Ag Student winds national ‘Earth Team’ award

By Shelby Horton

Ag student Lody Black has received the National Earth Team Award for Individual Volunteer for 2015.

Black received this award because of his volunteer work at the National Resources Conservation Service, where he compiled 262.5 hours. Black joined during high school at Clay Center, as a work-study class for an hour and half of class credit in the fall, and three hours of credit in the spring. He worked as an Earth Teams volunteer at NRCS.

Black attended to many jobs such as checking fields, assisting with office paperwork, and completing reserve program status reviews. He also volunteered at educational programs that included Range Youth, and the Envirothon Camp. While, Black never was bot paid for his time he did gain experience, and valued the education he learned from it.

“It made my choice for a major solid,” Black said, “It taught me a lot about the job, and what I wanted to do with my life.”

Mechelle Foos, the NRCS Earth Team coordinator for Northeast Kansas, and NRCS supervisor, Gerald Gray, nominateed him for a volunteer award. In 2014 Black was the winner of the Individual Volunteer award for the state of Kansas, which later led him to the National Individual Volunteer Award one of four such awards given out across the nation.

“When they told me I had won the national award I was in shock,” Black said, “I kept asking if it was really true.”

Several of Black’s instructors said they admired Black’s hard work and devotion to volunteering at NRCS. The experience he gained there affected him in a positive way.

“Lody is one of my best students,” said Steve Sears, a HCC agricultural instructor, “He’s a very hard-working student, who cares a lot about other people.”

Sears said HCC is fortunate to have a student like Black on campus, for he is passionate about wanting to help ranchers, and with his work in the NRCS, he has superior leadership abilities.

Black encourages other people to volunteer at NRCS, since it helped him out in his life.

“If you’re looking for a career, the NRCS will not only teach you but will help open your eyes,” Black said.

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