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Quarterly Earth Team Volunteer Coordinator’s Meeting Minutes – May 13, 2013

The Earth Team (ET) Volunteers Coordinators’ meeting was held at the Salina Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Office (SO) Conference Room on May 13, 2013.

Attendees were as follows:

  • Jan Klaus, State ET Coordinators
  • Area Volunteer Coordinators
    • Toni Flax (Area 1)
    • Jamie Johnson (Area 2)
    • Joyce Wade (Area 3)
    • Mechelle Foos (Area 4)
    • Diane Edwards (SO & Plant Materials Center [PMC])

The meeting was called to order at 10 am

Jan welcomed everyone and introduced Mechelle Foos as the new Area 4 Coordinator. Minutes from the January 9, 2013, meeting were reviewed and approved.

Action Items Completed

  • Jan asked to be on the agenda for the Management Team Meeting in February to speak with the Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operation (ASTC-FO) about the ET Program; she was able to spend an hour with them
  • Posted the state ET award winners to the Kansas Web site after the National awards selections had been announced
  • A “Did You Know” email was developed covering Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS), CoCoRahs, Annual Meetings, and the ET SharePoint
  • Jamie will continue work on updating the Apprentice signup poster
  • Developed 2013 ET business plan

Action Items still to be completed:

  • Each coordinator should think about someone in their area that would make a good ET “cheerleader” to speak at an upcoming district conservationists (DC) meeting
  • Jan will review and update the “Notes for Supervisors” handout on the Apprentice Program
  • Jan will work with Sheila to post ET information on Twitter
  • Jan will train the other office assistants on reviewing ET file folders and ET tracking system during an Administrative and Management Review—she will work on this as time allows

State ET Coordinator Report – Jan Klaus

  • January 24—met with ASTCs during the KNRC conference regarding ET Volunteer Program and gave them the status reports for their area; reviewed the “What Tasks Can our Earth Team Volunteers Perform” guide with them along with the “Volunteer Management Questions and Answers”
  • Updated the following forms and documents and got them posted to the Kansas Web site:
    • Form KS-PER-46, Form KS-PER-47, and KS-PER-49
    • Volunteer Management Q&A’s
    • What Tasks Can our ET Volunteers Perform
    • 2012 Award Winner information
  • February 7—met with Holly Dickman, Ellis County Extension Office, on the possibility of starting a People’s Garden in the City of Hays
  • February 28—participated in the Thematic Training with the National ET Office on ET Volunteer Coordinator Responsibilities
  • March 14—participated in the National ET Quarterly Teleconference
  • March 20—provided training to Diane Edwards and Tracey Martin on the duties of the coordinator for the SO and PMC
  • March 28—prepared the first quarter reports for Eric and the ASTCs; emailed reports to them and to the coordinators
  • Week of April 15—reviewed Volunteer file folders in the Ness City Management Unit (MU) (Ness City, Dighton, Jetmore)
  • April 30—gave a presentation at the Area 1 All-Employee meeting
  • May 9—conducted new coordinator training for Mechelle Foos
  • Answered questions and requests from coordinators and the National Volunteer Office on an as needed basis

Area Coordinator Reports

Area 1—Toni Flax

  • Sent Jamie my Coordinator’s report
  • Answered ET Questions
  • Sent Jan pictures for National award winners
  • Sent out email to all Area 1 employees asking them to input hours
  • Participated in ET Thematic Training on 2/28/2013 “Volunteer Coordinator Responsibilities”
  • Setup and trained Tonya Bonjorno, Smith Center District Manager (DM) in the tracking system
  • Forwarded the ET Volunteer showcase email requesting success stories
  • Forwarded email about getting hours in tracking system for mid-year reports to be pulled.
  • Sent hours report to Norton County
  • Meet with Mary at the Hill City public library about a possible People’s Garden
  • Sent several emails to area and field offices (AO and FO) about National Volunteer week.
  • Power point presentation with Jan at the Area All-Employee meeting where we presented awards and talked about the Apprentice program
  • Participated in the National Quarterly Teleconference
  • Answered many question on the ET program and Tracking system

