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News Release

Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week, April 6-13, 2014

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 6-13, 2014, by honoring Earth Team volunteers for their dedicated service and commitment to conservation. The Earth Team is NRCS’ volunteer workforce, and nationally, in 2013, more than 22,000 people donated 330,084 hours of service to NRCS worth approximately $7.3 million.

NRCS State Conservationist, Eric Banks, said Earth Team volunteers are making an environmental impact in Kansas. Last year, 2,582 volunteers donated 19,190 hours in Kansas.

“That’s worth $418,150 of benefit to our customers and savings to the taxpayers,” said Banks. “These are impressive numbers and we are grateful for the help, but also recognize that more conservation work needs to be done.”

Created in 1985, the Earth Team program offers many opportunities to individuals over the age of 14 interested in helping improve the Nation’s natural resources. Earth Team volunteers help NRCS conservationists offer private landowners and others a range of services, from conservation technical assistance to teaching and generating awareness about conservation through the use of educational programs.

“The NRCS theme for this year, Earth Team Volunteers Making a Better Tomorrow Today, really does state it best,” said Banks. “We couldn’t do our job without them. Earth Team volunteers allow us to stretch available resources and help us put additional conservation practices on the ground. Their volunteer efforts help us improve our land and wildlife habitats, clean our water and air, and help us improve the environment for everyone.”

Eric said he hopes National Volunteer Week will motivate others to volunteer to help NRCS with our conservation mission. “Earth Team volunteers work closely with our staff and they play an important role in our state’s conservation work. They take on a variety of conservation assignments and many Earth Team volunteers tell us they find their volunteer work enjoyable and personally very rewarding.”

To learn more about the Earth Team Volunteer Program, go to: www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/people/volunteers or by calling (toll-free) 888-526-3227. In Kansas contact Jan Klaus, State Volunteer Coordinator at jan.klaus@ks.usda.gov.

For more information on NRCS visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.

*Note: The Value of Volunteer Time to the Agency is $21.36 per hour as established by the Independent Sector and utilized by the Federal Interagency Team for Volunteerism. The $314 million figure uses 2010 dollars.