Recent Extension Conference Featured Engaging Keynote and Panel Discussion

Sept. 2, 2022
The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension System held its annual conference on August 10-12, the recordings of which are now available. The conference is an opportunity for Extension personnel, representing a wide range of programs from throughout the State, to gather to learn about others’ activities and the opportunities and challenges for extension work in Arizona. On the opening day, WRRC Director Sharon B. Megdal participated in the panel, “Arizona’s Water Resources: Progress, Politics, and Possibilities.” Following an engaging overview of the “Hydroclimate of the Colorado River Basin” from UArizona Climatologist and Extension Specialist Mike Crimmins, Megdal gave a two-part presentation coving the importance of context for understanding the three “Ps” in focus for the panel: progress, politics, and possibilities in Arizona's water resources. Megdal also added another “P” for water policy, further framing her presentation. Tom Davis, general manager of the Yuma County Water Users’ Association, then joined the panel to share some of the real challenges facing Yuma agriculture and the State in light of the developing Colorado River shortage. Following Davis’ comments, Sharon Megdal returned for the second part of her presentation, bringing some optimism to the discussion. She detailed some of the opportunities and pathways to solutions for addressing the water challenges we face and emphasized that we all have a role to play as water stakeholders.
On Day 2 of the conference, Dr. Karletta Chief, director of the UArizona Indigenous Resilience Center, gave an in-depth keynote presentation on “Creating Connections in Indigenous Communities through Extension.” Chief described the work and mission of the Indigenous Resilience Center and how efforts to support the resilience of Tribal communities are facing different types of environmental challenges. She illustrated Indigenous frameworks that “decolonize research methods,” centered on Tribal data sovereignty, collaboration, and training. Chief noted that the “Indigenous process of research is more than producing new knowledge, it’s also about community, healing, and capacity building.” The recordings of Dr. Chief’s keynote presentation and the water resources panel are available online.
Pictured above: Karletta Chief and Sharon B. Megdal