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Earth Team Volunteer Program Newsletter - Illinois

Earth Team Volunteer Program Newsletter - Illinois

February, 2008


John Pike Farm Hosts Pond Management Demonstration in Williamson County

Tony Korando, DC, Marion giving Presentation.The Williamson County SWCD participated in a pond management demonstration at the John Pike Farm in rural Marion on 9/11/07. Approximately 150 people attended this event. During the demonstration, pond owners were educated on stocking fish, proper ways to manage weeds, pond construction, and various assisting program guidelines. After two separate tours were conducted, dinner was prepared and served by Fountain Bluff Fish Farm of Gorham. A total of 10 volunteers took part in this event from the following agencies:

  • Williamson County SWCD (2)
  • USDA/NRCS (1)
  • University of Illinois Cooperative Extension (4)
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources (1)
  • Fountain Bluff Fish Farm (2)

Photo Caption: Tony Korando, DC, Marion giving Presentation.

Informational brochures and booklets were distributed as attendees actively participated in Q and A sessions, making this a very successful event.

Group listening to presentation on Ponds

Caption: Group listening to presentation on Ponds

Submitted by Jodi Hawkins, AC, Williamson County SWCD


The Earth Team Volunteers, Emily Zmek and Megan Gannaway, played a key role in the accomplishments of helping to get conservation applied in the New Lenox Field Office during the summer of 2007. The responsibility of each volunteer was to work together with all the office staff and become acquainted with their job responsibilities, learn about the resource information in the office and assist with conservation planning, surveys and design of practices used in the field. The field office staff of Kim Mitchell, SWCD Administrative Coordinator, Nick Fritch, Soil Conservationist and Bob Jankowski, District Conservationist took on the responsibility of providing guidance for each phase.

This past year provided an exceptional opportunity for exposing our volunteers to the extensive information in the office. Kim worked with Emily and Megan in establishing a library in the office where all reference material has been organized and inventoried for public use. The volunteers helped organize the office library in a manner that allows information to be more easily found when needed.

The often mundane task of repeated filing benefited the volunteers when customers came in the door and asked for aerial, soil and wetland information. Nick Fritch, was responsible for training Emily to survey and design conservation practices. Emily reduced the survey notes and plotted them which enhanced the design process. The results were a quicker turn around time for practice implementation. Nick provided Megan and Emily with training on Arc Map and the task of completing reconstitutions to prepare them for mailing to producers was shortened considerably.

Bob Jankowski, was responsible for exposing the volunteers to partners/committees that are regarded as critical to conservation application. The volunteers were exposed to the LESA Committee, Resource Work Committee, Watershed Planning Committees, visited the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and Village officials.

The accomplishments by the SWCD and NRCS could not have been achieved to the extent realized without their help.

Submitted by: Allison Anthe

Photo of people standing in a wooded areaHamilton County Forest Land Management Tour

On September 15, 2007 the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District hosted a Forest Management Tour. Twenty-six people attended the tour. The tour participants loaded buses and were shuttled to various forested sites in the county. Guest speakers for the day presented topics on pruning and thinning in established tree plantings; evaluating marketable logs; a timber stand improvement demonstration; conducting a managed timber sale; forest management plans –what are they and why are they important; current / upcoming funding programs (FDA, EQIP, CRP) available to landowners. Guest Speakers for the day included: David Johnson - IDNR District Forester, Joe Newcomb – Consulting Forester,

David Johnson giving a presentation at a local sawmill.



Photo Caption:
David Johnson, IDNR District Forester
giving a presentation at a local sawmill
on evaluating marketable logs

People watching a demonstration on pruning and thinning.

Photo Caption:
Chris Mitchell, Hamilton Co. SWCD
demonstrating pruning and thinning
in an established tree planting.






7th Annual Heartland Black College

Photo of NRCSers giving a presentation to students.The 7th annual Heartland College Expo experience something this year that the two previous expo’s did not and that is an absent of snow and ice, maybe moving it from February to November played an important role. The Natural Resources Conservation Service and The Shawnee Resource Conservation and Development Area Council were instrumental in the success of the expo. 600 plus Students attend the expo from the states of Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, and for the first time Indiana.

             Photo of students seated in a large conference area.

High School Guidance counselors, Gear Up Program Directors, Upper Bounds counselors, Illinois Education Associates and other education organizations were very excited about the participation taken place at this expo. Students got a chance to talk with the following colleges and universities: Lemoyne-Owen College, Chicago State, University of Illinois, SIUC, Southern University – A&M, Kentucky State, and SIUE.

Photo of students seated in a large conference area.There were also booths set up by some of the sponsors: Natural Resources Conservation Service, Walgreen’s Distribution Center, Pepsi Mid-America, Illinois Education Associate, and State Farm Cooperation to inspire future employees.

Lunch and dinner was provided to everyone who attended the banquet on Friday and the expo on Saturday. The same volunteers have work each year of the event. This year they were presented with awards provided by The Natural Resources Conservation Service.




FY 07 Earth Team Accomplishments

Offices with the highest numbers of volunteers:

  1. Shelbyville...... 976
  2. Pontiac........... 222
  3. Freeport......... 199
  4. Princeton........ 180
  5. Two Rivers....... 63
  6. Mt. Vernon....... 49

Offices with the most volunteer hours:

  1. Normal......... 2136
  2. Princeton...... 1903
  3. Milan............ 1272
  4. Freeport....... 1228
  5. Ottawa......... 1081
  6. Interstate..... 1042

Volunteer in the State with most hours:

Emily Zmek – New Lenox F.O.

Thanks so much for all your efforts in making the volunteer program in Illinois work. The cost per hour for a volunteer is 18.77 right now.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).