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News Release

Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

Shanna Huckins
(406) 962-3641 x101

BOZEMAN, Mont., April 7, 2014– USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 6-13, by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation. Earth Team is the agency’s volunteer workforce, and nationally, in fiscal year 2013, more than 22,000 people donated 330,084 hours of service to NRCS, worth approximately $7.3 million.

“Volunteers work closely with our staff, and they play an important role in our state’s conservation work,” said Joyce Swartzendruber, NRCS state conservationist in Montana. 

This year, Erik Warrington, a full-time student at the University of Montana, was Montana’s Earth Team Volunteer of the Year. Warrington assisted the Missoula Field Office with forest inventory data collection and analysis, certifying practices and drafting forest stewardship plans.

“The resource data Erik helped collect will be used to generate grazing plans and forest management plans for a number of farmers and ranchers throughout the area,” said Travis Lemke, Missoula’s soil conservation technician. 

Earth Team 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. 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.

“We are able to get more conservation on the ground because of the hard work of our volunteers, ,” Swartzendruber said. “We are thankful for their time and commitment to helping people help the land.”

The Earth Team offers outstanding and exciting opportunities for people who need professional work experience, academic credit or the satisfaction of becoming a caretaker of natural resources in their community. If you want to learn more about the NRCS Earth Team Volunteer Program in Montana, contact Shanna Huckins at or visit our website at


*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.