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Explore Careers and Gain Experience with NRCS’ Earth Team

Michelle Banks, Public Affairs Specialist

May 11, 2017 - NRCS offers many opportunities to discover and experience different careers in a virtual or hands-on environment—from finance to human resources, soil science to biology, engineering to soil conservation, photography to journalism—NRCS has a spot for you.

Volunteer Derek Grube collects samples of water for testing. NRCS photo.

Volunteer Derek Grube collects samples of water for testing. NRCS photo.

Meet Derek Grube. During his first year at a community college in Iowa, he was uncertain about a future career. He knew he enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, and fishing, but didn’t know NRCS could help align those interests with a career. 

After arranging a job shadow, Derek volunteered in a local field office. He enjoyed it so much he returned over Christmas break. After that experience, Derek changed his major to conservation management.

The next summer, Derek was hired as a part-time technician with the Howard County Soil and Water Conservation District, a close partner of NRCS, and applied for the NRCS Pathways Program.

Derek now attends a university, continuing his education in conservation. He was accepted into the Pathways Program where he continues to explore a conservation career. Derek is looking forward to a career with NRCS, and it all began with a request to job shadow and an opportunity to experience NRCS as a volunteer. 

Class of 2017 graduate Nicholas Sharps is passionate about agriculture and natural resources. NRCS photo.

Class of 2017 graduate Nicholas Sharps is passionate about agriculture and natural resources. NRCS photo

Volunteer Katie Mumford stands beside an educational sign she helped create. NRCS photo.

Volunteer Katie Mumford stands beside an educational sign she helped create. NRCS photo.

Meet Nicholas Sharps. He grew up on a family farm in Tennessee. As a high school senior, he served as an officer with FFA and is passionate about agriculture and natural resources.

Nicholas signed up for the Earth Team Volunteer Program and got to work immediately, aiding with clerical and administrative duties and conservation planning for the Union County Soil Conservation District. He assisted NRCS with farm visits, received hands-on training in design and engineering, learned conservation computer programs, and acquired cultured knowledge on the best management practices that improve farms.

Nicholas’ experience confirmed his plans of going to college and pursuing a career with NRCS.

Meet Katie Mumford. She grew up in Wisconsin and graduated with a degree in Natural Resource Management. To gain experience, she serves with Big Sky Watershed Corps and the Broadwater Conservation District in Montana to help NRCS with watershed restoration.

Katie’s accomplishments include: creating outreach tools for aquatic invasive species education, reporting county information on drought resiliency data, and helping Deep Creek see marked improvements in water quality.

“I can easily say that this has been the most rewarding experience that I have ever had,” Katie said. “I have grown and learned more in my year and a half here, than I ever did in my four years earning my college degree.”

NRCS’ Earth Team program allows anyone 14 and older to volunteer. Whether a recent graduate, transitioning to a new career, or contributing your professional knowledge after retirement, connect with an Earth Team volunteer coordinator to learn more.