This is National Volunteer Week and the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation is celebrating.
The agency will honor Earth Team volunteers for their dedicated service and commitment to conservation, noting that the NRCS volunteer workforce of more than 22,000 people donated 330,084 hours of service to conservation, a labor contribution worth about $7.3 million.
Kansas NRCS State Conservationist, Eric Banks, said Earth Team volunteers are making an environmental impact. Last year, 2,582 volunteers donated 19,190 hours in Kansas.
"That's worth $418,150 of benefit to our customers and savings to the taxpayers," said Banks. "These are impressive numbers and we are grateful for the help, but also recognize that more conservation work needs to be done."
About Earth Team
Created in 1985, the Earth Team program offers many opportunities to individuals over the age of 14 interested in helping improve the Nation's natural resources. Earth Team volunteers help NRCS conservationists offer private landowners and others a range of services, from conservation technical assistance to teaching and generating awareness about conservation through the use of educational programs.
"The NRCS theme for this year, Earth Team Volunteers Making a Better Tomorrow Today, really does state it best," said Banks. "We couldn't do our job without them. Earth Team volunteers allow us to stretch available resources and help us put additional conservation practices on the ground. Their volunteer efforts help us improve our land and wildlife habitats, clean our water and air, and help us improve the environment for everyone."
Motivating additional volunteers
Eric said he 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. They take on a variety of conservation assignments and many Earth Team volunteers tell us they find their volunteer work enjoyable and personally very rewarding."
More information on NRCS is available online.