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News Release

Madison County Earth Team Receives National Award

AUBURN, Ala., Feb. 12, 2014 –

2014 Madison County ET Award

NACD/NRCS National Earth Team Award–Madison County: (l-r) Greg Dansby, NRCS; Madison Co. SWCD Kathy Walke; Volunteer Inez Whiddon; Madison County SWCD Supervisors Roger Jones and Charles Butler; Steve Cauthen, SWCC; and  Dr. William Puckett, NRCS.

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) honored leaders in conservation during a special ceremony at the 2014 NACD Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California. The NACD/Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Earth Team Award was presented to the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) of Huntsville, Alabama. The district was recognized for the excellence and dedication of their Earth Team Volunteers (ETVs) who donated countless hours to helping NRCS and the conservation district.

“We have had a wonderful year in Madison County with a wide range of projects and programs for our Earth Team Volunteers to participate in,” said Kathy Walker, District Administrative Coordinator.” We also appreciate our great partners that always help make us SHINE!”

ETVs make significant contributions to the conservation of our natural resources. They work side-by-side with the district on conservation education projects and workshops. Some of the ETVs say they learn as much as the people that they are assisting. In addition, they receive fulfillment and satisfaction from helping others. Some of the high school and grade school programs that ETVs assisted with this year include:

• AP Classes in Point and Non-Point” sources of pollution.
• Dr. Seuss Birthday celebration for “Read Across America” in partnership with the local Sheriff’s office.
• River Works Discovery Program where students learn how culture, commerce and conservation keep boats and barges moving through river systems to deliver farmer-grown items.
• Outdoor Classroom assistance to address erosion problems in a pavilion area.
• Preparing students for 2013 Envirothon.
• “Soil to Spoon” Poster and Essay Contests – Students participated in a drawing and essay contest at two schools where ETVs helped choose winners.
• Earth Day Celebration “Soil Baby Contest” - Classrooms adopted soil babies and named and tracked the ‘baby’s” growth in a journal. After three weeks, ETVs judged the contest and awarded prizes to the winning classrooms.

Other projects that required considerable ETVs and partner participation include:

• Rain Barrel Workshop – Fifty participants made a rain barrel with components for a roof’s drain.
• Annual Teacher Workshop – Twenty-eight teachers from grades K-12 attended a 40 hour continuing education workshop that included presentations by farmers and environmental experts, and field trips.
• Flint River Clean-Up – Twice a year about
30 volunteers work to keep the river and its banks clean.

“We are fortunate to have people who take their volunteering seriously and want to be available every time that they can,” said Anthony Hudson, NRCS District Conservationist for the Huntsville Field Office. “Our Earth Team Volunteer program has grown over the years because our volunteers tell others how much they enjoy what they do, and others want to join in and have fun also!”

Partners are also important to the success of the projects. Local partners that are always ready to assist include the Alabama Mountain, Rivers and Valleys RC&D Council, Madison County Farmers Federation, Alabama Farm Credit, Madison County Commissioners, City of Huntsville, Solid Waste Disposal Authority/Covanta, and JR Enterprises.

“We are proud of the achievements of our Earth Team Volunteers and the Madison County staff,” said Alabama NRCS State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett. “Our Earth Team Volunteers have made significant contributions to the conservation of our natural resources.”

elvis soil baby Madison County lincoln soil baby
Elvis Soil Baby - Grass seed grows from soil baby “head” to show how good soil makes seeds grow. Abe Lincoln Soil Baby