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Quarterly Earth Team Volunteer Coordinator’s Meeting Minutes–February 4, 2015

The Earth Team Volunteer Coordinators’ teleconference was held on February 4, 2015.

Attendees were as follows

  • State Volunteer Coordinator–Jan Klaus
  • Area Volunteer Coordinators
    • Toni Flax (Area 1)
    • Leslie Spikes (Area 2
    • Mike Van Wyk (Area 3)
    • Mechelle Foos (Area 4)
    • Diane Edwards (State Office [SO] and Plant Materials Center [PMC])

The teleconference/meeting began at 10 a.m.

Jan welcomed everyone. Minutes from the July 20, 2014, meeting were reviewed and approved.

All action items from the July meeting have been completed.

State ET Coordinator Report–Jan Klaus

  • Assisted with the Heartland Regional Envirothon at Rock Springs, July 21-25, 2014, and worked with volunteers during the week to carry out the event; answered questions from the area coordinator regarding hours captured during mentioned event
  • Developed the 4th quarter “Did You Know” that was sent out to all employees including partner employees on August 4, 2014
  • Reviewed July meeting minutes and submitted to SO for publishing to the Web site
  • Sent Web site update for new coordinator on October 14, 2014
  • Compiled all award nominations with the appropriate cover sheet and sent nominations to SO committee
  • Prepared the Chief’s Cup write-up and submitted all state award winners to the National Earth Team Office
  • Ordered 2014 Earth Team award plaques
  • Prepared all letters for award winners and nominees for State Conservationist’s (STC) signature
  • Mailed out all Earth Team recognition items and letters for the fiscal year (FY) 14 award winners and nominees to the appropriate offices as discussed with area coordinators
  • Trained new coordinator, Mike Van Wyk, in Emporia on November 12, 2014
  • Participated in an Operation War Fighter’s Internship Fair with Bruce Wells, Special Emphasis Program Manager for Veterans, on November 13, 2014, at Fort Riley
  • Developed article for Lody Black, National award winner, for posting to the Kansas Web site
  • Set schedule for FY15 Meetings
  • Participated in the 1st quarter National Earth Team teleconference
  • Currently working on putting together a PowerPoint for the 2014 Earth Team award winners for the Kansas Web site
  • Finalized the 2014 Earth Team Business Plan
  • Prepared the 1st quarter reports and set agenda for the 1st quarter Earth Team Coordinators’ meeting
  • Answered questions and requests from coordinators and the National Volunteer Office on an as needed basis

Area Coordinator Reports

Area 1–Toni Flax

  • October 2014
    • Forwarded email from Jan about needing pictures
    • Worked with Heather at Atwood to set her up in the tracking system and orientate her about the Earth Team program
  • November 2014
    • Gathered awards information and information on what recognition items were needed and when they would be presented
  • December 2014
    • Participated in the teleconference for a national committee on “Employees who started as Earth Team Volunteers”; I am now the Chair of this committee
    • Participated in the national quarterly teleconference and reported on the “Employees who started as Earth Team Volunteers” Committee
    • Sent out email for everyone to get hours in tracking system for the 1st quarter
  • January 2015
    • Forwarded the email from the National Office regarding the issues with entering hours into groups
    • Sent an email out to the office who had zero hours in the tracking system
    • Forwarded the email from that national office about the tracking system issues being fixed
    • Provided assistance to Heather at Atwood on some questions she had on groups
    • Provided assistance to Cindy at Smith Center on issues she was having with entering group hours
    • Have had a few people report still having issues with entering hours in the groups, there seems to still be some isolated issues and I forwarded that to Jan and she forwarded it to the National Office

Area 2–Leslie Spikes

  • Final editing of award nominations to state level
  • Emailed 1st quarter reminder to enter hours for FY15 to all Area 2 staff and district managers
  • Correspondence to field and Jan for keepsake items for annual meetings and state award nominations
  • Throughout quarters—answered questions on eligible hours, volunteer tracking system, and counties with hours with “No Activity” in tracking system
  • Follow-up with one county who was having trouble meeting 60-hour goal
  • Gave Earth Team volunteer presentation at District Conservationists’ (DC) meeting in Pratt November 20, 2014; recognized area for total hours in 2014, top offices, and reviewed photo release form and information about updating their Management Unit (MU) Earth Team volunteer Needs Assessment
  • Correspondence to Ulysses MU and Meade field office to set up date for training in February or March
  • Provided Sheldon Hightower with Earth Team volunteer photos for a presentation

