Earth Team is the volunteer arm of the NRCS

In recent months, the Barton County Conservation District has encouraged the community to consider being part of the NRCS Earth Team in Barton County. So what is this earth team?

Earth Team is the volunteer arm of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. A lot of work goes into establishing good conservation practices on the ground, and without our volunteers, the agency would struggle to fulfill its mission.

Earth Team volunteers help the NRCS expand its resources in many ways to bring more quality conservation practices to our communities and surrounding countryside.

Some volunteers are growers who directly assist technicians in marking and implementing conservation practices. Volunteers can also help organize conservation events, take photos, write articles, speak to groups, and create artwork. At the office, volunteers can help create our newsletter, post on social media, and educate others about natural resource conservation.

In 2023, the Barton County Conservation District will encourage greater participation on the local Earth Team. Through participation in the USDA Peoples Garden Initiative, Barton County’s Victory Garden will provide opportunities for outreach and education.

Farmer-to-farmer get-togethers hosted by the Conservation District will also take place in 2023. Conservation District Supervisors will be present at these events where current topics related to agriculture will be discussed and feedback to help guide programming in our area will be collected. This will be another occasion where the help of volunteers will be appreciated.

Finally, in 2023, the district is looking to create a dedicated group to participate in the Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) Community Collaborative Network. There are currently several people in the county who are already in the network, and they are encouraged to be part of the group, but students are also encouraged to participate.

Earth Team volunteers are ages 14 and up. They can volunteer for a one-time event or regularly throughout the year. The first step to becoming an Earth Team volunteer is to contact the NRCS regional office and request to take a volunteer assessment. In Barton County, the Conservation District organizes the local Earth Team.

The assessment is a one-page form that asks for the volunteer’s contact details and interests, their time and availability, and a place where applicants under 18 can ask their parents for permission to participate in voluntary activities. .

Once the volunteer is on board, they may be covered by NRCS tort and liability insurance for the duration of their participation in designated volunteer activities. As they continue to provide their valuable service, they are eligible to be nominated for the Volunteer Awards presented annually by the NRCS.

Contact Veronica Coons at the Barton County Conservation District office for more information at bcconservation.dis@gmail.com or 620-792-3346. Feel free to stop by the office, located at 926 S. Patton Rd. in Great Bend to pick up a form and visit in person.

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