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News Release

Virginia NRCS Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

Georgia Solseth

Richmond, April 1, 2014 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 6-13, by thanking and honoring its statewide network of Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation.

Earth Team is a program that allows NRCS to stretch available resources by partnering volunteers with NRCS employees. These volunteers help to provide private landowners and others with a range of services from conservation technical assistance to teaching and generating awareness about conservation through community projects.

“Volunteers work closely with our staff and play an important role in Virginia’s conservation work,” said State Conservationist Jack Bricker. “Thanks to our great team, we are getting more conservation on the ground and building awareness about the importance of protecting our natural resources.”

“In FY13, Virginia’s Earth Team was sixth in the nation in the number of conservation volunteers with 1,076 Virginians donating 15,867 hours of service valued at approximately $345,741."*

Here are just a few examples of the outstanding work being done throughout the state to help improve land and wildlife habitat and contribute to cleaner water and air for everyone:

  • In Gate City, the Lake Fleming Wetlands/Outdoor Learning Area Partner-ship marshalled the time and talents of more than 60 student and community volunteers to transform an overgrown, two-acre wetland into an educational, environmental, and recreational resource for the entire community (2014 National Earth Team Partnership Award Winner).
  • In the Shenandoah Valley, the Harrisonburg Service Center collaborated with conservation partners to recruit 40 volunteers from the community and three local colleges to contribute 300 hours to debris cleanup and tree planting near the headwaters of the Smith Creek Watershed (2014 Southeast Region’s Chief’s Field Award).

Created in 1985, Earth Team offers many opportunities to individuals 14 and older who are interested in volunteering to improve the nation’s natural resources. Learn more about Virginia’s Earth Team Program by visiting our website ( or calling Georgia Solseth at (804) 287-1676. Contact your local NRCS office to learn more about needs in your area.

*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.