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NRCS Recognizes Earth Team for Volunteer Work

NRCS Recognizes Earth Team for Volunteer Work

By Gayle Weber
Hays Daily News

As part of National Volunteer Week, running today through Saturday, area volunteers have been recognized for their dedication to Natural Resources Conservation Service offices.

Those volunteers, members of the Earth Team, spent time organizing events and contacting local, regional and national agriculture officials in order to benefit their local NRCS office.

"It gives the opportunity for organizations to utilize volunteer labor to achieve their goals," said Teresa Webb, program assistant at Solomon Valley Resource Conservation and Development, Stockton.

The Solomon Valley RC&D was honored for putting in 1,316 hours last year preserving stone buildings, maintaining playgrounds and setting up informational meetings for the local agriculture agencies.

"It's an excellent way for people to help groups that help the environment," Webb said.

The Kansas Black Farmers' Association of Graham County also received an Earth Team award for hosting a two-day seminar last July on tef grain, native to Ethiopia. The event brought together leaders from all levels of agriculture including representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We want to bring recognition to the USDA and get people to recognize that there are resources there that we are not using," said Edgar Hicks, president of KBFA.

Hicks said about 15 volunteers put in time organizing the event and contacting government officials and local farmers.

Hicks said the time he volunteered in putting together the seminar was just something natural for him to do.

"When you volunteer for something, you eat and sleep it 24 hours a day," Hicks said. He said the success of last year's event is something to build on for this year, though the KBFA has not made any plans for another seminar yet.

Local honorees for Earth Team awards:

  • Kansas Black Farmers' Association, Graham County
  • Steve Wingerson, Smith Center NRCS
  • Solomon Valley RC&D, Stockton
  • Logan County Conservation District
  • Jan Klaus, Hays, volunteer coordinator
  • St. Francis Field Office, St. Francis

Reporter Gayle Weber can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 139, or by e-mail at

Published 4-15-07. Used with permission from the Hays Daily News.