|VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism|
~ November 2006 ~ Topics
Get Outdoors Nevada
The National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service manage more than seven million acres in southern Nevada. While the four agencies maintain independent volunteer programs including recruitment, training and recognition, they recognized that a united volunteerism effort would be less confusing and have a stronger community impact than four individual efforts. Supported by Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) funds and administered by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Public Lands Institute, the interagency volunteer program, "Get Outdoors Nevada," has established a community connection to volunteers throughout Southern Nevada.
The interagency website http://www.getoutdoorsnevada.org provides one point of contact for community members to research opportunities, register for special events and apply for volunteer positions available on all public lands surrounding Las Vegas, Nevada. The program exceeded volunteer recruitment goals established for five scheduled conservation initiatives over a 12 month period, recruiting over 678 volunteers who contributed a total of 3,010 hours. The current number of interagency volunteers in the data base stands at 1,350, with a combined hour total of 249,095. Volunteer hours are combined for all four agencies, which enables the interagency volunteer program to recognize total work performed on all public lands.
On October 28, 2005, the Southern Nevada Interagency Volunteer Program held its first annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. Over 200 volunteers attended with all four of the Managers of the federal lands agencies in attendance to honor the volunteers and the work they did, with awards and gifts.
A united recruiting program introduces volunteers to Southern Nevada public lands while providing the opportunity to educate and motivate community members to help protect and conserve our natural resources. Increased commitment to stewardship of public lands will ultimately lead to a reduction in litter and desert dumping and reduce vandalism of cultural sites.
Community members of all ages are provided the opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of the surrounding public lands, as well as opportunities to utilize public lands for recreation.
Community members can more easily identify volunteer opportunities through one point of contact versus four. Also, combining agency resources through joint recruitment, training and recognition, results in more efficient use of human and financial resources, while shared knowledge supports program improvement in training and experience.
A mutual camaraderie has developed among the volunteers, resulting in an improved awareness of the natural, cultural and historical resources in southern Nevada.
Interested in more information? Check out our online bookstore for: "Keeping Volunteers," by Steve McCurley and Rick Lynch, available in downloadable PDF format.
Before venturing to the nonprofit sector, Melissa Heinlein-Edonick spent time working for financial, IT, and pharmaceutical companies. With her business and marketing background, she took those skills and worked for Junior Achievement and structured a formal volunteer program at Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy before going into healthcare at Abington Memorial Hospital as the Assistant Director of Volunteer Resources. Her latest adventure is Chief, Voluntary Service at Philadelphia VA Medical Center. Melissa is past president and current board member of the Delaware Valley of Association for Volunteer Administration and current member-at-large for PSDVS, Eastern Chapter. She serves as an advisor for a grassroots organization Spark the Wave to encourage youth volunteerism. She holds a MA in Communications from West Chester University, MS in Administration of Human Services from Chestnut Hill College, and is a certified administrator of volunteer services through ASDVS. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Human Development at Marywood University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, writing, sports, and exploring the outdoors. She prides herself when she talks about interacting with volunteers 5-99 years old horses and dogs included.
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