The 2012 Indiana Earth Team Volunteer Award goes to the Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District and NRCS Staff. Indiana's Acting NRCS State Conservationist Roger Kult presented the award to Jim Brown, Washington County District Supervisor; Dot Brown, Washington County Earth Team Volunteer; Whitney Sauerheber, Mill Creek Blue River Watershed Coordinator; and Ruth Hackman, NRCS District Conservationist for Washington County.
Soil health was a high priority in Indiana in 2012. This year, it is a national priority for NRCS. The need for knowledge about soil health is a huge goal to attain in a field office dealing with a heavy Farm Bill program workload.
Washington County SWCD and local Earth Team volunteers are showing people how to improve the health of their soil, and what happens to the soil when they use good conservation practices.
In response, the Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District developed a Soil Health Group to offer opportunities to a wide sector of individuals in the region. These opportunities spanned from small children to urban homeowners to the agricultural producer.
Last year Earth Team volunteers donated over 348 hours and reached over 314 individuals with the message about the importance of soil health and its impact on their community, backyard, company, and bottom line, while helping NRCS attain their goals and objectives of addressing this priority item.
The Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District has shown great leadership in supporting the soil health movement and helping NRCS accomplish its conservation goals. Soil health is a high priority for NRCS.
The Earth Team was established in 1981 when Congress passed legislation allowing the Natural Resources Conservation Service to use volunteers in all of its programs. During Fiscal Year 2012, approximately 1,526 Indiana Earth Team volunteers donated almost 24,000 hours of their time. This work added more than $522,960 (or nearly nine staff years) that supported conservation in over half of the field offices around Indiana.
The three-day Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs concludes tomorrow at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown with the IASWCD's annual Legislative Breakfast and Annual Business Meeting.