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Earth Team Volunteers Making a Difference in Alturas

The NRCS Earth Team is a special part of the agency where volunteers share their unique talents with the agency, and the agency gives volunteers an upfront glimpse of work in a conservation office and/or field setting. The three Earth Team Volunteers highlighted below are making a difference at the USDA Service Center in Alturas, California. 

Avian Wills-Alturas SCAvian Wills is a high school student that got involved with NRCS through an agriculture experience project in one of his agriculture classes. He was seeking to gain agriculture and natural resources experience, learn about NRCS and acquire new skills and abilities. Avian has learned to use ArcGIS software, GPS, assisted in collecting natural resources inventories and helps around the service center wherever needed. Avian says his favorite part of being an Earth Team Volunteer is “collecting the inventories and plotting them on a map.”

Avian Wills (left), Earth Team Volunteer, Alturas Service Center

Chris Lauppe retired from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) with over 30 years-experience. He volunteers throughout the community and has a passion for recycling. There is no local paper recycling facility in Modoc County, and Chris feels we should do all we can to recycle. He volunteered to set up a paper recycling program for the entire service center, which includes NRCS, FSA, Rural Development, Central Modoc Chris Lauppe-Alturas SCRCD, and the U.S. Forest Service. Chris regularly checks and empties recycling bins in the service center and determines when a trailer load of recycling is ready to be taken to the recycling facility in nearby Lassen County. Without Chris, there would be no paper recycling program at the service center.

Chris Lauppe (right), Earth Team Volunteer, Alturas Service Center

After serving in the U.S. Navy, John Tvrdevich worked for NRCS, later an RCD, then returned to NRCS. After retiring, he still wanted to be involved. He found a way to use and share his passion for water conservation and ground water use. He likes educating customers, helping them understand and determine soil moisture by feel, and is continuing the joint ground water monitoring program with the local RCDs. He monitors multiple wells for static water levels in the spring before pumping begins for the season, and in the fall once pumping ends. This data is used by Department of Water Resources and the RCDs to educate people on trends that are evident. John Tvrdevich-Alturas SCJohn has been a great help in determining the efficiency of sprinkler systems in the area and enjoys the fieldwork involved in completing the irrigation inventories.

John Tvrdevich (left), Earth Team Volunteer, Alturas Service Center

Thanks to Avian, Chris and John for their many hours of volunteering and all that they do to make a difference at the Alturas Service Center!