Skip Navigation

News Release

Volunteers Play Important Role in Conservation in New Jersey

Laura Coover, Volunteer Coordinator
732-462-0075 x108

April 7, 2014 - USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating the Earth Team, the agency’s volunteer workforce, during National Volunteer Week April 6th-13th. Nationally, in fiscal year 2013, more than 22,000 people donated 330,084 hours of service to NRCS worth approximately $7.3 million.

The Earth Team program partners volunteers with NRCS employees. The program was created in 1985 and offers many opportunities to individuals 14 and older 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 community projects.

Earth Team volunteers worked with NRCS to advance conservation efforts in the Garden State in 2013 in a variety of ways:

  • A group of 13 dedicated volunteers, led by college student Ryan Sullivan and bayman Clint Lehman, assisted NRCS soil scientist Rob Tunstead to initiate the Subaqueous Soil Survey of Barnegat Bay. They donated over 200 hours of their time, doing hard, dirty work, helping with everything from sediments sampling and data collection to boat safety and lab testing. The group won New Jersey’s Outstanding Group Volunteer Award for 2013. When completed, the soil survey will provide valuable data about the Bay’s bottom sediments to help researchers and local stakeholders to decide how best to restore the Barnegat Bay.
  • The Hackettstown NRCS office received assisted from three dedicated volunteers who gave over 200 hours of their time. Colleen Earp, Jennifer Byrne, and Jessica Marrotte worked with our soil conservationists, engineers and soil scientists with conservation planning, soils investigations, and practice implementation in the field. Earth Team Volunteer Colleen Earp won New Jersey’s Outstanding Individual Volunteer Award for 2013 for her work assisting soil scientist Fred Schoenagel with many soil survey and educational projects.
  • The Columbus Service Center had four dedicated volunteers in FY2013 who gave close to 100 hours of their time. Joseph Cherichello, Sandy Logan, David Steinmann and Jessica Wu assisted our soil conservationists and engineers with conservation planning, filing, surveying, outreach and practice implementation in the field.

Earth Team Volunteers allow NRCS to stretch available resources and help put additional conservation practices on the ground. Volunteer efforts help improve land and wildlife habitat and contribute to cleaner water and air for everyone.

Learn more about the Earth Team Volunteer Program online at: by calling (toll-free) 888-526-3227. For more information on NRCS visit



More on the Earth Team in New Jersey