Our Environment.
Our Home.
OUR CHALLENGE.

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SAVE THE DATE

Making Tracks and Finding Tracks: Snowshoe Walk, Clark Sports Center 
February 9 – 11am:  Clark Sports Center, 124 County Highway 52, Cooperstown
Strap on the snowshoes and hit the trails at the Clark Sports Center. Look for signs of animal life in the snow-covered woods and enjoy some fresh air. Open to all ages and all skill levels. Meet in the main lobby at the Clark Sports Center. This walk is organized as part of the Cooperstown Winter Carnival. Check the Cooperstown Winter Carnival web page for a full listing of events! ***PLEASE NOTE: You must provide your own snowshoes for this event.****

Presidents’ Day Snowshoe Walk
February 18 – 1pm:  Robert V. Riddell State Park
Forget the sales–celebrate our nation’s history with a walk in Robert V. Riddell State Park with Trish and Steve Kent! The Kents donated the land for the park in 2005 and will share some of the property’s interesting history on an invigorating snowshoe hike on the park’s northern–and more forgiving–side. Bring your own snowshoes, water, and dress for the weather. Meet at the Park’s main entrance on State Route 28, just north of I-88 Exit 17.

Get the Kids Out!
February 20 – 10am:  Robert V. Riddell State Park
Want to have some winter fun? Join OCCA at Robert V. Riddell State Park for a scavenger hunt looking for signs of life, and generally enjoying winter weather. Meet at 10am at the main parking lot of Robert V. Riddell State Park, Route 28, just north if I-88 Exit 17. Dress for the weather.

Be Informed!  Lecture Series:  Ticks and Lyme Disease
February 20 – 630pm:  First United Methodist Church, Embury Room, 66 Chestnut Street, Oneonta
Lyme disease is a serious public health threat spread by the bite of the black-legged (deer) tick, (Ixodesscapularis). Dr. Carmen Greenwood, Associate Professor at SUNY Cobleskill, will discuss the biology and ecology of ticks. Following this, Otsego County Communicable Disease Coordinator, Theresa Oellrich, RN, will discuss the specifics of Lyme disease, including its health impacts, treatment and prevention, and what to do if bitten by a tick.  Park on Church Street or at the NBT bank lot on Wall Street.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Identification and Survey Training
March 9 – 10am-1pm:  Clark Sports Center, 124 County Highway 52, Cooperstown
Hemlock trees are an iconic and valuable part of the Catskills region. Dan Snider, Field Projects Manager for the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnerships (CRISP) will teach us about the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that is threatening our native hemlock trees. We will discuss identification of the insect, best treatment practices, and how you can help contribute to scientific projects to manage this invasive pest and preserve hemlocks on our landscape. There will also be a short field component where we will practice surveying hemlocks for hemlock woolly adelgid.  The program is free, but pre-registration is required. You may use our registration form or call OCCA at (607) 547-4488.  This is a joint program offering of OCCA and Mohican Farm/The Clark Foundation.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Plastic Bag Challenge
The first-ever Otsego County plastic bag challenge has started!  Kids at Cherry Valley/Springfield, Cooperstown, Gilbertsville/Mt. Upton, Morris, Oneonta Middle School, Richfield Springs, Unatego, Valleyview Elementary, and Worcester have been hard at work collecting all kinds of film plastic.  After the February 1 weigh in, Gilbertsville/Mt. Upton Elementary School is in the lead.  Help your local win the challenge!! If you have any film plastic you would like to recycle, check with your local school or send in with a neighborhood student.  The challenge seeks to educate students (and teachers and families, too) that bags and film plastic can be recycled through grocery stores and other retailers but not through regular curbside pickup or at the transfer stations.  Winners will be announced at the 2019 Earth Festival on April 13.  Contact OCCA at 547-4488 for more details.

2019 Earth Festival
April 13 – 11am-3pm
Back for its fourteenth year, Otsego Earth Festival will be held on April 13 from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School. The event will include the popular exhibitor and vendor fair, workshops, a clothing swap, recycling opportunities, and more. Environmental organizations, businesses, and local energy vendors will have products, services and exhibits on display. For more information, or to learn how to be an exhibitor or sponsor, visit http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/.  Keep checking the site for updates!

Spotted Lanternfly Basics Webinar
The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive insect that poses a significant threat to New York’s agricultural and forest health, and has been found in four New York counties (not Otsego). The Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center is hosting a series of webinars titled “Spotted Lanternfly Basics.” Each will focus on a different group:

  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Hops, Berry, and Vegetable Growers (Feb. 26, 2019, 10:00 a.m.)
  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Grape and Apple Industries (Feb. 26, 2019, 1:00 p.m.)
  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Christmas Tree Growers (Mar. 4, 2019, 10:00 a.m.)
  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Nursery, Greenhouse, and Landscape Industries (Mar. 4, 2019, 1:00 p.m.)

