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Tours / Workshops

2015 Tours and Workshops

Tours and workshops are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Register before Oct. 1 to reserve your space and save money as prices increase after this date. A tour with insufficient registration on Oct. 1 may be canceled and a refund issued. A workshop with insufficient registration on Oct. 21 may be canceled and a refund issued.

Tour Schedule | Workshop Schedule | Tours | Workshops | Fun Run  

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Fun Run

Join your friends and colleagues for the annual 5K fun run!  The run takes place at Loring Park, just a few blocks from the Minneapolis Convention Center. Awards given to the first male and female to complete the course. Pick up your t-shirt, bib and course map at registration in Minneapolis. 
  Fee:  $25 ($35 after Oct. 1)
     Contact: Stacey Giesen at

Sunrise Yoga
Wednesday, November 18, 6:30 – 7:30 AM
Location: Group fitness room in the fitness center of the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis (6th floor)     
   Want to end your time in Minneapolis by boosting your physical, emotional, and mental well-being?  Come   join us for sunrise yoga on Wednesday, November 18! Local yoga teacher, Angela Schwartz, will lead you in a beginner friendly yoga practice that will refresh and relax you.  We will provide mats, so just wear comfortable clothing and show up!  All levels welcome!  No fee required. Limited space, so come early!

Tour Schedule

Saturday, Nov. 14
7:30 am-4:30 pm      Upper Midwest Organic Agriculture Tour
9:00 am-4:00 pm      Division C-5 Turfgrass Tour
10:00 am-4:00 pm    Twin Cities Highlights Tour / Mall of America

Sunday, Nov. 15
10:00 am-4:00 pm     Twin Cities Highlights Tour / Mall of America

Monday, Nov. 16
1:00 pm-3:30 pm    Bell Museum of Natural History: Curator Tours of the Diorama Hall
                                    and Peregrine Falcon Exhibit

Tuesday, Nov. 17
 1:00 pm-3:30 pm    St. Paul’s Notorious Past

Wednesday, Nov. 18
9:30 am-1:30 pm        Behind the Scenes: Aveda – Connecting Beauty, Environment and Well-Being

Workshop Schedule

Saturday, Nov. 14
8:00 am-5:30 pm     Asreml-R: Analysis of Breeding Trials

Sunday, Nov. 15
8:30 am-4:30 pm     Analyses of Microbial Community Composition and Metagenomics Using Qiime
9:00 am-12:30 pm   Comet-Farm: Agricultural and Forestry Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Accounting at Your Fingertips
9:00 am-4:30 pm     Meta-Analysis for the Synthesis of Evidence in Agriculture
1:00 pm-3:00 pm     Writing an Abstract for a Paper, Talk, or Poster
1:30 pm-5:00 pm     Data Handling and Analysis Tricks They Don’t Teach You in Grad School

Monday, Nov. 16
11:00 am-1:30 pm    Mechanical Measurements of Crops and Soils: Principles and Techniques
1:30 pm-3:30 pm     Making a Compelling Science Message

Tuesday, Nov. 17
 10:00 am-12:00 pm    Making a Compelling Science Message
  2:00 pm-5:00 pm       Women in Science “Breaking the Bias Habit” Workshop/ Reception

Wednesday, Nov. 18
8:15 am-9:45 am  Marketing for Scientists
1:00 pm-5:00 pm  Analysis of Grazing Data II - Regression Techniques

Thursday, Nov. 19    
8:30 am-4:00 pm     Measuring Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Soils: Methodology, Instrumentation, Modeling, Data Stewardship and Analysis


Asreml-R: Analysis of Breeding Trials
Sponsored by Biometry and Statistical Computing Section; C01 Crop Breeding & Genetics Division; and C07 Genomics, Molecular Genetics & Biotechnology Division
Saturday, Nov. 14, 8:00 am-5:30 pm
     This workshop will focus on the fundamentals of using the ASReml-R version (with optional support on ASReml stand alone) for the analysis of genetic data arising mainly from agricultural, animal and forestry breeding programs. However, the course places emphasis on agriculture, forestry and fisheries. ASReml-R is a statistical software (and library in R) that fits linear mixed models using REML methodology and predicts BLUP (or EBV) values. Genetic concepts required for the construction of appropriate linear models will be addressed together with understanding ASReml interface, inputting and manipulating data, proper construction/specification of linear models (and their variance structure). In addition, some extensions on the use of complex statistical designs and on genetical/biological interpretation of the results will be discussed. 
     This workshop is strongly oriented to the practical aspect of analysis of real, complex, and messy datasets. It is recommended to have some prior understanding of linear mixed model methodology, genetic theory and that you are familiar with R ( The main topics discussed will be univariate analyses of animal (individual) model, half-sib families, and full-sib families together with presentation of multivariate and multi-environment trials studies and spatial analyses. The course will also include presentations of genomic selection and the use of ASReml-R) to perform GBLUP analyses.
     Fee:  $120 ($140 after Oct. 1)
     Contact: Salvador Gezan,

