Virginia Volunteer Spotlight
Carrie Brausieck's drive and willingness to take on new challenges has helped the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District take advantage of many new conservation opportunities this past year. Carrie brought together a diverse group of community, local government, and school volunteers on a grant project to restore a vegetated buffer on a local stream. She also spearheaded an effort to help a local town establish a volunteer water quality monitoring program for bacterial contamination. Carrie worked with the district's Outreach Specialist and the town’s Public Works Director to identify sampling locations, coordinate sampling protocol with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and identify volunteers to assist her with sampling. The data collected will not only benefit the town but also establish a volunteer water quality monitoring model for other localities in the District.
In addition to these large projects, she tirelessly assisted conservation staff in developing over 60 conservation plans and the installing numerous agricultural BMPs. She has helped pull soil samples, survey projects, stake out practices, prepare maps, formulate nutrient management plans, and make cold calls to recruit cooperators. Carrie has also volunteered to help with many District education and outreach events, including Farm Field Days, Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences, booths at local events, watershed cleanups and classroom presentations.'
You could say that farming is in Matt Roberts' blood. He grew up on a family farm raising cattle, chickens, and pigs, and has been active in Future Farmers of America (FFA) since his sophomore year in high school. He also co-founded one of only three charter collegiate FFA chapters in the state while at Wytheville Community College.
Matt joined the Earth Team volunteer program in April 2013 and volunteers about 25 hours a week with more than 500 hours of service in the Wytheville Service Center. He has already mastered many of the broad training requirements for field and office duties. His daily routine includes field assignments like assisting with surveying, Highly Erodible Land (HEL) determinations, fence and watering system inspections, and client meetings to discuss and implement conservation plans. Back at the office, he helps with program applications, client file maintenance, and serving customers at the counter.
Matt earned two associate's degrees from Wytheville Community College and will attend VA Tech in the fall of 2014 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Ag Science with minors in Dairy Science and Crop & Soil Environmental Science. He is already well on his way to completing his conservation planning certification with NRCS and intends to pursue a career with NRCS.
College student Leslie Clements is getting a real environmental education this summer, volunteering 16-20 hours a week in the Culpeper Service Center. The Orange County native has participated in conservation planning visits, laying out conservation buffers, and helping with the survey and design of conservation practices. She has also assisted with field checks of installed conservation practices and worked on soil maps, environmental evaluations, and administrative tasks for the Service Center.
Clement is a junior majoring in Environmental Biology at Christopher Newport University, so she is especially interested in the environmental benefits of the conservation practices NRCS helps local producers plan and install. She says she most enjoys the conservation planning field visits where she learns about solutions to environmental problems. Asked if she would volunteer again, the answer was an enthusiastic yes.