Service honors volunteers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating National Volunteer Week by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation.

National Volunteer Week started Sunday and runs through today.

The service’s field office in Brownstown has been able to work with more than 30 volunteers since 2015, and these volunteers have logged 149 hours of work time, according to a news release from the office.

Earth Team is the agency’s volunteer workforce. In fiscal year 2016, Indiana had about 2,480 volunteers donate more than 13,670 hours of service valued at more than $322,000. Indiana ranked sixth in the nation for number of volunteers and seventh in the nation for number of hours of service.

“Volunteers work closely with our staff, and they play an important role in our state’s conservation work,” state conservationist Jane Hardisty said. “Their work allows us to stretch available resources and puts additional conservation practices on the ground. This improves our customer service and improves the environment for all.”

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 landowners and others services from conservation technical assistance to teaching and generating awareness about conservation through community projects.

On the Web

For information about the Earth Team program, visit nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/people/volunteers.

For information about Indiana Natural Resources Conservation Service, visit www.in.nrcs.usda.gov.