Analyses of Microbial Community Composition and Metagenomics Using Qiime
Sponsored by Soil Biology & Biochemistry Division; C01 Crop Breeding & Genetics Division; ASA Biometry and Statistical Computing Section; and Bioinformatics in Crops and Soils Community
Sunday, Nov. 15, 8:30 am-4:30 pm
     This workshop will be focused on the analysis of soil microbial communities with different formats of metagenomics data using QIIME. At the end of the workshop participants will learn the different next generation sequencing platforms, resources and data analysis and how they may apply to their research. They will also learn how the different databases and bioinformatics analyses tools maybe accurately and efficiently used.
     Fee:  $115 ($135 after Oct. 1)
     Contact: Mark.Ibekwe@ARS.USDA.GOV

Comet-Farm: Agricultural and Forestry Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Accounting at Your Fingertips
Sponsored by Soil Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Community
Sunday, Nov. 15, 9:00 am-12:30 pm
     Workshop attendees will get hands-on instruction on greenhouse gas accounting at the field, parcel, farm and ranch scale.  Attendees will learn how to use and apply the COMET-Farm tool to calculate the entity-level greenhouse balance of farm, ranch, agroforestry and forestry operations, and will complete conservation scenario analyses. The workshop will focus on how the COMET-Farm tool was developed, practical examples of crop, livestock, agroforestry and forestry scenarios, and how to interpret and report greenhouse gas inventories.  COMET-Farm is the practical, web-based application of the USDA entity-level methods for greenhouse gas inventories, and the workshop will include background and a summary of this inventory methods document.
     Fee:  $20 ($25 after Oct. 1)
     Contact: Matthew Stermer,

Meta-Analysis for the Synthesis of Evidence in Agriculture
Sponsored by Biometry and Statistical Computing Section; and Statistical Education/Training for Researchers Community
Sunday, Nov. 15, 9:00 am-4:30 pm
     Meta-analysis is the analysis of the results of multiple independent studies, which is typically performed in order to synthesize the evidence from many possible sources in a formal quantitative manner. In the simplest and most common case, the outcome of each study becomes a single observation in the meta-analysis of all available studies. The discipline developed originally in the social sciences in the 1970s, based on earlier pioneering contributions by Fisher Pearson, Yates, and Cochran, and has now been embraced within many scientific disciplines, especially in medical research. Since 1980, over 80,000 journal articles have been published that either use the method or expand on the procedure. After a very slow start, agricultural scientists are now applying meta-analytic methods to a range of problems. 
     This workshop will cover basic concepts and approaches in meta-analysis, and show how to estimate parameters and interpret results. Common methods for expanding the meta-analytical model to account for study-level characteristics (so called moderator variables) and for multiple treatments per study will be reviewed. The advantages of meta-analysis will be presented in terms of prediction and high statistical power; the major (potential) disadvantage, bias, will also be discussed. Methods will be explained using SAS software, including the use of specialized macros. R code will also be shown for some applications. Attendees should bring a laptop with SAS 9.3 or later, or the free SAS University Edition, installed.
     Fee:  $120 ($140 after Oct. 1)
     Contact: Kathleen Yeater, Kathleen.Yeater@ARS.USDA.GOV

Writing an Abstract for a Paper, Talk, or Poster
Sunday, Nov. 15, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm

    Crafting a good abstract is essential, whether you’re writing a manuscript or preparing a talk or poster. So what makes an abstract “good” and how can you make your own abstracts good? In this hands-on writing workshop, participants will analyze a series of abstracts from ASA, CSSA, and SSSA journals to learn the parts of the abstract, how those parts fit together in a coherent whole, and what makes some abstracts more effective and compelling than others. Participants will then give each other feedback on abstracts they’ve written in the past or are working on currently, and will have time to revise their abstracts afterward. Along the way, we will discuss general writing topics such as developing a main message, stylistic concerns (sentence structure, passive vs. active voice, etc.), and the dos and don’ts of giving and receiving feedback. This workshop will be most useful to those who have already written an abstract or are in the midst of learning this skill. Participants should bring an abstract to the workshop for critique.
      Fee:  No Fee to attend.  Pre-registration is required. Limit of 15 people.
     Contact: Madeline Fisher, mfischer@sciencesocieties,org



