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Benefits of Volunteering

Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering is a wonderful way to learn new skills, become more involved in your community, remain active, and even remain healthy! A few more reasons to volunteer are listed below:

  • Even if you’re not planning on changing careers, volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, and organization.
  • Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment.
  • Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills.
  • Finally, doing volunteer work you find meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family commitments. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life. (http://www.helpguide.org/life/volunteer_opportunities_benefits_volunteering.htm)

Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has a volunteer program called the Earth Team (ET) Program that may be just what you are looking for. Kansas NRCS offices are always looking for volunteers to assist with their mission of “Helping People Help the Land.” Below are just a few ideas for helping with the ET and a link for accessing the ET site and getting more information.

What can I do? Be an Earth Team Volunteer

During 2012, 1,877 citizens volunteered their time and talents to the Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Conservation Districts. These volunteers donated 12,400 hours. More than a few of these people were first time volunteers and probably thought, "What can I do?" Well, no matter what your talents, interests, age, or physical ability, there is a volunteer opportunity for you. Here are a few examples:

  • Schools benefit from tours, exhibits, poster contests, and festivals. Volunteers are needed to help organize events, conduct classes, take pictures, cook food, write news articles, and chaperon students on the bus. And lastly, one of the most appreciated jobs a volunteer can do is just become a glorified gofer to support staff and save them time and steps.
  • Town and community groups benefit from educational meetings and publications. Volunteers are needed to present programs and speak about conservation issues. Volunteers with a history in writing can produce publications and artwork.
  • Field office support is needed. This can include opportunities assisting with monthly newsletters, judging poster and essay contests, phone and office support when staff is not available, and lastly clerical assistance to help organize and file.
  • Working in the outdoors presents many other opportunities for volunteers. Outdoor activities include assisting the professional staff as they work directly with farmers and ranchers. Volunteers can take notes and assist with survey equipment, make natural resource inventories, and assist in improving wildlife habitats. It is important to preserve habitat for pheasant, quail, prairie chicken, and many other native wildlife species that reside on farms and ranches.
  • Other outdoor activities which need volunteer assistance are the planning of community beautification and projects for water quality and erosion control. Volunteers are greatly appreciated and can be the essential link in developing programs which benefit their own community.

Volunteers are needed and appreciated. If you would like to join other Kansas residents who already donate their time to conserve and protect our natural resources, visit your local NRCS office or conservation district office to learn more about being an Earth Team volunteer. The office is located at your local USDA Service Center (listed in the telephone book under United States Government or on the Internet at offices.usda.gov). More information is also available on the Kansas Web site at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov.

If you are interested and would like to get more information, please feel free to contact your local NRCS office and/or call or email one of the following contacts below:

Coordinator   Area of Responsibility   Location   Phone Number
Jan Klaus   State Volunteer Coordinator   Hays   785-625-2588
Toni Flax   Area 1 Coordinator   Hill City   785-421-2115
Jamie Johnson   Area 2 Coordinator   Pratt   620-672-7449
Loren Frees   Area 2 Apprentice Coordinator   Hutchinson   620-663-3501
Joyce Wade   Area 3 Coordinator   Erie   620-244-3491
Alex Miller   Area 4 Coordinator   Westmoreland   785-457-3661
Diane Edwards   State Office Coordinator   Salina   785-823-4575