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Earth Team Volunteers Provide Valuable Assistance

By: Bonnie Allely, National Volunteer LiaisonNational Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week is April 21-27, and the agency takes pleasure in saying “Thank You” to NRCS employees who work with volunteers, volunteer coordinators who do this as a collateral duty, and our Earth Team volunteers. In fiscal year 2012, over 19,000 Earth Team volunteers nationally donated more than 305,000 hours to conservation.

When landowners have resource problems, they turn to NRCS and our conservation partners for help. When we at NRCS need additional help we often turn to Earth Team volunteers for assistance. Volunteers make us a more productive and effective agency, ultimately getting more conservation on the ground.

Are you capturing the hours when volunteers assist your office? The Earth Team program, created in 1985, offers all types of opportunities to anyone over the age of 14 who is interested in volunteering and making a positive difference for the nation’s natural resources.

Some examples of everyday people helping us are when a landowner assists with layout of a conservation practice:

  • Friend or family member helps with developing a fact sheet or spreadsheet.
  • Committee of local individuals help plan and carry out a conservation field tour.
  • Student from the local high school or college is needing experience and they work in the office.
  • NRCS retiree continues to work to complete a project after retirement.

These are all examples of Earth Team volunteers!

During National Volunteer Week check out the national NRCS Earth Team Webpage (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/people/volunteers/) where the 2013 National Individual and Group Volunteer winners will be featured and watch for stories on the USDA blog.

The National Earth Team Office will be sending out emails all during that week highlighting the 2013 NRCS Employee and Volunteer Coordinator Earth Team Award winners and posting them to the National Earth Team Share Point site at: https://nrcs.sc.egov.usda.gov/chief/lpad/et/default.aspx.

The FY 2013 national Earth Team goal is 100% office participation – we need your help in capturing the contributions Earth Team volunteers are making in your office. During National Volunteer Week take a moment to thank those volunteers, your volunteer coordinators and staff.

If you need assistance with the Earth Team contact your state volunteer coordinator or email Michele Brown, National Volunteer Coordinator at michele.brown@ia.usda.gov or Bonnie Allely, National Volunteer Liaison at bonnie.allely@ia.usda.gov.

Working together we can make a difference!