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Quarterly Earth Team Volunteer Coordinator's Meeting Minutes—April 16, 2014

The Earth Team (ET) Volunteer Coordinators’ meeting was held at the Salina State Office (SO) Conference Room on April 16, 2014.

Attendees were as follows:

  • Jan Klaus, State ET Coordinators
  • Area Volunteer Coordinators
    • Toni Flax (Area 1)
    • Leslie Spikes (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 a.m.

Jan welcomed everyone. Minutes from the January 22, 2014, meeting were reviewed and approved.

Action Items Still to be Completed:

  • Jamie Johnson will write a success story for our Volunteer Showcase on the Pollinator Garden in Pratt
  • Bernadette Luncsford, with Toni Flax’s assistance, will complete an article for the “Volunteer Showcase” on the success of their People’s Garden in St Francis

Earth Team Second Quarter Report

  • Area 1 – 524 volunteers, 2227.5 hours
  • Area 2 – 286 volunteers, 1971.5 hours
  • Area 3 – 239 volunteers, 1998.75 hours
  • Area 4 – 371 volunteers, 1886.25 hours
  • State Office/PMC – 6 volunteers, 45 hours
  • Statewide office participation—98% (99 out of 101 offices)

Current Apprentices:

  • Area 1–none
  • Area 2–1 in Liberal
  • Area 3–1 in Council Grove, 1 in Independence
  • Area 4–may have one in Alma
  • State Office–none

State ET Coordinator Report—Jan Klaus

  • Prepared Kansas bulletin with attachments for National Volunteer Week–sent information to SO to be posted to the Kansas Web site
  • Participated in National Awards Committee teleconferences on the following dates:
    • 2/3/14
    • 2/25/14
    • 3/19/14
    • 4/2/14
  • Participated in the National Office ET teleconference calls on February 13, 2014, and April 10, 2014
  • Developed the second quarter “Did You Know” fact sheet for publishing
  • Prepared the fiscal year (FY) 2014 ET Program business plan
  • Updated “What Tasks Can our Earth Team Volunteers Perform” and sent to SO for publishing
  • Prepared information and form(s) for the “Friends of Conservation” group and emailed out to coordinators
  • Requested the Kansas Amendment for the ET Volunteer Program under Section 360, Part 428, be removed from the Kansas Website and this was accomplished
  • Prepared a second AD-700 form for approval to move forward with area and/or state ET Program banner stand(s) purchase
  • Contacted the National ET Office and then the National Public Affairs office staff for the design file for the ET banner stands
  • Prepared the second quarter reports and set agenda for the second quarter ET coordinator’s meeting
  • Answered questions and requests from coordinators and the National Volunteer Office on an as needed basis

Area Coordinator Reports

Area 1—Toni Flax

  • Changed several of the “Friends of Conservation” group names and sent out an email for the rest of the counties to do the same
  • Emailed Osborne and Ness counties about producers that assisted me with range inventories
  • Emailed Bernadette about an article on their People’s Garden for the Volunteer Showcase
  • Listened to the National Thematic training on Working with Districts/Field Offices
  • Listened in on the National Quarterly teleconference
  • Checked the tracking system for hours and “No Activity” codes, then emailed those district managers that had issues
  • Reviewed tracking system for improper or duplicated names and worked with the district managers to fix the issues
  • Sent emails to the supervisory DCs in those management units (MU) that had counties with no hours in the tracking system
  • Responded to Jan with an outline of how I did the Needs Assessments
  • Worked with Debbie Potter, office administrator at Hoxie MU, getting their folders up to date and also taught her to use the tracking system and ET program
  • Sent an email out for National Volunteers Week
  • Sent email about getting second quarter hours entered
  • Participated and was a part of the National Guides Committee meeting

Area 2—Leslie Spikes

  • Attended quarterly meeting in Salina on 1/22/14
  • Throughout the quarter, answered questions on eligible hours and the volunteer tracking system
  • Throughout the quarter, worked with offices on Earth Team Volunteers (ETV) recognition items
  • Completed minutes of previous meeting
  • Contacted Sheldon Hightower for WRAPS projects
  • Drafted email to offices regarding the new fleet cards and ETVs
  • Set up three users in the tracking system for Wellington and South Hutchinson
  • Called 15 offices that had 0 volunteer hours, discussed events, and “Friends of Conservation” groups
  • Gave an All Employee presentation on “Apprentices” and “Reports for All Offices on Volunteer Hours and Volunteers”; gave out M&M packets to volunteer award submitters
  • Emails sent to FO for National Volunteer Week and second quarter hours
  • Set up Cassie Burkhart for Kinsley FO, provided training via email
  • Reviewed Hugoton and Liberal FO files; made corrections in the tracking system and gave the report of findings to the respective office to correct

