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Earth Team Coordinators' Meeting | April 2012

Quarterly Earth Team Volunteer Coordinators' Meeting Minutes - April 11, 2012

The Earth Team (ET) Volunteer Coordinators’ meeting was held at the Salina State Office (SO) Conference Center on April 11, 2012.

Attendees were as follows:

  • Jan Klaus, State ET Coordinator
  • Area Volunteer Coordinators
    • Toni Flax (Area 1)
    • Jamie Johnson (Area 2)
    • Jeff Schmidt (Area 3)
    • Alex Miller (Area 4)
    • Tracey Martin (SO & Plant Materials Center [PMC])

The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.

Jan welcomed the area coordinators and presented the ET area volunteer coordinators with a keepsake as a thank-you and in recognition for National Volunteer Week.

Action Items Completed:

  • Discussed that ET trivia will be sent out monthly covering a different topic
  • Minutes from the January 11, 2012, meeting were reviewed and approved

State ET Coordinator Report—Jan Klaus

  • Held conference call on 1/18/12 and 1/24/12 with Michele Eginoire to discuss concerns raised by new state administrative officer (SAO)
  • Participated in a National Teleconference on 1/26/12 regarding “What Tasks Can Our ET Volunteers Perform?”
  • Held a teleconference with area coordinators on 2/9/12 to discuss communications with the state conservationist (STC) and the SAO regarding what tasks our ET volunteers can perform
  • Participated in a Thematic Teleconference/VTC on 2/23/12 with the National ET office regarding the Needs Assessment (NA) and “What Tasks Can Our ET Volunteers Perform?”
  • Held a teleconference with area coordinators on 2/23/12 to discuss how to proceed with the NA process in Kansas
  • Presented the new information on “What Tasks Can Our ET Volunteers Perform?” to all NRCS and partner employees during the all-employees meeting on 3/6/12
  • Participated in a National ET Teleconference on “Common Errors Associated with the Tracking System”
  • Participated in a Thematic Teleconference on 4/5/12 on National Volunteer Week and presented our plans for National Volunteer Week
  • Reviewed minutes submitted by Alex Miller and submitted the information to Diane Edwards for posting to the Kansas Web site
  • Developed a new Kansas business plan and sent out to area coordinators for suggestions and input
  • Assisted Mary Shaffer and Sheila Forrester with News Releases for National Volunteer Week and for the state and national award winners
  • Prepared the Kansas Bulletin for National Volunteer Week; received assistance from Jamie Johnson, Tracey Martin and Susan Picking with putting together additional resources for field offices (FOs) to use during National Volunteer Week
  • Submitted information to Mary Shaffer and assisted in rewriting the award nominations to get them posted to the Kansas Web site
  • Submitted information to Debbie Newton to get the new NA worksheet and PowerPoint posted to the Kansas Web site
  • Reviewed volunteer files in the Scott City, Leoti, and Tribune FOs during a Management and Administrative Review
  • Submitted three articles to the Earth Team Connection as follows:
    • “What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?” featuring Toni Flax
    • “Embrace Your Earth Team Role”
    • “Wounded Warrior Volunteers in Kansas Field Office"
  • Prepared 1st quarter status reports for each area and sent them to Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations (ASTC-FOs) and STC for their information
  • Provided guidance to area coordinators on an on-going basis

