Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Week
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 4, 2013
Julie MacSwain, State Public Affairs Specialist, (651) 602-7859
ST PAUL, MN, April 4, 2013 - USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 21 to 27 by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation.
Earth Team is the agency’s volunteer workforce, and nationally, in fiscal 2012, more than 19,000 people donated 305,564 hours of service to NRCS worth approximately $6.7 million.
NRCS State Conservationist Don Baloun said Earth Team volunteers are making an environmental impact in Minnesota. Last year 643 volunteers donated 21,271 hours. “That’s worth $462,208 of benefit to our customers and the taxpayers,” said Baloun. “These are impressive numbers, and we are grateful for the help, but we also recognize much more conservation work needs to be done.”
Earth Team is a program that partners volunteers with NRCS employees. It was created in 1985 and offers many opportunities to individuals older than 14 who are interested in volunteering to improve the nation’s natural resources. Earth Team volunteers help NRCS conservationists provide private landowners and others a range of services from conservation technical assistance to teaching and generating awareness about conservation through the use of community projects.
“The NRCS theme for this year “Celebrate Volunteers” puts it best,” said Baloun. Earth Team Volunteers allow us to stretch available resources and help us put additional conservation practices on the ground. Their volunteer efforts help us improve our land and wildlife habitat, clean our water and air, and they help us improve the environment for everyone.”
Baloun said he hopes National Volunteer Week will motivate others to volunteer to help NRCS with its conservation mission.
“Earth Team volunteers work closely with our staff and they play an important role in our state’s conservation work. They take on a variety of conservation assignments and many Earth Team Volunteers tell us they find their volunteer work enjoyable and personally very rewarding,” said Baloun.
Learn more about the Earth Team Volunteer Program online at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/people/volunteers or by calling (toll-free) 888-526-3227. For more information on NRCS visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.
*Note: The Value of Volunteer Time to the Agency is $21.79/hour as established by the Independent Sector and utilized by the Federal Interagency Team for Volunteerism.
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