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2017 Earth Team Award Winners

Award WinnersCongratulations to the following 2017 National and Regional Earth Team Award Winners!

National Earth Team Award Winners:

Individual Volunteer Award:         Glenn Kilmer, Holly, Colorado 

Earth Team Volunteer Glenn KilmerIn 2017, Glenn Kirmer logged in 1,092 Earth Team hours by assisting the office with conservation planning and implementation.  With his assistance, the Holly office was able to successfully evaluate 29 EQIP applications and 7 CStP applications. Not only did he assist the Holly field office, but he also lent a hand in creating a partnership with the Lamar field office.  Glenn was able to assist the Lamar office with conservation planning to obligate 20 EQIP contracts and 4 RCPP EQIP contracts.  He has also supported the soil conservationist in the Holly office by helping to deliver an "Ag in the classroom" program to the Holly kindergarten and first grade classes in conjunction with a partnership formed with the Holly Library Board. Students were taught topics such as the importance of wildlife habitat, farm to fork concepts, and other general Ag topics.  He has also stepped up and provided one on one training to the Holly Future Farmers of America (FFA) for rangeland judging and basic soils.       

Group Volunteer Award:              Janet & Paul Bryant, Tolland Connecticut

Janet and Paul BryantJanet and Paul Bryant contributed a combined 368 hours to NRCS in Connecticut. Janet was a career soil scientist with NRCS and Bureau of Land Management. Paul was a range conservationist with US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Upon signing up as Earth Team Volunteers, they both “hit the ground running”, working with NRCS in the field as well as helping manage enormous amounts of outreach and organizing educational materials in the office. They completed vegetation plots with the CT Agricultural Experiment Station on a long-term forest ecology monitoring project in its 90th year. They assisted with preparation of practice and contest soil judging pits with the University of Rhode Island and CT/RI/MA NRCS staff for the 2017 Northeast Regional Soil Judging Contest. They also diligently assisted with full characterization sampling of 18 soil pedons, (smallest unit of soil that contains all the soil horizons of a soil type) near Harvard Forest for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) with the Tolland CT MLRA Soil Survey Office.                   

Volunteer Service Award-Chief’s CupTennessee

TN- National Chief Cup winnerIn fiscal year 2017, Tennessee Earth Team (TET) Program had 8,364 volunteers that contributed 33,979 hours of service to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The value amount of TET volunteers contributed was $752,974.64. That is a 282% increase in TET volunteers and a 64% increase in Earth Team hours from the previous year.  Whenever you have a successful year like this, it stems from great leadership and that starts with our 4 Volunteer Area Coordinators and our 4 Area Conservationists.


NACD/NRCS Earth Team Award: Monroe County SWCD Bloomington, Indiana 

Indiana-National Earth Team NACD AwardWhen a former Monroe County Soil Water Conservation District (SWCD) university fellow began her quest to find organic, locally grown food, she hit a brick wall. So, she came up with the idea to create an online clearinghouse where community members can go to find locally sourced food at the touch of a button.  Since they had little knowledge about how to create an interactive web and mobile application, they contacted a local service-learning group at Indiana University, the Serve-IT program, for assistance.  Serve-IT exists to serve local non-profit organizations with a wide range of technological services provided by a staff of students, faculty, and employees. The Monroe County SWCD collaborated with the Serve-IT team to develop a web and mobile application called Mark-IT that connects producers and consumers, promotes conservation and organic efforts of the producers and educates the public about sustainable agriculture.  Seven Earth Team Volunteers spent 1,248 hours designing, developing and executing this program. Once the program is up and running, Monroe County SWCD plans to promote the site at local farmer’s markets to sign new vendors up and build the database.                             

Partnership Earth Team Award: Sandusky County "Exploring Your Backyard"                                                                   Fremont, Ohio 

Ohio-Partnership Award winnerThe Sandusky County, Ohio, Exploring Your Backyard (EYB) event is an annual educational program focusing on agricultural and natural resources conservation. This program is designed for fourth-grade students and serves all the schools in Sandusky County. To accommodate all the students, this event is held over two days. The event is organized through a partnership of the Sandusky County Soil and Water Conservation District, Fremont Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Ohio State University Extension office in Sandusky County. The students learn about agriculture, conserving the environment, the importance of conservation, and about the people who are working to conserve our natural resources. The fourth-grade students and their teachers are led to the different educational stations by volunteer high school students from the local FFA chapters.  Some of this year’s stations included aquatic life, pollinators, birds, farm animals, row crops, water quality, forestry, fruits and vegetables, orchards, recycling, reptiles, soils, the water cycle, weather, and wildlife. 