Area Coordinator Reports

Area 1—Toni Flax
  • February
    • 9th—ET Coordinators’ teleconference
    • Sent emails to FOs about tasks an ET volunteer can do and frequently asked questions
    • 23rd—National Thematic Teleconference and Kansas ET Coordinator Teleconference and prep with Jan for all-employee meeting
  • March
    • 6th—Jan and I presented the new information on “What Tasks Can Our ET Volunteers Perform?” at the NRCS and partners all-employee meeting
    • 15th—Sent email reminder to get 2nd quarter hours in tracking system
    • 16th—Sent email to supervisory district conservationist (SDCs) about getting a time on their agenda for NA
    • 19th—Sent out an email about National Volunteer Week and keepsake availability; several people responded with keepsake requests
    • 20th—Thematic Teleconference
    • 21st—Osborne Management Unit (MU) staff meeting to do NA—went very well
    • 29th—Assisted Hoxie MU with entering hours and showed the district manager and the SDC how to enter hours
    • Assisted with several questions on entering hours into the tracking system throughout the month
    • Reviewed business plan
  • April
    • 5th—Thematic Teleconference
    • 7th—Prep coordinator’s report and email to FOs about National Volunteer Week
Area 2—Jamie Johnson
  • Checked and corrected the ET tracking system for volunteer activities which were inadvertently captured under “No Activity”
  • Checked ET tracking system for duplicate entries
  • Participated in Thematic Training by the National Office on “What Tasks Can Our ET Volunteers Perform?” and followed up with a Kansas Coordinator Teleconference
  • Acquired additional apprentice in Area 2, located in Liberal FO
  • Emailed guidance to all offices on what volunteer hours can be captured and required each MU to report back when the guidance was reviewed
  • Emailed all offices to remind them to enter hours into the database prior to end of the 2nd quarter
  • Reviewed and commented on draft form of the new fiscal year (FY) 2012 business plan
  • Provided guidance to various FOs in regards to eligible volunteer hours.
  • Participated in quarterly national ET Teleconference
  • Participated in Thematic Teleconference on ideas for National Volunteer Week
  • Assisted with the development of the National Volunteer Week artwork included in cover, certificate and thank-you card
  • Assisted Edwards County with acquiring a security awareness test
  • Worked with Dodge City MU in completing a NA during their MU Meeting
  • Reviewed guidance with Pratt MU on what volunteer hours can be counted
  • Emailed all offices a copy of the Kansas-developed National Volunteer Week packet
  • As requested, sent Jess Crockford a current report of office utilization of volunteers for Performance Work Plan
  • Provided information to Jan regarding gender/ethnicity on present and past apprentices
Area 3—Jeff Schmidt
  • Participated in the quarterly Teleconference; participated in two thematic meetings, February 23 and March 20, 2012, that were provided by the National Office; I also participated in the Kansas ET coordinator teleconference
  • I plan to meet with the Iola MU after the new SDC is in place, to review folders and reporting procedures
  • I emailed all offices to remind them to enter hours into the database prior to the end of the second quarter
  • I emailed all offices a copy of the Kansas-developed National Volunteer Week packet
  • I have given half of my ET awards to the area office (AO) since I didn’t have room for storage and the AO was without anything that said ET
  • March 19, I visited with Clifford Thornton, ASTC-FO, about who can supervise a volunteer and whether a family member could be a volunteer. I quoted General Manual (GM), Title 360, Section 428.23 to find the correct information
  • April 4, I assisted Council Grove and Emporia FOs to input volunteer hours since both have lost their timekeepers; Winfield is the only office in the area without reporting hours; they have them, but the timekeeper is sick and the DC is in the process of training three new employees
  • May 8, I have a DC meeting in Emporia and I have been given 15-20 minutes on the agenda to discuss ET issues
Area 4—Alex Miller
  • Tom Roth of the Manhattan FO recognized Alex Barrons for volunteering/shadowing; they also wrote up a nice article
  • Sat in on two thematic meetings put on by the National ET
  • Mailed 2 blankets to Minneapolis FO for their volunteers
  • Responded to email questions about recordable ET hours
  • Coordinated with Manhattan FO on a potential ET volunteer
  • Completed NA with Westmoreland FO
  • Sent out email to the area with Celebrate Earth Week packet
State Office—Tracey Martin
  • Participated in National Office training on “What Tasks Can Our ET Volunteers Perform?”
  • Participated in Kansas coordinator teleconferences
  • Reviewed and submitted recommended changes to document entitled “What Tasks Can Our ET Volunteers Perform?”
  • Reviewed FY 2012 business plan
  • Made changes to Kansas volunteer timesheets
  • Scheduled volunteers to assist with SO personnel
  • Assisted with development of National Volunteer Week poster
  • Sent email asking for volunteer hours to be reported in the tracking system
  • Responded to Jan’s request regarding gender/ethnicity of apprentices
  • Reviewed volunteer tracking system for duplicate entries and other errors
  • Created National Volunteer Week invitation
  • Sent out email regarding National Volunteer Week

