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Earth Team Showcase—Osborne Field Office

Osborne field office staff: Rodney Boland, Robbin Dibble, Steve Sprick, and Marcus Griffin.The Osborne Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Field Office and the Osborne County Conservation District are big supporters of youth.  It is through conservation education that NRCS gets the message out about their mission—“Helping People Help the Land.”  Not only to future farmers and ranchers, but to urban youth who have never heard of natural resources before.

Last year, the Osborne Field Office staff, along with the help of 38 volunteers, donated 303 hours and touched the lives of 427 local students.  For this effort, they received the 2015 Earth Team outstanding field office award for Kansas and the Central NRCS Region that covers 11 states.

Throughout the year, volunteers were recruited to be presenters, guides, and food providers for WACKY (Wildlife, Agriculture, Conservation, Knowledge for Youth) Day and Nicodemus Youth Camps.  The field office used the Kansas NRCS Apprentice program to train a high school student on natural resources so their assistance could be provided on field days.  The Nicodemus Youth Camps bring inner-city minority students from California, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, and Texas—many who have no idea where their food comes from.     

Field days give students “hands on” opportunities at the various natural resource stations including water quality testing, invertebrate sampling in the river, fish netting and shocking—all designed to show the importance of water quality to wildlife, and to learn about local mammals and native plants.

The Earth Team program has given the field office the opportunity to work with individual volunteers and to gain and strengthen partnerships with other governmental organizations that have the same desire to get the word out on conservation and the Earth Team program.