Electronic Community Brings Northern Plains Chapter Members Closer Together

March 1, 2009

If your IECA Chapter is looking for a fast, inexpensive, and effective way to provide members with up-to-the-minute information and to enable members to discuss areas of common interest, you might want to look to the Northern Plains Chapter. Since October 2006, the Chapter has maintained a blog (short for Web log) for its members.

As explained on the Web site (www.erosionmatters.blogspot.com), this blog offers Chapter members a forum to interact with each other, comment on all areas of erosion control, get input about projects, ask for help from other members, and maintain a sense of community with each other.

Developing such togetherness is especially challenging for the Northern Plains Chapter. Its members are spread over a wide geographic area that covers the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan in Canada and the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota in the United States.

Chapter member Gil Barber, CPESC, head of Chapter communications, established the site in October 2006 and continues to maintain it.

“I set it up because it’s one of the best ways I know of to provide members with information they can use any time,” he says. “It also allows members to get involved and talk erosion control by participating in the blog. Even if you’re not taking part in a discussion, you can read what others are saying.”

The blog includes dates of Chapter and other industry events; questions and answers from members, and news, videos, and other information related to controlling erosion and sediment. “I try to keep it up to date with information that others in the industry send me, as well as topics I come across either in doing my work or satisfying my curiosity,” Barber says. “If I’m interested in it as an erosion control professional, I think others will be, too. So, I’ll put it on the blog.”

You can search the blog archives, which go back to the beginning of the blog. Also, you can post an event directly onto the blog’s calendar and follow links to Web sites for more information about a particular topic.

During the blog’s first two years, it had received a total of about 1,700 hits. “I’ve been pleased with the level of activity on the blog,” Barber says. “It appears to be doing its job.”