Earth Team 2nd Quarter Report

  • Area 1—416 volunteers, 2482.25 hours
  • Area 2—213 volunteers, 1613 hours
  • Area 3—164 volunteers, 1499.5 hours
  • Area 4—265 volunteers, 1497.5 hours
  • SO/PMC—42 volunteers, 259 hours
  • Statewide office participation—94/102 Offices (92.2 percent)

Apprentice Program Report by Area

  • Area 1—none
  • Area 2—2 apprentices
  • Area 3—1 apprentice
  • Area 4—none
  • State Office/PMC—1 apprentice

Volunteer Tracking System

  • Further discussed future enhancements to improve the tracking system and submitted them to the National Office
  • New PowerPoint – “Common Errors Associated with the ET Volunteer Tracking System” is available and is a great tool for training

Needs Assessment

  • National Office has developed a new NA form—same function, just updated
  • National Office has developed a short video on filling out a NA and the video is available to order or it can be accessed on the National ET SharePoint; the video and form are a great starting point for identifying volunteer tasks
  • Toni Flax reviewed with the coordinators her experience with the Osborne FO and how during the MU meeting they compiled information and filled out a NA identifying volunteer tasks

Old PER-004 Form (National Timesheet)

  • National Office developed a new timesheet at the request of many states
  • Kansas will continue to utilize the KS-PER-46 (individual) and KS-PER-47 (group)

Business Plan FY 2012

  • Reviewed and updated the FY 2012 business plan

Volunteer Referral Process

  • On the National ET Web site, there is a link to “Get Involved” and a volunteer application is taken and then routed to the appropriate State Volunteer Coordinator. The volunteer referral process allows the National Office to receive feedback on the placement of that individual volunteer. This system allows the National Office to track all volunteer requests that come through their office. Each state coordinator will report back to the National Office once contact with the volunteer has been made. The volunteers are only placed into the volunteer tracking system once they start contributing hours.

National Volunteer Week

  • National Volunteer Week was April 15–21, 2012, and the theme was “Celebrating Earth Team Volunteers in Action”
  • Chief White developed two videos on volunteers that were available during Volunteer Week; Kansas created a link to his videos on the Kansas NRCS Web site
  • Kansas developed its own artwork supporting the national theme
  • Provide National Volunteer Week celebration stories to the National ET office

New Action Items

  • Provide National Volunteer Week celebration stories to the National ET office
  • Review quarterly reports for errors in the tracking system
  • Jan will review the ET Tracking system groups’ page and archive all the one time groups for the past years
  • A NA will be completed for two MUs per area; provide feedback to Jan by June 1, 2012, with information pertaining to the functionality and volunteer tasks identified from the NA

Old Business

  • Status of the Kansas amendment to GM, Title 360, Part 428 hasn’t been approved by the National Headquarters yet; Jan will follow up to check on the status
  • Kansas guidance on “What Tasks Can Our ET Volunteers Perform?” has been reviewed with all FOs either through MU meetings or area meetings; a final review is being completed and then will be routed to all offices

New Business

  • Volunteer Value from the Independent Sector for FY 2012 is $21.79
  • In reference to the executive order promoting efficient spending and the impact on purchasing recognition items for volunteers, it has been determined that the purchase of recognition items for volunteers is still acceptable

Our next meeting will be held on July 11, 2012, in the Salina SO conference room beginning at 10 a.m.

Meeting adjourned at 3 p.m.