Jennifer Dwyer, Earth Team Volunteer with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was honored as the 2018 Texas Earth Team Volunteer of the Year for her efforts of going above and beyond to serve. Since Dwyer started volunteering in 2014, she has donated more than 1,100 hours helping NRCS accomplish its mission of “Helping People Help the Land.”
“It has been my pleasure to work as an Earth Team Volunteer the last four years,” said Dwyer. “The knowledge I have gained working alongside Kristi Oats and the board of the Delta SWCD #443 has been invaluable. I have become a better land steward through my volunteer time.”
Jennifer provides technical assistance with NRCS and Delta Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) staff in the field and in the office with farmers and ranchers. Her assistance has resulted in an increase of conservation plans and practices being implemented within the county.
NRCS District Conservationist Kristi Oats in Cooper says her lead volunteer is always there to take on any opportunity that comes her way, especially when it comes to sharing the conservation message. “She is willing to get in front of any size audience to share her conservation passion with others.”
Dwyer speaks to various civic organizations promoting NRCS and SWCD technical and financial assistance, including the Lion’s Club, Delta County Extension Service meetings and Delta Economic Development board meetings. Due to her outreach efforts, a partnership was developed with NRCS with The Monarchs of Delta, a civic organization promoting pollinator habitat for Monarch butterflies.
“The most rewarding is the time we spend in the classroom, showing our future conservation stewards the fun of soil and water conservation,” said Dwyer. “It’s rewarding to be out in the community and be asked questions regarding best practices or have a bright-eyed student remembering a program we presented in school. The value of volunteering is both what is given and what is received.”
She also assists with 4-H and FFA field days and helps NRCS staff set up wildlife contests as well as working with students the day of the contest. This year she volunteered to travel station-to-station with a young lady with special needs to assist her through completion of the contest.
“We could not have accomplished half of what we do without Jennifer’s assistance,” said Oats. “Thanks to Jennifer’s work, adults and students have gained beneficial knowledge about the importance of conservation, and the NRCS and SWCD’s purpose and mission.”
For more information on becoming an Earth Team Volunteer, visit www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.
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