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Quarterly Earth Team Volunteer Coordinator’s Meeting Minutes–January 22, 2014

The Earth Team (ET) Volunteers Coordinators’ meeting was held at the Salina Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Office (SO) Conference Room on January 22, 2014.

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 10:10 a.m.

Jan welcomed everyone.

Action Items Completed

  • Kansas ET state winners were selected by the awards’ committee and submitted for the national awards.

Action Items still to be completed:

  • Jan will work with Sheila Forrester (Public Affairs Specialist, PAS) to use Twitter during National Volunteer Week in April
  • Jan will train office assistants on reviewing ET file folders and ET tracking system during Administrative and Management Reviews; she has also sent an email to all office assistants and asked that they send her the portion of their write up from Management and Administrative reviews as it pertains to the ET Volunteer Program to assist her and the other coordinators with ET Program training
  • Jan will send the “thank you” templates that Jamie Johnson designed for thanking employees to all coordinators
  • Diane will complete write-up with photos for 2013 Kansas winners for Web site
  • Jamie Johnson will write a success story for our Volunteer Showcase on the Pollinator Project in Pratt
  • Area Coordinators (ACs) will let Jan know if they want her to ask their Area Offices (AOs) to send them the conservation district (CD) board meeting minutes; the minutes can be reviewed for volunteer opportunities from educational events and other district events that are taking place throughout the area with the CDs

State ET Coordinator Report – Jan Klaus

  • Compiled all award nominations with the appropriate cover sheet and sent nominations to SO committee
  • Ordered 2013 ET award plaques
  • Prepared all letters for award winners and nominees for Eric Banks’, State Conservationist, (STC) signature
  • Mailed out all ET recognition items and letters for the fiscal year (FY) 2013 award winners and nominees to the appropriate offices as discussed with ACs
  • November 18-21, 2013, conducted Management and Administrative Review of the Hays Management Unit (MU) and reviewed all ET volunteer files in Hays, WaKeeney, and Russell, Kansas
  • Developed the 1st quarter “Did You Know” fact sheet for publishing
  • Developed article with award winner information and pictures for posting to the Kansas Web site
  • January 2, 2014, provided Administrative Assistance to the WaKeeney Field Office (FO) on the ET Volunteer Program and the proper file set up
  • Set schedule for FY2014 meetings
  • Requested Office Assistants in other areas send me and their AC the ET portion of their final write up on all Management and Administrative Reviews for assistance with training FO employees on the ET Program
  • Prepared the 1st quarter reports and set agenda for the 1st quarter ET Coordinators’ meeting
  • aAnswered questions and requests from ACs and the National Volunteer Office on an as- needed basis

Area Coordinator Reports

Area 1—Toni Flax

  • Worked on awards nominations
  • Emailed all employees about new deadline for end-of-year reporting
  • Sent emails to FOs looking for pictures as requested by National Office; received pictures from St. Francis, Osborne, and Phillipsburg offices
  • Sent Jan pictures I received
  • Sent emails to awards winners
  • Entered hours for Colby FO
  • Emailed Matt about who would be taking over for Polly
  • Have been to several offices working on EQIP where the producer has helped in showing us around and with the inventory process; I have reminded those offices to put them in the “Friends of Conservation” groups

Area 2—Leslie Spikes

  • 9/18/2013—Attended quarterly meeting in Salina
  • 9/24-25/13—Assisted nominees in editing and re-writing award nominations
  • Throughout quarter—Answered questions on eligible hours, volunteer tracking system, etc.
  • Solicited photos for award winners/all FOs and emailed to Jan
  • Throughout the quarter, corresponded with offices on ET recognition items, plaques
  • 12/23/2013—Sent ET hours email reminder to lists

Area 3—Joyce Wade

  • Worked on nominations for 2013– Abby Carpenter–District Manager, Brenda Zabriskie - Individual, Wilson County CD– KACD, Farm Bureau– Partnership, Sandy Koontz, Butler County– Group. Wilson County and Brenda Zabriskie were state winners.
  • New SharePoint site
  • Worked with several offices on their passwords
  • Watched the leadership video with office
  • Sent reminder email to report hours
  • Assisted DC with new applications; may have another apprentice, working with Jodi in MG county.
  • Jan emailed a potential volunteer–no response to Girard FO

Area 4—Mechelle Foos

  • Visited with three offices about potential volunteers who requested information through the National Web site; one signed up as a new volunteer
  • Sent emails on 10/24/13, 12/05/13, and 12/30/13 to all Area 4 employees about getting hours entered by end of 1st quarter
  • Fifteen minute ET presentation given at all personnel meeting to approximately 100 people
  • Presented Jamie Johnson with the FY2013 Kansas volunteer AC award and the Osage County CoCoRaHS group a certificate as an Area 4 group nomination
  • Submitted two photos for possible use in National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) PowerPoint
  • Sent in one suggestion for “Did You Know” email publication
  • Answered questions about ET program
  • Ran Area 4 ET report several times during quarter to look for errors and check progress
  • Notified several offices of unverified time sheets
  • Set up three new ET office managers in the area
  • Assisted two offices with entering volunteer hours
  • Sent several emails to offices needing forms/information on setting up volunteer folders

State Office/PMC—Diane Edwards

  • No report since Diane was on sick leave during this time period

ET Second Quarter Report

  • Area 1—571.5 hours and 142 volunteers
  • Area 2—409 hours and 63 volunteers
  • Area 3—114.75 hours and 25 volunteers
  • Area 4—896 hours and 172 volunteers
  • State Office/PMC—0 hours and 0 volunteers

Statewide Office Participation—56% (57 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

  • All ACs will review “What Tasks Can Our ET Volunteers Perform?” and email edits to Jan
  • Jan (with input from the ACs) will work on the next “Did You Know” email to include facts about the People’s Garden and volunteer security requirements
  • Bernadette Luncsford, with Toni Flax’s assistance, will complete an article for the “Volunteer Showcase” on the success of their People’s Garden projects in St. Francis
  • Jan will type up an application for “Friends of Conservation” to assist FOs
  • Jan will request removing Kansas Amendments for ET volunteers from Kansas Web site since they are outdated
  • Jan will prepare the business plan for FY2014 and email it out to all ACs

People’s Garden

  • Jamie Johnson talked about and showed pictures of Pratt’s Garden
  • There is a teleconference training scheduled for May 30, 2014 from 1:30–2:30 p.m.

Old Business

  • Kansas will attempt to obtain the new National Office exhibit template banner stand for recruitment; Jan will follow up with the SO for approval
  • 2013 business plan was reviewed and finalized
  • Discussed monitoring monthly to track errors
  • Discussed visiting 2 MUs each year
  • Reminded ACs that awards can be given any time of the year
  • Need success stories for Volunteer Showcase and Kansas Web site
  • Photo release permission will be added to the new Form-301A
  • Reviewed Volunteer referrals—the National Office will contact Jan and she will contact the referral to ask what they are interested in; if we are able to utilize them based on their interest, the AC will be contacted to work with the referral and the local office
  • Discussed “Friends of Conservation”—we will require each office to maintain or start a county group

New Business:

  • 2014 business plan was reviewed for upcoming year
  • Discussed Volunteer and Apprentice security procedures based on duties
  • Discussed WRAPS and what should count as volunteer hours

Meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m.

Our next meeting will be held on April 16, 2014, in the SO Conference Room, Salina beginning at 10 a.m.