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News Release

Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

Colette Kessler, State Public Affairs Officer
(605) 352-1200

Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

HURON, SD, April 17, 2017–USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 23-29, 2017 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 (FY) 2016, more than 28,500 people donated 3,012,219 hours of service to NRCS valued at over $7.1 million.

“Volunteers work closely with our staff, and they play an important role in our state’s conservation work,” said Jeff Zimprich, State Conservationist, Huron.

Last year in South Dakota (SD), 190 volunteers donated 2,328 service hours toward natural resources conservation. “Our Volunteers are valuable in every aspect of conservation. We are especially proud of our volunteer ‘Voices for Soil Health’ who are speaking out for the soil resource by hosting tours, speaking at workshops, and sharing their story of steps they have taken toward healthier resources,” says Zimprich. “The Soil Health Voices have established a network across SD for people interested in expanding their learning about soils, especially in the areas of cover crops, biology, and transitioning from conventional to soil health management practices for both cropland and grassland.”

Earth Team is a program that partners volunteers with NRCS employees. It 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. Earth Team 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.

Earth Team Volunteers allow NRCS to stretch available resources and help put additional conservation practices on the ground. Volunteer efforts help improve land and wildlife habitat and contribute to cleaner water and air for everyone.

Learn more about the Earth Team Volunteer Program online at: or by calling (toll-free) 888-526-3227. For more information on NRCS, please visit


*Note:  The Value of Volunteer Time to the Agency is $23.56/hour as established by the Independent Sector and utilized by the Federal Interagency Team for Volunteerism.