special tour of OC’s Playa Classroom, led by Robert Martin. The evening concluded at the historic Nazareth Home Mercantile building with a dinner of foods provided by the Board & Advisers. The Partner Reception brought OC’s leadership together with a unique group of past, present, and future interns, as well as community partners, to share stories that illustrate OC’s mission. The following morning, the Board and Advisers convened to discuss the business of Ogallala Commons, and came away with a renewed sense of direction and purpose for 2015 and beyond.
Rapid drawdown of the High Plains-Ogallala Aquifer is a major problem for the 21st century. Earlier this month, Ogallala Commons launched Stewarding Our Aquifer (SOA) Initiative, in hopes of bringing together thousands of people to address this issue in new ways. The SOA Initiative will use social media tools: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, blogs, and Do-It-Yourself newsletters—to conduct a 3-year campaign to motivate actions towards preserving rather than exhausting our commonwealth of water.
“The SOA Initiative will engage citizens living across the entire Ogallala region (which includes parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, South Dakota, and most of Nebraska) with a focus on disseminating education and highlighting practical actions that can be replicated,” notes Darryl Birkenfeld, Ogallala Commons Director. We greatly respect the conservation work already being carried out by regional and state groundwater managers, researchers, and practitioners. Our aim will be to complement these efforts…to collaborate on building a clearer understanding that we cannot live without water, and on finding sustainable options that fit with our semi-arid landscapes.”
Funding for the SOA Initiative is generously provided by the CHS Foundation and CoBank. Anyone interested in joining the SOA Initiative can follow on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. You can also visit the Initiative’s website: www.stewardingouraquifer.com
by Shelby Thibodeaux (OC Intern 2014-2015)
On March 9th, I was sponsored by Ogallala Commons to attend a workshop presented by the Center for Digital Storytelling, held at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. I found out about the Center when I went to the Quivira Coalition Annual Conference, also as an Ogallala Commons delegate. The workshop on digital storytelling helped participants in learn how to design and produce powerful short videos. The workshop began with participants talking about what we wanted our videos to be, then receiving feedback and advice. Most people used the instrument to tell a story about themselves, their family, or heritage. I wanted to do something different. While the other participants were skeptical at first, they understood when they saw my finished product.
After the participants finished writing our scripts, we recorded ourselves. It was important to not just read the script, but to feel it, and speak with emotion and passion. I compiled the images I wanted to use in my video and placed them in the order I wanted to correlate with my voice. Then, at last, I added some background music, and ta-dah…the video was finished! Digital Storytelling is a tool I will now teach to selected OC Community Interns and Apprentices in 2015, because we have a lot of great stories to tell!
You can watch my video below or by clicking on this link: https://www.wevideo.com/hub/#media/ci/337319067
Ogallala Commons 2015 Orientation Retreat is drawing near! During the course of the orientation, interns, apprentices, supervisors, and OC staff will gather to start of the summer session with the best tools and experience. The event, held at Talon Point Retreat Center in Channing, Texas, has become a time for networking and professional skill building, as well as personal growth. This year’s featured speakers are Julene Bair, author of The Ogallala Road: A Memoir of Love and Reckoning, and Debra Bolton, extension specialist at Kansas State University. Add the event to your calendar for June 2nd and 3rd, 2015!