NRCS Employee Award:                   Curtis W. Scheele, Holdredge, Nebraska   

ET NRCS Employee winner Curtis Scheele, Kevin Breece and NE State Conservationist Craig DericksonCurtis W. Scheele is the NRCS Water Management Specialist located in Holdrege, Nebraska. His duties are to provide information about Irrigation Water Management (IWM) techniques to irrigators in the Tri-Basin Natural Resources District (TBNRD), (An NRD is similar to a Soil and Water Conservation District) to protect water quantity, quality, and the environment. Curtis is the lead volunteer contact within the TBNRD. In fiscal year 2017, Curtis recruited and utilized 20 volunteers providing 404 hours of service.  All the interns and volunteers received hands-on, on the job training from Curtis. Prior to the interns and volunteers work, schedules and tasks were developed by Curtis and provided to all parties involved. The training helped them all gain experience and knowledge about our natural resources and what NRCS is about. This experience also taught other NRCS employees about the benefits of volunteers.            

Chief’s Field Award:                              Rapid City Field Office, South Dakota 

Pictured: Tate Lantz-Assistant State Conservationist, Cassie Bell-Soil Conservationist Tech, Ryan Willert State E.T. Coordinator, Matt Odden-District Conservationist, Diane Rensch-Area Coordinator E.T.Matthew Odden, District Conservationist, and Cassandra Bell, Soil Conservation Technician, at the Rapid City, South Dakota Field Office (FO) have worked with local high schools and technical schools with a variety of career and job shadow based classes. The students spent approximately 4-8 hours a week for 4 weeks at each business or workplace learning the functions of the various jobs. Rather than having students hang out at the office or job shadow, Matthew created a curriculum for the students that  provided students with real-world examples of the work performed by a variety of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) disciplines. The curriculum made it fun for students to learn about NRCS careers and disciplines, soils, plant identification, cropland, range and engineering principals. The hope is that by showing these students the hands-on aspect of the day-to-day activities of the NRCS, it will spark the interest of students to pursue a career with NRCS. The Earth Team Program has been one successful avenue that South Dakota NRCS and specifically the Rapid City FO staff is using for preparing and grooming possible employees for rewarding career opportunities. 


Regional Earth Team Award Winners:

NRCS Employee Award:         

Central Region:              Curtis W. Scheele   Holdrege NRCS Field Office, Holdrege, NE

Northeast Region:           Abigail McClain  Columbus State Office, Columbus, Ohio

Southeast Region:          Wayne Coates  Humphreys County SWCD  Waverly, Tennessee

West Region:                 Sylvia Hickenlooper  Longmont Field Office  Longmont, Colorado

Chief’s Field Award:               

Central Region:              Rapid City Field Office  Rapid City, South Dakota

Northeast Region:          Gallia Field Office   Gallia, Ohio

Southeast Region:          Winchester Field Office  Winchester, Tennessee

West Region:                  Longmont Field Office  Longmont, Colorado

Individual Volunteer Award:  

Central Region:              Anna Walter  Onalaska MLRA SSO, NRCS   Onalaska, Wisconsin

Northeast Region:          Jim Holley   NRCS Area 1   Findlay, Ohio

Southeast Region:          Lacy Bellanger  Golden Meadow Plant Materials Center  Galliano, Louisiana

West Region:                 Glenn Kilmer  Holly Field Office  Holly, Colorado

Group Volunteer Award:          

Central Region:              Tri-Basin Ag Water Management Network, Holdrege, NE

Northeast Region:          Janet and Paul Bryant  Connecticut State Office,Tolland, Connecticut

Southeast Region:          Rivanna Conservation Alliance  Louisa Service Center,  Louisa, Virginia

West Region:                 South Mountain High School Public Affairs Team  Arizona State Office  Phoenix, Arizona


To view past year's winners, select the year: 2016201520142013, 2012