Area 2—Jamie Johnson

  • Peoples Garden Initiative—Pollinator Garden: I have been working with Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), K-State Extension and the Master Gardeners Group; Rita Schartz –DC in Stafford County has been assisting with the design and discussions of the pollinator garden, which will be created in front of the KDWPT Museum; the plants are being picked up from the Dyck Arboretum on May 3, and will be planted on May 4—the Master Gardeners Group have agreed to assist with the maintenance
  • Assisted and responded to any questions from the FO pertaining to the ET program or the ET tracking system
  • Developed a portion of the “Did You Know” fact sheet and emailed final version to Kansas NRCS employees.
  • Typed up the ET meeting minutes and submitted for review and to be posted to the Kansas ET Web site
  • Submitted ideas for the National Volunteer Week theme
  • Assisted the Dodge AO with setting up a retired employee as a volunteer
  • Sent the Liberal FO a recognition certificate template
  • Emailed all offices with zero hours encouraging them to enter eligible hours into the ET tracking system
  • Worked with the Liberal DM to transfer a volunteer to the Wichita FO.
  • Participated in ET Thematic Training on 2/28/2013 “Volunteer Coordinator Responsibilities”
  • Sent an email to all offices on Volunteer File Folder management
  • Updated ET DC contact list
  • Updated information in the tracking for new DCs and SCD’s
  • Assisted the Ashland FO with setting up a file folder for an apprentice. Sent the office a security test.
  • Ann Brooks from AO completed an Admin Review of the Kingman MU and provided me a copy of the trip report
  • Ashland Field office visit to provide training on the ET program and Tracking system; reviewed the volunteer file folders
  • Emailed all offices the solicitation for nominations for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, Volunteer Showcase articles
  • Requested eligible ET hours be entered into the tracking system prior to the National Office pulling the mid-year status reports
  • Assisted a few offices with data entry, will follow up with these offices to provide more formal training
  • Presented ET information at the All-Employee Meeting in March; I recognized all nominations and winners from Area 2; also recognized several offices for submitting nominations as well as individuals who are working with an apprentice; provided them with a recognition item
  • Emailed offices the National Volunteer Week packet
  • Emailed offices identifying potential volunteer hours by utilizing volunteers to display information on the HWFRCP Outreach Claims Process
  • Checked and corrected the ET tracking system for volunteer activities which were inadvertently captured under “No Activity”
  • Checked ET tracking system for duplicate entries

Area 3—Joyce Wade

  • Made contact with offices to report people and hours; at this time everyone has hours reported
  • Sent information to all offices about volunteer week; no request for awards or gifts
  • Alex Miller has helped with a couple of offices and Jan has been helping also
  • Our past coordinator has retired from the agency
  • Information was given the DC at their last meeting; Clifford emphasized the importance of reporting hours
  • Listened to the National Teleconference on March 14
  • We have had two offices asking about student volunteers; we have a new one in the Council Grove office
  • Thanks to Diane for writing the article for the paper
  • Still in training as ET coordinator

Area 4—Mechelle Foos—New Coordinator

State Office/PMC—Diane Edwards

  • I have 2 new volunteers at the state office
  • I do expect to pick up during the summer even though hours are down now
  • I have participated in training during this quarter with Jan and Tracey Martin
  • I also attended a training session with Jan and our new coordinator Mechelle Foos
  • I will be joining the Volunteer Security Update teleconference scheduled in May
  • I worked with Public Affairs Staff to get our ET State and National winner articles published
  • I also edited and revised an article written about volunteering and had that published to our internet site
  • I am still actively working with Tracey Martin to learn ET procedures, policies and new ideas

Earth Team Second Quarter Report

  • Area 1—478 volunteers, 2091.5 hours
  • Area 2—223 volunteers, 1184 hours
  • Area 3—148 volunteers, 1345.75 hours
  • Area 4—235 volunteers, 1464 hours
  • State Office/PMC—10 volunteers, 57.75 hours
  • Statewide Office Participation—82% (83 of 101 offices)

Current Apprentices:

  • Area 1 – 1 is in the process of being signed up again at the Hays FO
  • Area 2 – 1 in Ashland
  • Area 3 – 1 in the Council Grove office
  • Area 4 – may have one in Alma
  • State Office- none

New Action Items

  • Jan will send out the picture file of the recognition items
  • Diane will update her article on the website internet (Public) “Benefits of Volunteering” to the 2012 numbers and will also see that it gets moved to the Conservation Edition – under Miscellaneous
  • Jamie will do and article for the Volunteer Showcase on the Pollinator project—we will do one article per quarter and first quarter was Doyle Easter
  • Jan will send out business plan to everyone

People’s Garden

  • Jamie talked about and showed pictures of Pratt’s Garden
  • There will be a training on May 30, from 1:30 – 2:30

Old Business

  • New updated time sheets on the Web site, KS-PER-46, KS-PER-47 and KS-PER49
  • Needs assessment worksheet also placed on the Web site

New Business:

  • It was suggested that we have volunteers take pictures of our GOVs for the Inventory Project that was recently requested.
  • Reviewed the Volunteer Coordinator Responsibility PowerPoint
  • Reviewed the Needs Assessment PowerPoint as a refresher and for the new coordinators
  • Regional training being planned—Jan will talk to Dan about
  • Soil Health Campaign—“Did You Know” topic, Outreach for promoting
  • Jan will look into the new site
  • Talked about the “Capture All Volunteer Hours” sheet—if we decide to do this, we need to gather pictures so we can update for Kansas

Meeting Adjourned at 3 pm

Our next meeting will be held on July 10, 2013, in the SO Conference Center, Salina, beginning at 10 am.