Groundwater: On a Screen Near You
Published 4/26/23 by Julia Stanford
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If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? From keyboard cat to corn kid, and many more serious things in between, it’s clear that the video format is impactful and here to stay. In 2023, it’s more accessible than ever before. The smartphone in your pocket has better photo and video quality than an expensive consumer camcorder you may have purchased at the turn of the millennium, and you can upload videos to the platform of your choice for global distribution in a matter of seconds.
Many groundwater conservation districts (GCDs) throughout the state use videos to achieve their communications or education goals. Videos can be an effective way for GCDs to reach a wide audience and share complex information in a clear and concise way. By bringing the district to stakeholders’ devices on demand, videos can help raise awareness and strengthen relationships. We’ve rounded up a variety of videos here to highlight the different ways GCDs can use videos. We are hopeful that these examples provide valuable knowledge and maybe even inspire another district or organization to consider their own video strategy! Please note that this is not an exhaustive list – see more links at the end of this article and let us know if we missed your district.
North Plains GCD
Even with a robust outreach strategy, it can be a challenge for North Plains GCD to reach the right people. The district spans over 7,000 square miles in the northern Texas Panhandle. To attend an educational event at the district’s office in Dumas, an agricultural producer and permittee in Follett would have to drive for over two hours just to get there. For busy farmers, those hours away can be detrimental to their operation, so they may not be able to attend valuable classes offered by the district that can help them farm and irrigate more efficiently. In 2019 – before all things “virtual” became the zeitgeist of the pandemic – North Plains GCD decided to take their summer field day online with a “Virtual Field Day” series. While the district did return to an in-person field experience in subsequent years, they now record each session to share on YouTube for those unable to attend.
Each Virtual Field Day video is less than five minutes long. See the introduction to the left, and view the playlist here. Viewers can watch the entire playlist at once, pick and choose topics of interest, or watch one video at a time when they get the chance – in the cab of their tractor, between paying bills at the office, or while waiting in the school pickup line.
North Plains GCD also supports the Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluation agricultural demonstration in partnership with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension & Research. The district produces brief video updates from each trial site on a rotating weekly basis. The result is the “Cotton & Conservation” series, filmed in the field using only an iPad or iPhone and an external microphone. View a video from the recent growing season to the left, or explore North Plains GCD’s YouTube channel for more content.
Cow Creek GCD
Cow Creek GCD manages groundwater in Kendall County, one of the most rapidly-growing areas in the nation. The district has great relationships with other governmental entities, local organizations, and community members – so much that production of these videos was largely the result of volunteers and grassroots efforts. In 2013 the district partnered with the City of Boerne, Hill Country Alliance, Cibolo Creek Watershed Partnership, Cibolo Nature Center, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, and Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance to create the “Water: Yours, Mine, and Ours” manual and companion videos on rainwater harvesting funded by a Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Cow Creek GCD board member Bob Webster provides voiceover narration for the videos, board members Milan Michalec and John Kight showed off their own residential systems, and all filming and editing was done by Ben Eldredge, a current Cow Creek GCD board member who at the time was just an involved citizen. General Manager Micah Voulgaris appreciates the metrics from the videos, saying “we can see how many views each video has, which is a good way to get measurable results for the grant report.” You can view the rainwater harvesting videos, as well as a video about the aquifer (right) here on Cow Creek GCD’s website.
Another fun fact that shows the community’s investment in the district: the current logo you see on the videos and the website was created by a local graphic designer who volunteered his services after seeing what he deemed an unimpressive sticker on the district truck around town.
Upper Trinity GCD
Few districts have harnessed the power of social media like Upper Trinity GCD has. In addition to sharing meeting notices, success stories of outreach events, and information about district programs, on the district’s social media pages, Upper Trinity GCD also publishes short-form “reel” videos on Instagram. Reels can be short loops or even a few minutes long, and can be as simple or as complicated as one wants them to be. See a few examples below, and view other videos and graphics on Upper Trinity GCD’s Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Jill Garcia, the district’s Education & Public Relations Coordinator (and recently licensed Professional Geoscientist to boot!) enjoys developing creative content for social media to help stakeholders understand what the district does.
Presidio County UWCD
As part of a campaign about a ballot proposition that would allow the district to assess an ad valorem tax, Presidio County UWCD developed a series of educational videos addressing how groundwater works, groundwater law in Texas, the origins of the district, and the role of GCDs. The videos were funded with support from Dixon Water Foundation, a conservation organization that operates several ranches in North and West Texas and offers grants to promote watershed health through sustainable land management.
To the left, see the “Origins of the PCUWCD” video, or view the full playlist here on the district’s website.
Other GCD Videos
For other groundwater conservation district videos, check out the links below. If you know of a GCD that creates video content, please email TAGD so we can add them to this list. Happy watching!