Area 3—Joyce Wade

  • Participated in the National ET teleconference
  • Discussed volunteers and hours at a DC meeting
  • Presented goodies to the DCs that took the time to write nominations
  • Presented recognition items to the nominees and award winners
  • Recruited several new volunteers in the area
  • Emailed offices to set up “Friends of Conservation” groups
  • Emails sent to get second quarter hours reported–worked with several offices on hours and volunteers
  • Loaded hours for two offices
  • Working with Erie High School on a People’s Garden and butterfly garden
  • Volunteers Week—Article and information were sent out to all offices; no requests from any of the offices

Area 4—Mechelle Foos

  • Attended quarterly volunteer coordinator meeting on 1/22/14
  • Worked with Douglas County to get a volunteer signed up for computer use
  • Email sent to area on 3/7/14 about setting up “Friends of Conservation” groups and getting hours entered by end of March
  • Email sent to area on 3/26/14 to remind about getting hours entered by end of March
  • Email sent to area on 4/4/14 promoting National Volunteer week
  • Checked volunteer folders in Jefferson County
  • Put article in local conservation edition promoting volunteers
  • Answered questions about ET program.
  • Ran area report several times during quarter to look for errors and check progress
  • Visited with two offices with zero hours
  • Assisted two offices with entering volunteer hours
  • Provided one office with available recognition items
  • 100% office participation was obtained

State Office/PMC—Diane Edwards

  • Ordered new ET brochures from the National Distribution Center
  • Had two SO employees request volunteers and was able to assist
  • Prepared ET information for an employee to present at an area high school
  • Reviewed and edited ET minutes and posted to the Web site

ET Quarterly Teleconference

  • Reviewed notes from National teleconferences held on February 13 and 27, and on April 10, 2014
  • Toni reviewed notes and the PowerPoint from the Thematic training held on January 30, 2014, entitled “Working with Districts/Field Offices”

Old Business

  • National Volunteer week—there were several Tweets and an article in the Western Farmer-Stockman publication that went out; discussion held on the New Jersey flyer that went out as well as several other documents from other states; it was agreed that Kansas needs to do more and we will work on a flyer for FY15 to help be more visible
  • Completed Needs Assessments for FY 2014; Toni—0, Mechelle—trying but not much cooperation, Joyce—0, Leslie—0
  • Jan was able to get the design files for the banner stands previously requested; discussion was held on whether to order the set of three banner stands for each area or just one set for the state office; it was decided that one for the state would be adequate so Jan will follow up to Molly Hemstock regarding this purchase

New Business and Questions

  • Discussion was held on doing a Kansas Volunteer Showcase each quarter and have it be sent out to all employees through email and posted to the Kansas Web site
  • Discussion was held on several questions of what could be counted for ET hours
  • There have been concerns from DCs that do not want to report volunteer hours because they felt it would affect staffing in the future; Gaye Benfer was consulted on this and she said she was not aware of it ever being considered in staffing issues and it is not intended to be
  • Discussed the ET Web page on the Kansas NRCS Web site and the links with Debbie Newton; she will fix the link under Home/People/Volunteers so that it will link up to the ET page under Kansas NRCS Employees

New Action Items

  • Have all “Friends of Conservation” groups in the tracking system and named appropriately by the next coordinator’s meeting
  • Jan and Toni are on National Committees for the Awards and Guides; please review the Awards categories and get recommendation back to Jan by May 15th, and on the ET Guides have comments to Toni by April 24th
  • Jan will put together the 3rd quarter “Did You Know” any suggestions should be sent to her
  • Find one volunteer from the state each quarter to write a success story on; rotation as follows:
    • 2nd Quarter—Toni—Bernadette’s St Francis People’s Garden
    • 3rd Quarter—Diane, discussed doing an article on Kaiden Anderson
    • 4th Quarter—Joyce

Meeting adjourned at 3 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled to be held by teleconference on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 1 p.m.