All webinars will follow a similar format that covers spotted lanternfly biology, identification, and hosts, monitoring and management strategies, and a regulatory update. While the content may be relevant to audiences throughout the Northeast, management practices covered will be specific to New York. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions. For information or to register, visit https://www.northeastipm.org/working-groups/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly-basics-webinar-announcement/

Otsego 2000 Happenings at the Farmers’ Market
Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause – Join O2K for the Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause this year to close out the Cooperstown Winter Carnival.  Local restaurants share their grilled cheese and soups all for a great cause to help support Otsego 2000’s mission.  See otsego2000.org for details.

Job Opportunities at Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District
The Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District has three job opportunities open for full time employment.  Available opportunities include:  Stream Technician, Conservation District Technician, and a Summer Intern.  Please see their website for job descriptions and application deadlines.  https://www.otsegosoilandwater.com/job-volunteer-opportunities/?fbclid=IwAR0JEaGfOxKWeosdtgHHfoiiEsnjG1sEWCU4mO1kP810vAaROjzOUoiGN_M

The Be Informed Lecture Series kicks off its 2019 season with an encore presentation of ‘Ticks & Lyme Disease’ on Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at 6:30pm. The program will take place in the Embury Room at the First United Methodist Church of Oneonta, 66 Chestnut Street. The program is free and open to the public.

A joint program of OCCA and Mohican Farm/The Clark Foundation, The Be Informed Lecture Series was started in 2016 and presents quarterly programs on environmental topics. Other dates and topics include Making a Meadow (May 15); Beekeeping (August 21), and Invasive Species (November 20.)

‘Ticks and Lyme Disease’ will feature two speakers. Dr. Carmen Greenwood, Associate Professor at SUNY Cobleskill, will discuss the biology and ecology of ticks, particularly the black-legged, or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), which transmits Lyme and other diseases. Following Dr. Greenwood, Otsego County Communicable Disease Coordinator, Theresa Oellrich, RN, will discuss the specifics of Lyme disease, including its health impacts, treatment and prevention, and what to do if bitten by a tick.

Bob Sutherland, manager of Mohican Farm for The Clark Foundation, said, “Understanding the life cycle of ticks and their habitat needs and preferences can help us manage the landscape to avoid them.”

A bacterial infection spread by bites from previously-infected black-legged ticks, Lyme disease cases have skyrocketed nationwide. Lyme symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic ‘bullseye’ rash. Left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the central nervous system, leading to long-term complications.

“Lyme disease is a serious health issue that can affect us all, not just outdoorspeople,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director. “And they can be active almost any time of year, not just spring and summer.”

For information about the Be Informed Lecture Series, visit occainfo.org.

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.

Mohican Farm is part of The Clark Foundation. Its mission is to promote sustainable activities within The Clark Foundation, the community, and Otsego County.

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Otsego County Conservation Association has been designated the New York Outreach Lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition.

“We are proud to have Otsego County Conservation Association as the New York coalition lead this year,” said Mariah Davis, field manager of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “OCCA represents a legacy of conservation and leadership taking place at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We are excited to explore new opportunities to engage stakeholders and convene coalition members to restore the mighty Susquehanna through the Upper Susquehanna Forum and beyond.”

Comprised of over 230 local, state, regional and national organizations, the coalition is working to restore clean water to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. New York is one of six states, plus the District of Columbia, that makes up the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Coalition leads play an integral role in connecting our members to clean water initiatives at the state and local level in order to address water quality throughout the Bay watershed.

“We’re honored to have been selected as outreach lead for New York,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s Executive Director. “OCCA has long been advocating for environmental stewardship in our own county, and this new position allows us to expand our reach and work with partners within the New York portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to promote clean water and help meet the Chesapeake Bay clean up targets.”

The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers 64,000 acres in six states and the District of Columbia. The New York portion of the watershed comprises 6,250 acres across 19 counties.  The watershed’s largest input of freshwater comes from the Susquehanna River which begins in Cooperstown at the base of Otsego Lake and winds 444 miles to the head of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.  The largest and most productive estuary in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay is a critical habitat for over 2,700 species of plants and animals, and serves as an important source of food and recreation.

“Maintaining and improving the health of the bay watershed is important for environmental and economic reasons,” Orzetti said. “As the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, New York plays an especially important part in the bay’s health.”

