INDIANAPOLIS — During National Volunteer Week, April 18-21, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) would like to thank its Earth Team volunteers for their dedicated efforts amidst a challenging year.
The Earth Team is NRCS’ volunteer workforce. This past fiscal year, more than 14,400 people nationwide donated 119,679 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 $3 million*. In Indiana, more than 1,300 volunteers contributed 6,613 hours saving NRCS upwards of $168,000.
“Volunteers work closely with our staff and play an important role in our state’s conservation work,” said Indiana NRCS State Conservationist, Jerry Raynor. “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.”
This year, Indiana NRCS is excited to announce Allana Whiteside as the 2020 National NRCS Earth Team Individual Volunteer award recipient for her commitment to assisting the Bartholomew County Service Center with her innovative pollinator project. As a high school senior, Allana was required to complete a senior project where it was recommended students learn new skills while serving their community.
Because of the influence of modern architecture throughout the city of Columbus, Ind., Whiteside set out to learn metal working skills. She then used those skills to build a pollinator habitat which included both a metal and wood component. The main habitat structure has space for moths, butterflies, ladybugs and bees to escape from the elements and lay eggs.
Along with the main structure, there are plants for caterpillars to feed on around the base of the structure. Whiteside’s project was placed at the Bartholomew County fairgrounds as part of their existing Conservation Corridor, which was built through a partnership between the soil and water conservation district and NRCS. She dedicated a total of 80 hours to the project. Read her full story by visiting: https://bit.ly/3e7M8Qf.
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.
— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
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