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News Release

Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

Chris Coulon

COLUMBUS, Mar. 31, 2014– Last year, State Conservationist Terry Cosby issued a challenge to Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employees to grow the volunteer workforce, called the Earth Team, by recruiting at least one volunteer in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.  Not only did employees respond; they created the largest Earth Team volunteer corps in the history of NRCS in Ohio!  Cosby is celebrating the work these volunteers have contributed to conservation in Ohio during National Volunteer Week, April 6-13, 2014.

Earth Team volunteers extend NRCS services by giving their time, talent, and energy to help NRCS employees and customers protect and improve natural resources on agricultural and forest lands. In Ohio, 2,700 Earth Team volunteers donated 22,550 hours of service valued at $500,000* in fiscal year 2013.  That’s a whopping 400% increase in volunteers and 200% increase in volunteer hours from the previous year!  Nationally, 22,800 Earth Team volunteers donated 330,000 hours of service in fiscal year 2013.

“I’m proud of my staff and the effort they made to grow Ohio’s Earth Team.  I’m also grateful to all the volunteers who gave of themselves in service to Ohio residents and environment,” Cosby said. “Our volunteers accomplished a great variety of work, from planting wetlands and gardens, to removing debris along roadways.  Our volunteers do more than projects; many work alongside our staff in our offices or on a farm assisting with conservation planning.  We have no shortage of work for volunteers!”

Legislation passed in 1985 established the Earth Team program.  The program provides a way for people 14 and older to volunteer in their communities with NRCS. Since the NRCS has an office in almost every county in the country, volunteers can work where they live. 

Volunteers range from retirees to students needing an internship for their degree.  Job seekers, including many new Veterans, gain valuable experience and references for their resumes.  NRCS hires people with education and experience in a wide range of fields, including engineering, communication, human resources, finance, management, IT, and clerical support to name a few.  If you’re interested, contact us to see how your skills and experience may help the conservation customers we serve.   

Learn more about the Earth Team by calling (toll-free) 888-526-3227 or online 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.