Data Handling and Analysis Tricks They Don’t Teach You in Grad School
Sponsored by Biometry and Statistical Computing Section, C06 Forage and Grazinglands Division, C05 Turfgrass Science Division; Statistical Education/Training for Researchers Community
Sunday, Nov. 15, 1:30 pm-5:00 pm
     This hands-on workshop is intended for graduate students and upper level undergraduate students only. This is a hands-on workshop for which you are expected to bring a laptop. Are you overwhelmed by your data? Are you unclear about the concept of data organization? Are you wondering about efficient data handling procedures? If you are, this workshop is for you. We will teach you basic data handling techniques using common tools such as EXCEl, JMP, and SAS. What you do at the front end of your data analysis project will affect how efficiently you can complete this work.  To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson "Data analysis is a journey, not a destination".
     Fee:  $60 ($75 after Oct. 1)
     Contact: Edzard van Santen,

Mechanical Measurements of Crops and Soils: Principles and Techniques
Monday, Nov. 16, 11:00 am-1:30 pm    
     Characterizing the mechanical response of plant tissues and addressing agricultural problems such as root lodging, stalk lodging, and fruit drop requires accurate measurement of mechanical forces. This workshop will describe engineering best practices for acquiring such measurements and discuss common pitfalls and measurement errors.
     Topics to be covered include:

  1. standard test types (tension, bending, compression, and shear)
  2. standard instrumentation for measuring forces
  3. methods for measuring deformation and strain
  4. common problems encountered in performing mechanical tests and strategies for avoiding these problems.

     Participants will leave the workshop with a much better understanding of how to design, perform, and evaluate mechanical testing techniques and methodologies.
     Fee:  $115 ($135 after Oct. 1)
     Contact: Douglas Cook,

Making a Compelling Science Message
Monday, Nov. 16, 1:30 pm-3:30 pm
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 10:00 am-12:00 pm    

     Have you ever thought: I wish people understood what I did? Or: Why doesn’t everyone value my science? We designed this workshop to help you…and our Societies…develop clear science messages for the public.
In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • define your audiences;
  • create compelling messages for each audience;
  • frame your messages to be audience-relatable; and,
  • generate story ideas that interest journalists.

     This is a hands-on workshop, so bring at least two rough drafts of different messages or communications objectives you want to refine. Roll up your sleeves and work with other scientists and our science communications team to hone your message and work successfully with the public. Bring your computer and be ready to write and edit messages!
     Fee: $20 ($25 after Oct. 1)
     Contact: Susan Fisk,

Women in Science “Breaking the Bias Habit” Workshop/ Reception
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2:00 pm-5:00 pm   

    This year’s workshop, held in conjunction with the Women in Entomology Committee, includes a keynote speaker with an interactive presentation on “Breaking the Bias Habit to Promote Gender Equity.”  This workshop will include interactive exercises to illustrate the existence of unconscious or implicit gender biases, will show how these biases may play out in work settings, and will provide evidence-based strategies that can be used to minimize their impact.  Participants will be asked to complete an “Implicit Association Test” prior to the workshop.
      Fee: $25 ($30 after Oct. 1)
      Student Fee: $10 ($15 after Oct. 1)
     Contact: Susan Chapman,

Marketing for Scientists
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 8:15am – 9:45am
     Dr. Marc Kuchner, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory, is an astrophysicist who never planned on learning about marketing.  In his career, as he applied for grants and tried to help his students get jobs, he noticed that many great scientists, are not so good at delivering a clear message about what they do.  The usual education of a scientist does little to teach about the powerful tools business professionals use to win support for their ideas.
     This workshop will teach you how to put business and marketing tools to use to promote yourself and your work. This workshop aims to introduce scientists to the fundamental techniques from the business world that matter most to them, like sales, branding and relationship building. This workshop will teach scientists how to get their ideas across vividly while maintaining their integrity and building the outstanding reputations they need. Learn more:
     Fee:  $10 ($10 after Oct. 1)

