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(COOPERSTOWN) –Cooperstown native Beth (Renckens) Gibbons will be the featured speaker at the twelfth annual Earth Festival in Milford on Saturday, April 22. Gibbons’ talk, “Understanding and Preparing for Climate Change in Otsego County,” will provide a brief overview of the climate system, then dive deeply into current and anticipated changes for our area. The talk begins at twelve fifteen in the Herbert B. Garman, Jr. Performing Arts Center at the school.

“We’re thrilled to have a speaker with Beth’s expertise as part of Earth Festival,” said Leslie Orzetti, Executive Director of OCCA, Earth Festival’s sponsoring organization.

“The impacts from climate change are the local manifestations of global change,” said Gibbons. “Because we feel these impacts so acutely: the floods, severe storms, and shifting seasons—especially the loss of winter—we are able to develop strategies for coping with these changes.”

Gibbons graduated from Cooperstown Central School in 2000. She is the Managing Director of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP), the leading professional society for climate change adaptation professionals in the United States. ASAP connects and supports climate professionals, while advancing innovation in the field of practice through establishing promising practices, pushing resiliency-focused policy initiatives, and celebrating tremendous work of local community leaders.

Prior to taking the reins at ASAP, Gibbons led the University of Michigan Climate Center and oversaw the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes RISA program. Under her tenure these programs distributed over $1.2 million dollars to more than 50 organizations in eight states, to increase the understanding of climate change in the region and to develop strategies to prepare for current and future changes.

“Climate change is here,” said Orzetti. “As much as we want to stop it we need to plan for what is coming in an inclusive way.”

Earth Festival is a family-oriented event that features environmentally-themed vendors, exhibitors and activities. The event occurs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the gym at Milford Central School. The event also includes Spring Garden Day, offered by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, from 10:30 to 2 p.m. Other activities offered at Earth Festival include a movie night on Friday, April 21; a pre-festival bird walk offered by Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society at 9 a.m. on April 22, children’s activities, recycling opportunities, and the traditional vendor and exhibitor fair. For information about Earth Festival, visit the festival page, http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/.

Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning, and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org