2012 National Earth Team Award Winners
Celebrating Volunteers in Action!
2012 Award Winners!
National Earth Team Volunteer Service Award – Chief’s Cup
The Kansas Apprentice Program provides an opportunity for students to work with NRCS employees as Earth Team Volunteers and become familiar with agency activities. This program also gives the agency an opportunity to look for future employees. Kansas has developed a “Friends of Conservation” group to capture hours for one-time volunteers. These volunteers assist the conservation technicians with the survey and layout of conservation practices. A number of volunteer groups in Kansas support educational activities to include Water Festivals, Kids Ag Day, Safety Educational Activities, Outdoor Classroom Activities, Conservation Tours, Tillage Conferences, Envirothons, Field and Forestry Days.
National NACD/NRCS Earth Team Partnership Award
The Mobile Soil and Water Conservation District (SECD) and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) maintain a strong partnership in regards to Farm Bill Programs as well as conservation education. Together they participated in conservation education projects that included the Annual Water Festival and Beach Restoration and various educational field days. The Annual Water Festival uses hands on learning stations to teach 4th grade students the importance of water quality. The Beach Restoration project not only benefits the dunes, but educates Mobile’s youth about how beach vegetation affects stabilization which impacts the effectiveness and productivity of the dune system. Projects like the High Tunnel Hoop House Field Day, Gulf Coast Initiative Field Day and Oyster Farming Field Day create an awareness of the best management practices.
National RC&D/NRCS Earth Team Partnership Award
The Central Prairie Resource and Conservation Development (RC&D) and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) partnership has benefited many different projects. The Central Prairie Honor Flight program was developed to honor World War II veterans and provide them the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC, to see the national monument erected in their honor. The Kansas Wildlife Feeding the Hungry program works with local vendors to process deer meat donated by which hunters donate which is then distributed to food banks, pantries, and churches. Volunteers also help the RC&D and NRCS to locate abandoned buried fuel tank sites. Once a site is found, it is then investigated to see if it is a potential hazard to the environment. The Central Prairie RC&D and NRCS partnership is a great example of how the RC&D council, NRCS employees and Earth Team Volunteers work together.
Individual Volunteer Award winner
Earth Team Volunteer Timothy Rinehart is helping NRCS staff in Goldendale, Washington. He assisted with the inspection and determination of grass stand density on 250 acres, he made maps in Toolkit for CRP and CSP contracts and he assisted in the construction inspection of 2 livestock projects.
Group Volunteer Award winner
Students at Cañon (Pronounced - CANYON) City High School in Colorado rehabilitated a portion of the Hogback recreation area west of Canon City. They raked and prepared the soil for broadcast seeding on the damaged hillsides. More than 20 pounds of native grass seed was spread throughout the area and wattles were installed for erosion control.
Chief's Field Cup Award winner
Due to the assistance of Earth Team volunteers in Holdrege, Nebraska, the staff insured that 77 EQIP and CSP contracts were in compliance and they were able to write 8 extra EQIP contracts for irrigation practices. The volunteers received on the job training which helped them apply what they learned in the classroom to real life situations.
NRCS Employee Earth Team Award winner
District Conservationist Lana Pearson in Simla (Pronounced -- SIM-la), Colorado began her career as an Earth Team Volunteer and served as Area Volunteer Coordinator. She led a group of volunteers in the planting and maintaining of 12 miles of living snow fence along the I-70 highway in Eastern Colorado. This resulted in over 315 acres of protected habitat for wildlife.
Volunteer Coordinator Award winner
Under the leadership of Kansas State Volunteer Coordinator Jan Klaus an Apprentice Program was developed to recruit high school students to volunteer and learn about careers in NRCS. Kansas has a volunteer in every office due to Jan and the area volunteer coordinators who work with all staff on completing a Needs Assessment to identify volunteer tasks.