National Volunteer Week is April 10-16, 2011. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating National Volunteer week by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation.
Earth Team is the agency’s official volunteer resource. Nationally in fiscal year 2010, nearly 30,000 people donated 641,549 hours of service to NRCS worth $13.4 million.
NRCS State Conservationist Pat Leavenworth said last year 33 Earth Team volunteers donated over 5100 hours in Wisconsin.
“That’s worth $100,000 of benefit to our customers and the taxpayers,” said Leavenworth. “These are impressive numbers and we are grateful for the help, but we also recognize much more conservation work needs to be done.”
Earth Team is a program which partners volunteers with NRCS employees. It was created in 1985 and offers many opportunities to individuals over the age of 14 who are interested in volunteering and making a positive difference for the nation’s natural resources. Earth Team volunteers help NRCS conservationists provide everything from conservation technical assistance to teaching and generating awareness about conservation through the use of community projects.
“The NRCS theme for this year puts it best,” said Leavenworth. “Earth Team Volunteers are the Key Foundation of Conservation. They allow us to stretch available resources and help us put conservation practices on the ground. And, as Chief Dave White said a year ago, “Earth Team makes it possible for us to achieve our mission of Helping People Help the Land.”
Leavenworth also said she hopes National Volunteer Week will motivate others to volunteer to help NRCS with our conservation mission. “Earth Team volunteers work closely with our staff and they play an important role in our state’s conservation work. As a result, volunteers tell us our assignments are personally very rewarding.”
Information on the Earth Team Volunteer Program is available online at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/volunteers or by calling (toll-free) 888-526-3227. NRCS (originally called the Soil Conservation Service) has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America’s private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural resources since 1935. For more information on NRCS visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.
Since its founding in 1985, over a half-million Earth Team volunteers have donated 15.5 million hours to NRCS valued at $314 million.