This week, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service hails Earth Team volunteer efforts, throughout the nation, during National Volunteer Week. Our theme, “Volunteers Improve Today for Tomorrow,” uses the week of April 15-21, 2018 to show gratitude to Earth Team volunteers for their superb service to conservation.
The Earth Team is the agency’s volunteer workforce. This past fiscal year, more than 34,309 people donated 325,601 hours of service to NRCS. Volunteers worked alongside NRCS to provide resources to farmers and landowners to aid them with conservation – a service value of more than $7.1 million.
“Volunteers work closely with our staff, and play an important role in our state’s conservation work,” said Curtis Elke, Acting State Conservationist in Minnesota. Earth Team volunteers in Minnesota assisted the agency with conservation education programs, field inspections for conservation practices, engineering surveys to address soil erosion, and many other important tasks that helped NRCS in its mission to provide assistance to local landowners.
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 with a range of services, from conservation technical assistance to teaching and generating awareness about conservation through community projects.
Earth Team volunteers are invaluable as they expand NRCS’ efforts to help protect and conserve the nation’s natural resources.
Volunteers dedicate their time and talents to various conservation activities, from helping farmers prevent soil erosion, protecting water resources and watersheds against flood damage, to improving the condition of grazing land, and enhancing wildlife habitat.
NRCS’ mission to “Help the People Help the Land” is strengthened by the passion Earth Team volunteers bring to the important conservation work they do every day.