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April 23-29 Is National Volunteer Week
Updated April 20, 2017 6:58 AM | Filed under: Natural Resources
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(BEDFORD) - April 23 through 29 is National Volunteer Week.

The Hoosier National Forest (NF) would like to take the opportunity afforded by this national week to recognize and thank the volunteers who use their time and talents to make the Hoosier NF a better place. The commitment Hoosier NF volunteers have to the Forest demonstrates how much they care about their community and the world around them.

Many Forest volunteers are individuals; friends and families clearing brush, small trees and debris from trails, as well as making sure some of the ponds are kept free of trash. Others are large groups; partnering with Forest Service employees on work days to create and maintain trails or improve areas for wildlife habitat. There is a massive effort once a year to clean the shore line of Monroe Lake. Eagle Scouts over the years have created and produced bridges, amphitheaters and signage. There have been students from three local high schools who come each week to assist with local projects.

The past two years the Hoosier NF has enjoyed having young men and women from AmeriCorps work on the Forest for a month. The work they accomplish each year kept the Hoosier NF on target with projects such as restoration of wildlife habitats and removal of non-native plant species. They also worked diligently in the fire program to prevent wildfires and were invaluable during the spring prescribed burns. This spring another Americorps crew has volunteered time to help with other projects such as recreation area cleanup and Forest clean-up.

Forest Supervisor Mike Chaveas noted that because of the willingness and hard work of volunteers in 2016, the Hoosier NF was able to accomplish much more than employees could have managed alone.

"Our 719 volunteers worked 9,222 hours in 2016," Chaveas says, "The value of that work totals $217,280, which doubles what was accomplished by volunteers in 2015."

He finds what people are willing to give back to their national forest humbling and inspiring. On behalf of the Hoosier NF team, thank you to all volunteers for their accomplishments and the impact they have on the Forest.

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