Analysis of Grazing Data II - Regression Techniques
Sponsored by Biometry and Statistical Computing Section, C06 Forage and Grazinglands Division, C05 Turfgrass Science Division; Statistical Education/Training for Researchers Community
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1:00 pm-5:00 pm
     Grazing studies pose some unique problem not found in small-plot or laboratory experiments. Often the animal is the observational unit but the experimental unit is a larger scale. Often these trials are of a repeated nature (multiple observations over time on the same experimental unit) with a quantitative independent variable such as stocking rate.
     This hands-on workshop is a continuation of the 2014 workshop in Long Beach. It is intended for all levels of data analysis proficiency. We will work through examples of linear, intrinsically linear, and non-linear problems using SAS procedures. We will deal with animal as well as plant response variables. because this is a hands-on workshop, participants are expected to come prepared, i.e. a functional laptop with working copies of  SAS and EXCEL installed, and all workshop material downloaded and unpacked.
     Fee:  $60 ($75 after Oct. 1)
     Contact: Edzard van Santen,

Measuring Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Soils: Methodology, Instrumentation, Modeling, Data Stewardship and Analysis
Sponsored by Soil Biology & Biochemistry Division, and Soil & Water Management & Conservation Division
Thursday, Nov. 19, 8:30 am-4:00 pm
     The objective of the workshop is to provide practical training in and to improve participants’ understanding of the principles, minimum requirements, and challenges of measuring greenhouse gas emissions from soils, with a particular emphasis on measuring nitrous oxide using static chamber and open path /micrometeorological methodologies.    
     The goal is to improve the quality of nitrous oxide emissions data being collected around the world since much of our understanding of nitrous oxide emissions, including data upon which national inventories are based, rely on these data.  
    Current issues addressed for both beginners and more experienced scientists will include:

  1. implications of chamber designs and deployment strategies
  2. automated chamber based method
  3. QA/QC of gas chromatography and calibration
  4. assessment of minimum flux detection
  5. accounting for diurnal flux
  6. proper model selection for flux calculation
  7. selection of  proper open path instruments or FTIR
  8. collection of ancillary data to broaden flux interpretations
  9. data repositories for meta-analyses and support of models.

     The workshop will also review previously published guidelines by the GRA (Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases) and assess current issues of concern. Expert speakers will interact with the audience to address unique concerns. An outcome of the workshop will be to improve the nitrous oxide data collected and published by community and society members
     Fee:  $75 ($90 after Oct. 1)

     Contact: Hero Gollany,

Professional Tours

Upper Midwest Organic Agriculture Tour
Saturday, Nov. 14, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
The upper Midwest is a leader in the organic and local food movements, supporting diversified organic production, as well as novel distribution and training models.  This tour will highlight both urban and rural organic farms in the Twin Cities area, producing vegetables and dairy.  Tour stops also include beginning and minority training programs for organic farmers, as well as a distribution center for organic produce.
     For more information contact Erin Silva at
     Fee:  $60 ($70 after Oct. 1)

Division C-5 Turfgrass Tour
Saturday, Nov. 14, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
This year’s Turfgrass Tour will begin with a drive to River Falls, Wisconsin where we will visit the WinField company's Spray Analysis System.  The System includes a wind tunnel and lasers to monitor spray drift and performance and is one of only three such systems in the US. Our next stop takes us to the Toro Company's Center for Advanced Turf Technology where we will tour the facilities and have lunch.  Following lunch, we will travel to Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.  Target Field features an environmentally friendly design that incorporates conservation, sustainability and energy efficiency.  Finally, we'll end up the day downtown with some casual socializing at Brit's Pub and Eating Establishment, which boasts a roof top, bentgrass lawn bowling green (a tour of the green will be weather dependent).
     For more information contact Kelly Kopp,
     Fee:  $40 ($50 after Oct. 1)

