Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Earth Team Volunteers

       I received this in an email message recently from the USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS).  It is an example of how "doing your job" sometimes results in success beyond your expectations.  Here is the story that came with the picture: 
      "Created in 1985, the Earth Team has helped NRCS extend its resources nationwide. In fiscal year 2016, about 28,500 volunteers donated 302,219 hours of service valued at $7.1 million to NRCS, Activities include conservation education; conservation practice implementation; conservation planning and technical assistance; and outreach and communications. Sixty percent of NRCS's offices use the Earth Team."
       Now "The rest of the story". I was serving as Assistant Administrator for Management with the Soil Conservation Service  (SCS) in 1985 and my wife worked with the Forest Service in USDA. The Forest Service had approved legislation for their agency volunteer program. We had talked about our need for something similar in SCS (Name later changed to NRCS), and I asked Elaine to get a copy of their Legislative proposal. I utilized that proposal and wrote the first draft of what eventually became the Earth Team Volunteer Program. 
I certainly am not saying that I was the one to have caused the proposal to become a reality because that original draft would have gone through numerous revisions, edits, etc. It also would have involved our Agency Legislative Liaison working with people in USDA, OMB and "on the Hill" to bring it to reality.  But, it is heartening to know that I had a small part of something so successful.

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