TEAM RC&D, PART I: GEAUGA COUNTY’S JASON TRAGGIAI FIRST TEAM RC&D VOLUNTEER IN US

Jason Traggiai (left) receives TEAM RC&D recognition from RC&D President, Adrian Achtermann

In response to a loss of funding and manpower, the Western Reserve RC&D Council,  with support from the National and State of Ohio RC&D Associations, initiated a volunteer program known as TEAM RC&D.  The goal is to attract and reward professional staff members of federal, state, local and private organizations for giving their time to support the goals of RC&D.

Volunteers are being asked to “give a day to their local RC&D Council.”

Over 300 RC&D Councils are in place across the country.

The Western Reserve Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council is dedicated to planning, promoting and implementing conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in both rural and urban areas throughout the nine-county area they serve:  Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Summit, and Trumbull.

Lake County Council members are Commissioner Dan Troy, Darrell Webster–Troy’s proxy, Robert Zeitz, and Richard Baker.

RC&D is involved with land conservation, water and land management, community development and any other projects necessary to maintain the organization’s capacity, effectiveness and sustainability.

Until about a year ago, RC&D Council offices across the country received federal funding to support their efforts in the above areas.  In April of 2011, federal funding was abruptly cut to $0.00.

There was no phasing out period.  Many offices, including our Painesville office, were forced to close, their staff unceremoniously given the boot.  Projects had to be cancelled or delayed due to U.S Department of Agriculture decision making, many of which served the needs of the community in areas of job creation projects, minority outreach projects and land conservation projects.

Many of the persons who previously volunteered their time to RC&D are employed in city, county or state conservation organizations which have also had resources and staff drastically cut.  Those remaining staff members are generally doing the work of two people and don’t have time to donate to RC&D projects.

Jason Traggiai works as a federal employee at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center where he serves as staff architect, overseeing design and construction of projects at the main hospital in Wade Park or one of many outlining outpatient clinics across much of Ohio.

Jason also volunteers as the Great Lakes FHFH Chapter Coordinator (OH-35) of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH), a 501c3 organization that covers the entire cost of processing legally harvested deer, other big game and livestock by inspected meat processors.  The meat is then donated to non-profit organizations and ministries that serve the needy, generally in the same county where it was donated.  Traggiai’s chapter covers Ashtabula, Geauga, and Lake Counties.

All at no cost to the farmer, the hunter, or the hungry.

Early last year, Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District, a voting member of the RC&D Council, proposed that Council adopt the FHFH project by including it in RC&D’s annual plan of work.  FHFH was formally adopted in April of 2011.

Since then, RC&D volunteers have helped Traggiai distribute meat to food banks and have plans to assist him in other ways.  Being an official project of RC&D will reflect favorably on FHFH in the grant application process.

To learn more about FHFH or to get involved, email Jason at traggiai@windstream.net or call 440-548-5904.  For information about FHFH, call 1-866-GET-FHFH or click here.

Coming up:  Part II:  What RC&D has done for Lake County and what RC&D needs from its volunteers to continue its work

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