Friday, November 22, 2013

I.A. in ATX FTW!

Thanks to Miami-Dade’s Urban Conservation Unit (UCU) & UF’s IrriGators, earlier this month I traveled to Austin, Texas, for the Irrigation Association's 2013 Irrigation Show and Education Conference (I.A.).

On the agenda
What to do at a conference that attracts academics, brand reps, and water experts from across the country and features both technical presentations and a ginormous product exhibition? The short answer: everything!

Opening reception with IrriGators past and present!
After attending WaterSmart in October it became apparent rather quickly that this event and the former would be two entirely different animals. First, my event lodgings for I.A. were in the center of downtown for easy access to everything. Second, the two-track presentation schedule at I.A. made deciding which talk to attend much easier. Third, since the emphasis here is on gear, the cavernous expo hall was a seemingly endless feast of brightly colored, product-laden booth after booth after booth.

All chrome errthing!

Electric car at an irrigation show? This is how you win!
Further, following the success of our WaterSmart video (released the week prior) I arrived in Austin with a working plan to shoot content for no less than three future UCU productions. This meant non-stop media mode while on location.

Watering restrictions are not always effective, reports Mackenzie Boyer

Camera time with Kansas State's Dr. Isaya Kisekka

Making movies with I.A.'s Brent Mecham
Harvesting the sky

One new development at the I.A. show was the inclusion of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) in the proceedings. While they conducted their own meetings and talks, ARCSA also contributed presentations to I.A. and exhibited all their sundry rainwater collecting devices in a pavilion within the larger product expo.

Alternative water sources for irrigation are the future. Fitting that in September we produced a video about using rain water collection systems in irrigation. See that work here or below.

In ATX and on that tweet board!
Social media was in full bloom during I.A. I certainly took full advantage of our social media platforms, firing off pictures and tweeting about the many goings-on.  

From L: Tucson Water, Municipal Water District of Orange County, Austin Water and San Antonio Water on the water purveyor panel
Never to busy to share expertise: ValleyCrest's Richard Restuccia contributes to our certification video
The Water Bloggers were also present and conducted several twitter interviews throughout the conference days. As they are my social mentors, it was a joy reconnecting with them while we each focused on different aspects of the conference.
Doing work: @theweathermatic interviews @H2Otrends
We ride free, or...

Longhorn life!
On the final conference day, I had a moment to explore the larger city. Only days earlier I had read about the water conservation measures initiated by the University of Texas, Austin campus, and suddenly there I was – surrounded by xeriscape and multi-stream spray heads, etc.
The UCU made it to Austin by winning a magazine drawing for complementary conference registration. Suffice to say we’ll be hitting those giveaways just as hard in 2014. For us, Arizona would mean staying abreast of the latest in urban landscape irrigation gear, while also reconnecting with our west coast colleagues.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Full steam ahead to ATX!

Did I mention October would be an eventful month for our group? Conferences, symposiums, app releases, videos, etc. With just two months left in 2013, the work surges forward.

Dr. Kati Migliaccio presided over another successful South Florida Landscape Irrigation Symposium last month. The fall 2013 edition took place at Palm Beach County’s Extension Office and once again proved that private/public sector partnerships can be effective – convening vendors and a full house for UF/IFAS presenters from Gainesville, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, with Allstate Resource Management issuing CEUs to all in attendance.

Let's talk success: U.C.U.'s Jesus Lomeli on the mic
The next South Florida Landscape Irrigation Symposium is slated for May 1st, 2014, at the Miami-Dade County Extension Office! Keep watching this space for further information.

Coast to coast for conservation

Last month was also notable for the WaterSmart Innovations Conference. I attended with UF’s IrriGators and while there produced a video for Miami-Dade’s Urban Conservation Unit (U.C.U.) about successful water conservation initiatives in the arid, often drought-stricken western U.S.

Clockwise top-left: Mackenzie Boyer, Stacia Davis, Dr. Michael Dukes and Peter Mayer
What does this topic have to do with the U.C.U.? Only everything! Conferences like WaterSmart help make tangible the importance of water management and showcase the sundry players from all sectors working not only to implement proven conservation measures, but also developing new approaches.

In the coffee line with Denver Water's Reyna Yagi
I had the opportunity to meet software coders, irrigation techs, communications experts and water authority reps, everyone willing to share about their work and expertise.

L to R: Water blogger Richard Restuccia and Economist Laura Grant
Just as we create content to educate locally about water-use efficiency, UF/IFAS research and Miami-Dade programs, we’re also aware of the larger picture and are happy to use our platform to highlight the great work of others in our field.   

In session: Southern Nevada declares multi-streams inefficient...and the crowd goes wild!
See the video filmed on location at WaterSmart Innovations 2013 here or below.

Next stop: ATX!
This week I’ll be traveling to Austin, Texas, for the Irrigation Association Show and Education Conference.

This event was not in the plans for us, but a few months ago the U.C.U.'s Jesus Lomeli struck gold and won a drawing for complementary full registration. I’ll be attending in his otherwise occupied place: taking hundreds of pictures, filming for a future video and live-tweeting from the technical sessions and the Expo floor.

At WaterSmart and on that tweet board!
Stay tuned for a report back later this month!