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Earth Team Coordinators' Meeting | July 2012

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

The Earth Team (ET) volunteer coordinators’ meeting was held at the Salina State Office (SO) Conference Center on July 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.

Action Items Completed

  • Minutes from the April 11, 2012, meeting were reviewed and approved
  • Jamie redid the “Common Errors in the Tracking System” PowerPoint to fit area coordinators’ needs better and will send it out to everyone
  • The timesheet form that Tracey worked on is waiting to be posted
  • Jan sent in ET volunteer week celebration stories to national office
  • Reports were reviewed and groups archived
  • Discussed minutes of the two thematic trainings and the 3rd quarter national ET teleconference
  • The background check form is on the website; we need to be sure that a copy of the form signed by the management team gets filed in the volunteer’s file folder

State ET Coordinator Report—Jan Klaus

  • Participated in the thematic training call on volunteer tracking reports
  • Presented award with Eric Banks, State Conservationist (STC), to Central Prairie RC&D in Great Bend
  • Provided training to the district manager in Scott City on the ET volunteer program
  • Provided training to the district manager in Tribune and Leoti on the ET volunteer program
  • Participated in a coordinator phone call with Bonnie Allely from the national ET office
  • Participated in the thematic training call on volunteer recruitment
  • Worked with Tracey and Diane Edwards from the SO on creating a new form for requesting a background check
  • Worked with Tracey on creating a monthly timesheet for use in Kansas
  • Sent in final revisions for the Kansas Amendment to the General Manual under Title 360, Section 428
  • Revised the “Question and Answers” and “What Tasks Can Volunteers Perform” forms (located on the website) and submitted to Diane Edwards for revised posting to the Kansas website under the ET section
  • Pulled the 3rd quarter reports for each area and the totals for the state; reports will be emailed to the STC and Assistant State Conservationists (ASTCs)
  • Provided guidance to the area coordinators on an as needed basis

Area Coordinator Reports

Area 1—Toni Flax

  • Set up checklist for what I need to do at each field office (FO)
  • Sent email reminding everyone about midyear national report being pulled and counting hours in 15 minute increments
  • Answered tracking system questions for the district conservationist (DC) in Smith Center
  • Responded to email from Jan requesting the Needs Assessment I did at the Osborne Management Unit (MU) staff meeting
  • ET training for the new district manager in Rawlins County and DC in Cheyenne County—I also need file audits for both counties; we also reviewed the “What Task Volunteers Can Perform” handout
  • Emailed background check information to all employees and partners
  • Presented the “Common Errors in the Tracking System” PowerPoint, the Needs Assessment Video and completed a needs assessment at the Leoti, Atwood, and Sharon Springs MU staff meetings; did files review for Tribune, Scott City, Gove and Oakley FOs
  • Listened in on the national quarterly teleconference

Area 2—Jamie Johnson

  • Sent an email to the two FOs in my area with zero hours encouraging them to capture volunteer hours and followed up with a phone call to these offices—they are in the process of entering hours
  • Gave a presentation at DC meeting covering ET Volunteer Tracking System
  • Checked and corrected the ET tracking system for volunteer activities which were inadvertently captured under “No Activity”
  • Checked ET tracking system for duplicate entries
  • Assisted the Hutchinson Area Office (AO) with entering of ET hours
  • Emailed all DCs and District Managers information regarding proper protocol in requesting a background check for volunteers
  • Assisted the Hugoton MU with background check information
  • Reviewed ET folders in Stafford County and Kiowa County
  • Assisted the South Hutchinson FO with volunteer questions
  • Emailed all offices to remind them to enter hours into the database prior to end of the 3rd quarter
  • Provided guidance to various FOs in regards to eligible volunteer hours
  • Participated in quarterly national ET teleconference
  • Sent a 3rd quarter ET report to the AO for their information