Area 3–Mike Van Wyk

  • With Joyce Wade, made final revisions to award nominations for Area 3
  • Met with Jan and Joyce on November 12th to go over ET handbook to review policies, procedures and general overview of the program
  • November 20th, gave Earth Team report at DC meeting—reported on FY14 accomplishments and reminded offices to report new hours for the 1st quarter.
  • Participated in the December 11th online national teleconference
  • Iola Field Office had high school student that was interested in exploring NRCS as a career; provided materials & information to the DC about the apprenticeship program and how to get started
  • Made end of year solicitations to the area offices to enter hours for the 1st quarter and made status updates of the reporting tool issues
  • Assisted two new conservation district managers in getting login access to the Earth Team Tracking Tool
  • Checked hours for the area and verified hours as needed
  • Clifford Thornton, ASTC-FO, presented Miami County Conservation District with their award at their annual meeting

Area 4–Mechelle Foos

  • Finished award nominations for five nominees in Area 4
  • Organized electronic timesheets
  • Sent an email on October 2, 2014, to offices reminding them to get FY14 hours entered in tracking system
  • Sent an email on December, 24, 2014, requesting 1st quarter hours be entered in tracking system.
  • Worked with several district managers to get hours entered in tracking system.
  • Notified 10 offices by email and/or phone of entries in tracking system with “no activity” labels and assisted them in getting them corrected
  • Created Heartland Envirothon article for the Kansas Showcase
  • Completed a volunteer needs assessment in the Abilene/Lincoln (6 counties) MUs on November 3, 2014
  • Checked volunteer folders in five counties in the Abilene/Lincoln MUs
  • Gave a 15 minute volunteer program presentation at the Area 4 all personnel meeting on November 8, 2014
  • Presented award nomination letters and keepsakes to Area 4 award nominees at the Area 4 all personnel meeting—Gerald Gray, Tom Roth, Heartland Envirothon
  • Tom Roth presented Gary and Mark Sylvester their award nomination letters and keepsakes
  • Lody Black was chosen as the winner of the National Earth Team Individual Award
  • Arranged for Eric Banks, STC, to present Lody Black with his winning award nomination letter and keepsake

State Office/PMC–Diane Edwards

  • No report

State and National Awards

The state award nominations and winners were discussed to see if all keepsakes have been presented. All keepsakes have been presented. Jan is working on a PowerPoint of Kansas award winners. Kansas had two national award winners. Joyce Wade won the national volunteer coordinator award and Lody Black won the national individual volunteer award. Lody’s picture and article are on the Kansas NRCS Web site.

Final Numbers for FY2014

The Central Region led the nation in number of volunteers and hours with 10,340 volunteers and 100,530 hours. Kansas led the central region in number of volunteers and hours. Kansas was 1 of 12 states nationwide that had 100% office participation.

First Quarter Status Reports

Reports not printed due to Earth Team tracking system not working properly.

Apprentice Program Update

Area 2 has a new apprentice in Ashland and Area 3 has a new apprentice.

ET Quarterly Teleconference

  • Reviewed notes from National Teleconference held on December 11, 2014
  • National Volunteer Week–April 12-18, 2015
  • Committee formed to find Earth Team volunteers that became NRCS employees–Toni Flax is chairman of committee
  • National Office wants state goals for FY15 National Business Plan; Kansas will submit a goal of each area coordinator reviewing six field office’s Earth Team records; Jan is working on a checklist to use when coordinators go to field offices to check the Earth Team records
  • The Earth Team tracking system was moved to a new server and has some issues that need corrected

Business Plans

Jan is working on finalizing the FY14 business plan and creating the FY15 business plan.

Earth Team Tracking System

The tracking system and any issues we are having was discussed.

State Earth Team Coordinator Vacancy

The State Earth Team Coordinator vacancy announcement has been released and closes February 20, 2015. Jan will no longer be responsible for the State Earth Team Coordinator duties after September 30, 2015. She will, however, help the new State Earth Team Coordinator transition into their role.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 p.m.

The next meeting will be held on April 2, 2015, in the SO Conference Room in Salina at 10 a.m.