LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

MADISON

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Wisconsin celebrated National Volunteer Week April 10-16, by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation. An appreciation ceremony for Wisconsin volunteers and employees was held April 11, 2016, at the Leopold Center and farm in Baraboo.

Earth Team is the agency's volunteer workforce, and nationally, in fiscal year 2015, more than 23,800 people donated 294,306 hours of service to NRCS valued at over $6.8 million. In 2015, Wisconsin had 31 Earth Team volunteers contributing 2,918 hours helping Wisconsin NRCS and our partners with our critical conservation work.

'Volunteers work closely with our staff, and they play an important role in our state's conservation work,' said Jimmy Bramblett.

Anna Walter, volunteer out of the Southwest Area Office, and Robert Plawski, volunteer out of the Medford Service Center, received awards for top volunteer hours.

Active District Conservationists in each Wisconsin region received awards: Merrie Schamberger, Northeast Area; Jon Field, Southwest Area; Todd Mau, Northwest Area; and David Gundlach, Southeast Area. All other active 2015 Earth Team volunteers and staff were also honored.

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 a range of services from conservation technical assistance to teaching and generating awareness about conservation through community projects.

Earth Team Volunteers allow NRCS to stretch available resources and help put additional conservation practices on the ground. Volunteer efforts help improve land and wildlife habitat and contribute to cleaner water and air for everyone.

Learn more about the Earth Team Volunteer Program online at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/earthteam or by calling (toll-free) 888-526-3227. For more information on NRCS visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.

Read or Share this story: http://www.wisfarmer.com/story/news/wis-farmer/2016/04/13/earth-team-conservationist-efforts-honored/87313462/