Area 3 – Jeff Schmidt

  • I sent pictures of the keepsake items that I have in my office to the FOs
  • Ron Rader, DC from Howard, presented ET handouts and ink pen/highlighters to guests at a DC meeting on May 8, 2012; I was originally scheduled as a presenter but unable to attend
  • I’m presently working with an ET volunteer, Nelson Orr; he is a retired Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil conservation technician from Independence, Kansas, who stops in the office about every month to see if I need any help; he’s done several checkouts for me and I plan to take pictures and write an article about him for statewide distribution
  • I have helped many offices with normal assistance as far as inputting volunteer hours; passwords and correct activity codes were being used
  • In Wilson and Woodson County, we are pulling all of the highly erodible lands (HEL) determinations out of the farm folders and filing them by section-township-range to make it easier to find the original determination with so much land having ownership changes; I have a volunteer placing them in individual folders
  • Amber Johnson, technician from Fredonia, has transferred to Eureka; I’m currently the only person in our office with the recent resignation of our district manager, but we hope to hire someone by August 1, 2012
  • I have plans to meet with the Emporia, Iola, and Independence MUs to review volunteer folders and their needs assessment
  • I have permission from the building owner in Fredonia to install a butterfly garden on his property; I have a meeting set up with volunteers on August 22, 2012, to seek assistance

Area 4 – Alex Miller

  • Performed maintenance in volunteer tracker and reminded Lyndon FO to enter in hours
  • Tried to make connection with Topeka FO for needs assessment but we were unable to get together
  • Fielded questions from the Topeka FO on a new volunteer; the DC requested a paper copy of Security Awareness Test—I informed the DC on the possibility of having them become an apprentice
  • Mechelle Foos of the Troy FO had some questions about reportable hours; she wanted to know if we could count district manager hours if they were working for another district’s field day—I responded that their hours could not be counted because they are still being paid for their task
  • The Manhattan FO has a possible apprentice, Carolyn Fox, from K-State; I did some follow-up with her this month, but I haven’t received any response
  • Marshall County had some questions about volunteers riding in NRCS trucks and I told the DC to make sure they had a 301 form on file
  • Worked with several offices to help them get their filing system up to policy standards

State Office – Tracy Martin

  • Participated in Kansas coordinator teleconferences
  • Scheduled volunteers to assist with state office personnel
  • Sent email asking for volunteer hours to be reported in the tracking system
  • Entered volunteer hours in tracking system
  • Created “Request for Background Check” form
  • Reviewed volunteer files in Council Grove

Earth Team 3rd Quarter Reports

  • Area 1—612 volunteers, 3669.75 hours
  • Area 2—258 volunteers, 2201.5 hours
  • Area 3—361 volunteers, 2989.5 hours
  • Area 4—416 volunteers, 3134.25 hours
  • SO/PMC—48 48 volunteers, 355 hours
  • Statewide office participation 99/101 Offices (98 percent)

Apprentice Report by Area

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

Business Plan FY 2012

  • Reviewed and updated the fiscal year (FY) 2012 business plan

New Action Items

  • All coordinators should send Tracey (please cc Jan) one or two items by July 18, 2012, that would be “Did you know you can count” ideas; examples—contractor checkout; someone taking the recycling after hours; would like to have out to the field by the end of July
  • Award Bulletin will be coming out—GOAL: each coordinator have one nomination for each category
  • Timeline for Awards:
    • Nominations due COB Sept 14, 2012
    • Reviewed at ET coordinator meeting Sept 25, 2012
    • Review committee will look at the first week of October
    • National awards nominations submitted Oct 31, 2012
  • Find out who is currently a volunteer that may be driving a government-owned vehicle (GOV)

Old Business

  • Reviewed the final version of the ET questions and answers sheet and the “What task Volunteers Can Perform” that Jan reworked and added to
  • Toni talked about her experiences in going to the MU staff meetings and conducting the Needs Assessments; she feels it is going very well and that facilitating them in a meeting setting is helping to provide more ideas to others
  • Alex also did a Needs Assessment in Pottawatomie County

New Business

  • Fleet card training bulletin: Volunteers need to do this training if they are using a GOV; this training with be hard copy.
  • Jamie had the suggestion to charge a Service Project Class at Fort Hays State University with a People’s Garden
  • In Jan’s meeting with Eric she requested money for keepsakes—if approved, we will need to decide what we want

Our next meeting will be held on September 25, 2012, in the Salina SO conference room beginning at 10 a.m.