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News Release

Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

Shelly Grimmius

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 6-13, by thanking and honoring the agency’s Earth Team volunteer workforce for their service to conservation.

In FY 2013, Iowa’s 773 Earth Team volunteers completed nearly 10,500 hours of service, valued at $230,000. Iowa NRCS received the acclaimed “Chief’s Cup”, the top national volunteer service award given to a state, in FY 2011.

“Volunteers work closely with our staff, and they play an important role in our state’s conservation work,” said Jay Mar, Iowa State Conservationist.  “We are grateful for the help, but we also recognize much more conservation work needs to be done,” Mar said.

On the national level, more than 22,000 people donated 330,084 hours of service to NRCS through Earth Team in FY 2013. This time is valued at approximately $7.3 million.

Earth Team is a program that partners volunteers with NRCS employees. It was created in 1985 and offers many opportunities to individuals 14 and older 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 community projects.

Earth Team Volunteers allow NRCS to stretch available resources and help put additional conservation practices on the ground. Volunteer efforts help improve land and wildlife habitat and contribute to cleaner water and air for everyone.

Learn more about the Earth Team Volunteer Program online at: by calling 888-526-3227. For more information on NRCS visit


*Note: The Value of Volunteer Time to the Agency is $21.79/hour as established by the Independent Sector and utilized by the Federal Interagency Team for Volunteerism.