USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 21-27 by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation.
Earth Team is the agency’s volunteer workforce of more than 19,000 people who donated 305,564 hours of service last year to NRCS. That’s worth $6.7 million in wages, based upon independent guidelines to determine the value of volunteers’ time.
Karen Brinkman, acting state conservationist, said 999 Earth Team volunteers donated 10,200 hours in Missouri last year to assist NRCS.
“That’s worth more than $222,000 of benefit to our customers and the taxpayers,” Brinkman said. “We are grateful for the help because there is so much conservation work that needs to be done.”
NRCS’ Earth Team program partners volunteers with NRCS employees. It was created in 1985 and offers many opportunities to individuals at least 14 years old who are interested in volunteering to improve the nation’s natural resources. Earth Team volunteers help NRCS conservationists provide private landowners and others a range of services from conservation technical assistance to teaching and generating awareness about conservation through the use of community projects.
“Earth Team volunteers allow us to stretch available resources, which helps us assist landowners in putting additional conservation practices on the ground,” Brinkman said. “Their volunteer efforts help us improve the environment for everyone.”
Brinkman said she hopes National Volunteer Week will motivate others to volunteer to help NRCS with its conservation mission.
“Earth Team volunteers work closely with Missouri’s NRCS employees, and they play an important role in our state’s conservation work,” she says. “We all benefit, including the volunteers, many of whom tell us that they find their volunteer work enjoyable and personally very rewarding.”
Learn more about the Earth Team Volunteer Program online at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/people/volunteers or by calling 888-526-3227. For more information about NRCS visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.