Destination Tours

Twin Cities Highlights Tour / Mall of America
Saturday, Nov. 14, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sunday, Nov. 15, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Experience a sampling of what makes the Twin Cities fantastic.
    During the three-hour bus tour, you’ll experience the downtowns of Minneapolis, Saint Paul and surrounding areas. While in Minneapolis we will explore the famous Nicollet Mall, Skyway network, theater district, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Guthrie Theatre, Milwaukee Train Depot, Orchestra Hall, the television home of Mary Tyler Moore, and St. Anthony Falls, the birthplace of Minneapolis. We’ll take a short stop at Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota’s oldest tourist attraction, before exploring Saint Paul, Minnesota’s charming historic capital city. While in Saint Paul we will explore Rice Park, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Landmark Center, Children’s Museum, Mickey’s Diner, The Fitzgerald Theater, Minnesota History Center, and the Minnesota State Capitol, considered the second most beautiful capitol building in the United States, after Utah. We will see the magnificent Cathedral of Saint Paul, the fourth largest cathedral in the United States with seating for 3,000 people. We will drive along Summit Avenue, one of the longest stretches of virtually uninterrupted Victorian architecture in the United States.
     Following our city tour, you will have the option of returning to the Minneapolis Convention Center or being dropped off at the renowned Mall of America for up to three hours of shopping time. Designed as a city within a city, the nation’s premier shopping and entertainment destination has over 4.2 million square feet of space and 4.3 miles of storefront footage, making Mall of America a must-see attraction. Mall of America consists of four “avenues” placed in a square around the centerpiece, Nickelodeon Universe.  The bus will return to the mall at 2:30 pm & 3:30 pm to transport you back to the Minneapolis Convention Center.
     Fee:  $36 ($46 after Oct. 1)

Bell Museum of Natural History
Curator Tours of the Diorama Hall and Peregrine Falcon Exhibit

Monday, Nov. 16, 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
     Delve into the Bell Museum’s iconic dioramas from the perspective of a museum curator. One of our resident experts will help you engage with the art, history, and science that make the diorama displays an inimitable resource for environmental learning against the backdrop of sweeping global and local changes to climate, habitats, ecosystems, and wildlife populations. From a busy lodge of taxidermy beavers to a prairie molded in delicate hand-painted wax—your Bell Museum curator will lead the discussion into how and why dioramas were made, how they are maintained and preserved, and what they can tell us about the history and future of Minnesota’s natural world.
     In addition to touring the acclaimed dioramas, you’ll also tour a brand-new exhibit for the fall of 2015 featuring the Peregrine Falcon. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota has been working to reintroduce the peregrine falcon into Minnesota.
     Fee: $40 ($50 after Oct. 1)

St. Paul’s Notorious Past
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

     Baby Face Nelson...Machine Gun Kelly...Kid Caan...Ma Barker...those are the names Americans were familiar with during prohibition. Alvin “Creepy” Karpis once said, “if you were looking for a guy you had not seen in a few months, you usually thought of two places: Prison or St. Paul.”  This was an era when things were not always what they seemed...St. Paul was more than a quiet, picturesque river town! We will drive by the place where one local gangster blew up a rival, see where Dillinger had a shoot-out with St. Paul police and pass the former most-exclusive speakeasy in the area!
     This city tour with a unique twist will include a stop along the route at the Landmark Center, the site of famous gangster trials J. Edgar Hoover personally escorted public enemy #1, Al Karpis, through the doors for his trial.  We’ll also stop at the Wabasha Street Caves. The “Caves” were dug in the early 1800s out of a layer of rock known as St. Peter Sandstone. In the 1800s, a mushroom-growing business was established in the Caves, then a nightclub and restaurant was opened in the 1930s; if you listen carefully, you can still hear bands such as the Dorsey Brothers and Cab Calloway playing in the stage area with the adjoining dance floor. In addition to these two areas, there is also a fireplace area with bullet holes from the 1930’s gangsters in the mantle to remind us of a rowdier era. St. Paul served as a cooling-off area for gangsters, and you’ll even see a “Gangster Gallery” to show off some of the Caves’ more notorious past visitors.
     Additionally while in St. Paul, our guide will provide commentary on Rice Park, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Children’s Museum, Mickey’s Diner, and The Fitzgerald Theater, home to Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion.
     Fee: $44 ($54 after Oct. 1)

Behind the Scenes: Aveda – connecting beauty, environment and well-being
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm

Based in Minneapolis, AVEDA, known around the world as offering the finest in Organic and natural health and beauty products, was founded in 1978 by hairdresser, Horst Rechelbacher whose philosophy was to produce products harvested with respect for the earth, in harmony with the web of life.

This tour will take you to the AVEDA Institute for an enlightening visit to see firsthand the famous facility.  You will be guided through and learn about the chemistry behind the world renowned products.

The visit will include a special service, a gift of AVEDA products and an opportunity to shop the Aveda store with purchases at a discount. After the tour, guests will enjoy lunch at the Common Roots Café, featuring hand-crafted food made with the local ingredients from local farmers raising animals for meat and dairy in a sustainable way, and growing grain organically.   
     Fee: $55 ($65 after Oct. 1)  Includes lunch.