Louisiana black bear cubs.
The Louisiana black bear was once abundant in the Mississippi River Delta. But by the 1950s, the population was severely diminished in Louisiana, mainly due to habitat loss. Luckily, a voluntary land conservation program offered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is helping this threatened subspecies of the American black bear stage a comeback. Read more »
By Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Yesterday, I had the amazing opportunity to survey the northern Everglades, a vast watershed of incredible beauty. USDA prides itself on protecting natural resources across our nation and the Fisheating Creek Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) project offers us another opportunity to do just that. Read more »
Dick Tremain, NRCS Iowa
Amy Plavak of Hillsboro, Oregon, used to lead multi-million dollar projects as a certified professional project manager. Now she is one of 36,000 Earth Team volunteers working to improve the environment and restore wetlands which can clean water, reduce flooding and provide wildlife habitat.
Earth Team is the volunteer program of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS helps private landowners, farmers and ranchers conserve, maintain and improve natural resources and the environment.
Plavak joined the Earth Team and learned about wetlands, the NRCS Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and worked with NRCS conservationists on soil-saving and water-enhancing projects. She eventually became responsible for updating the wetlands restoration specifications for six WRP projects totaling over 1,000 acres and preparing a detailed agreement and construction bid package for a 350-acre WRP project. Plavak’s volunteer work is credited with saving the government money and allowing the WRP project to be completed on time.
Plavak was the 2009 Earth Team Individual Volunteer Award winner for NRCS.
Michele Eginoire, national Earth Team volunteer coordinator, says all Earth Team volunteers make a difference. “We try to tailor our volunteer jobs to our volunteers’ likes and abilities. Their work can include field work, administrative support and conservation education. Our volunteers are a diverse group 14 years and older who support NRCS conservation efforts,” said Eginoire. “Every Earth Team volunteer makes a contribution and every volunteer has the potential to improve the land as much as Amy Plavak.”
NRCS has over 3,000 offices nationwide. To learn more about being an Earth Team volunteer in your area, call 1-888-LANDCARE.
Earth Team Volunteer Amy Plavak is credited with improving the environment and
saving the government money near her Oregon home.