Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation (OFSWCD) and its’ partner, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 12-18. The goal of this observance is to recognize people, who through volunteering, have furthered imaginative and productive ways to better their communities. Additionally, the hope is that by calling attention to these contributions, others will be inspired to emulate these public-spirited volunteers.“For NRCS, our organization nationwide has utilized more than 25,000 volunteers, who have donated 318,500 hours valued at $7.2 million,” said Terry Cosby, NRCS State Conservationist. “For Ohio, we were recognized with the ‘Chief’s Cup,’ the highest National Earth Team Program Award presented for excellence in leadership support, innovation, training, service and achievements. As a result of our focus on the Earth Team, Ohio led the country in both number of volunteers and volunteer hours with 5,310 volunteers and 38,285 hours of volunteer service valued at a whopping $861,418!”For the OFSWCD, “volunteers” created the conservation based organization more than 70 years ago. Throughout Ohio’s 88 counties, each Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is led by a locally-elected, volunteer board consisting of five supervisors. All in all, these 440 supervisors provide dedicated hours and multiple contributions to focused conservation programs and practices completed within each county making positive contributions to improving soil health, water quality and overall quality of life.“Nearly everyone has multiple claims on their time and resources. For many, it isn’t easy to find the time to be a volunteer,” said Kris Swartz, OFSWCD President and Wood County SWCD Supervisor. “National Volunteer Week is a good time to reflect on how each of us can contribute and to thank the many who have stepped up to make a positive impact on our natural resources.”For NRCS, the “Earth Team” program utilizes a volunteer workforce that is making a difference in every county in the nation. NRCS works with private landowners to improve soil quality, conserve water, improve air quality and enhance wildlife habitat. Earth Team volunteers work side-by-side with conservation professionals and are an integral part of the conservation partnership.The job of conserving our natural resources cannot be done by the government alone. Every individual can aid in reducing soil erosion, conserving our water and improving its quality, and developing pride in our country’s natural resource heritage.“Our organizations work hand-in-hand together to conserve our natural resources. Working together, our organizations are making a difference. But we cannot do this alone. We need our local constituencies to get engaged and involved in this worthy cause,” Swartz said.To learn more about volunteer efforts, please contact your county SWCD and/or NRCS office. Or contact either the OFSWCD office at 614.784.1900 or NRCS’ State Earth Team Coordinator Dianne Johnson at 614.255.2463, www.oh.nrcs.usda.gov.