Earth Team Volunteer Program Featured Volunteer Vignettes - Amy Plavak
Earth Team Volunteer Program: Featured Earth Team Volunteer Vignettes - Amy Plavak
Featured Volunteer: Amy Plavak
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Volunteer Job Title: Wetlands Restoration Project Manager
Excellent Communication Makes Success Possible
As an Earth Team volunteer, one of the first tasks for Amy Plavak was to update wetland restoration specifications for six Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) projects totaling over 1,000 acres. These specifications included gathering technical information about soils, plant communities, and restoration practices as well as non-technical information about partners, goals, and budgets. Updating WRP restoration specifications made communication with project partners easier, simplified budget calculations and ensured compliance with NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) requirements and NRCS policies.
A challenge Amy faced in updating Wetland Reserve Program specifications was that she had no prior knowledge of the sites or partners. She overcame these obstacles through excellent communication with the District Conservationist, and her willingness and abilities in learning new concepts.
In her volunteer position, she worked with the District Conservationist in preparing a detailed Contribution Agreement and a bid package to implement a 350 acre Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) project. The specifications for the bid package were recently cited in an Oregon WRP teleconference as an excellent template for other projects in the state to follow—way to go Amy!
The preparation of the bid package by Amy for the large WRP allowed NRCS to secure an excellent local contractor for a reasonable cost. Amy’s work to complete the bid package on time prevented the project from stalling due to lack of funding. After the contract was awarded, Amy worked with the contractors and gave the District Conservationist daily updates. Without Amy’s help, it is likely that this bid package would not have been prepared in time to complete critical practices in a timely manner. In preparing the large WRP bid package, Amy overcame many challenges by demonstrating a real “can do” attitude, cheerful demeanor in editing and modifying documents as both she and the District Conservationist learned the process and an ability to envision the entire project and how individual steps fit into the whole scope of things.
Amy has recently started work helping market the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) to various partners. She has distributed informational materials, scheduled and organized meetings and developed a website for partners to use in communicating about an AWEP application.
As an Earth Team volunteer, Amy has been a valuable asset to the Hillsboro Service Center.
November 2, 2009
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