Fire-Related Webinars: Past and Future

I have recently noticed that webinars are becoming a more and more widely used educational tool in the environmental field, including in the world of fire. In fact, I myself will be getting in on the game this week (http://www.forestrywebinars.net/webinars/prescribed-fire-opportunities-for-forestry-consultants). There are probably many reasons for this recent increase, but I’m sure that convenience and decreased budgets play fairly large roles.

In today’s current fiscal climate, many agencies and individuals are having to cut back wherever possible.  With conference budgets being cut by both organizers and attendees, choosing webinars instead of traditional face-to-face seminars saves both parties money on venues, transportation, lodging, and (typically) registration fees, just to name a few.

Webinars provide an interactive, convenient (-you don’t even have to leave your desk!) and enjoyable way to obtain meaningful and timely information on important “hot topic” issues, while at a low cost. A key feature of most webinars is the ability to interact with “live” presenters in real time.  Participants can ask questions, make comments, and enjoy the feedback that comes from their peer’s questions and comments. Similarly, presenters often have the ability to ask the audience questions through interactive polls.

While preparing for my own upcoming webinar, I wondered what other fire-related webinars have already occurred…and if there were more ahead? As I began sifting through the numerous webinar portals, I was surprised to find several that listed upcoming and archived webinars specifically related to fire:

http://www.iawfonline.org/webinars.php

http://southernfireexchange.org/ProDev/Webinars.html

http://wildfirelessons.net/Additional.aspx?Page=PreviousWebinars

http://www.frames.gov/events/past-events/

http://www.firelab.org/news-a-events/198-missoula-fire-lab-seminar-series

http://www.extension.org/prescribed_fire

The Southern Fire Exchange (http://southernfireexchange.org/) recently began a new “spotlight series” in which a specific fire science topic relevant to southeastern practitioners and researchers is highlighted every two months. During this time, SFE activities, including webinars, will focus on different aspects of the Spotlight topic. Be sure to check their site regularly for updates on webinars for the next 4 upcoming spotlights:

September-October 2013: Prescribed Fire Techniques
November-December 2013: Smoke and Fog
January-February 2014: GIS / Mapping
March-April 2014: Fuel Treatments

Although this list is not comprehensive, the following websites also regularly offer webinars related to fire and/or natural resource management:

http://www.forestrywebinars.net/

http://conservationwebinars.net/

http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/forestconnect/web.htm

http://www.nnfp.org/ELearning/

http://www.treefarmsystem.org/american-tree-farm-webinar-series

http://www.forestguild.org/webinars.html

http://distancelearning.fws.gov/Webinars.html

http://consbio.org/newsroom/webinars

http://blogs.missouristate.edu/gpfirescience/category/event/

If you know of a fire-related webinar that you would like to promote, please feel free to post it here or e-mail me at jlevans3@ncsu.edu for distribution on this blog. Happy webinarizing!

By: Jennifer Evans

Jennifer Evans is an Extension Assistant in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. Her primary responsibility is to assist in implementing the “Comprehensive Strategy for Prescribed Fire to Restore Longleaf Pine in the Southeast United States” through prescribed fire outreach and education.

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