Found in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit environmental membership organization 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 support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.

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SAVE THE DATE

Cabin Fever Winter Fest

January 26 – 11am-3pm:  Gilbert Lake State Park

Five Star Subaru’s annual Cabin Fever Winter Festival is back, and OCCA will be there!  This family-friendly event features fun winter activities at Gilbert Lake State Park, from 11am-3pm.  Join OCCA Program Director, Jeff O’Handley for a nature-themed snowshoe walk around Gilbert Lake at 11:30 or 1:30.  A limited number of snowshoes will be available to borrow, or bring your own.  See https://www.fivestarcars.com/cabin-fever-winter-fest.htm for a full listing of events.

Five Star Subaru | New Subaru dealership in Oneonta, NY 13820 – Five Star Subaru | Oneonta New & Used Car Dealer near Norwich NY, Sidney & Cobleskillwww.fivestarcars.comOneonta, NY New, Five Star Subaru sells and services Subaru vehicles in the greater Oneonta area

Winter Carnival Snowshoe Walk

February 9 – 10am:  Clark Sports Center, 124 County Highway 52, Cooperstown

Strap on the snowshoes and hit the trails at the Clark Sports Center.  Look for signs of animal life in the snow-covered woods and enjoy some fresh air.  Open to all ages and all skill levels.  A limited number of snowshoes are available courtesy of the Clark Sports Center Adventure Program – reserve a pair by indicating need in the “Notes for OCCA” section of the program registration form (https://occainfo.org/signup/).  Meet in in the main lobby at the Clark Sports Center.  This walk is organized as part of the Cooperstown Winter Carnival.  Check the Cooperstown Winter Carnival web page for a full listing of events!

Program and Event Sign Up Form – OCCA – Otsego County Conservation Association – occainfo.orgoccainfo.org Our Environment. Our Home. OUR CHALLENGE. How to Get Rid Of… Click Here for Garage Sale

Presidents’ Day Snowshoe Walk

February 18 – 1pm:  Robert V. Riddell State Park

Celebrate our nation’s history in Robert V. Riddell State Park with Trish and Steve Kent. The Kents donated the land for the park in 2005 and will share some of the property’s interesting history during an invigorating snowshoe hike on the park’s northern–and more forgiving–side. Bring your own snowshoes, water, and dress for the weather. Meet at the Park’s main entrance on State Route 28, just north of I-88 Exit 17. 1pm.

Get the Kids Out!

February 20 – 10am:  Robert V. Riddell State Park

Do you want something to do over February break with your stir crazy kids? Planning is underway for the next first Get the Kids Out! of 2019.  Stay tuned to next month’s Ecobulletin for details.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Plastic Bag Challenge

The first-ever Otsego County plastic bag challenge has started!  Beginning the first week in January, 10 area schools are competing to see who can collect the most film plastic (per capita) until April 1.  Participating schools will receive a collection bin, courtesy of Casella. The challenge seeks to educate students (and teachers and families, too) that bags and film plastic can be recycled through grocery stores and other retailers but not through regular curbside pickup or at the transfer stations.  If you have any film plastic you would like to recycle, check with your local school or send in with a neighborhood student to help their school win the contest.  Winners will be announced at the 2019 Earth Festival on April 13.  Contact OCCA at 547-4488 for more details.

2019 Earth Festival

April 13 – 11am-3pm

OCCA and our hardworking committee have started planning the 15th annual Earth Festival to be held again at Milford Central School.  We are actively seeking vendors, exhibitors and speaker for the event.  This year’s theme is “energy sustainability.”

Reintroduction of American Eels to the NY Portion of the Upper Susquehanna River Basin

January 19 – 3-5pm: New Lisbon Town Hall, 908 County Highway 16, Garrattsville

Hosted by the Butternut Valley Alliance. American eels are returning to the upper Susquehanna watershed! Sarah Coney, a Masters student at SUNY Oneonta will present her work on the reintroduction of the American eel to the region.  Sarah will describe the importance of eels in the watershed, and talk about the positive impacts of eel reintroduction.  Eels will be reintroduced to the Butternut Creek watershed in the spring of 2019.

National Seed Swap Day

January 26 – 10-11am:  Kinney Memorial Library, 3140 County Highway 11, Hartwick

The Otsego County Master Gardeners will host the Annual Master Gardener Seed Swap at Kinney Memorial Library in Hartwick.  The mission of the swap is to conserve and promote crop diversity in local communities through a planned event at which neighbors gather to exchange seeds and chat about plans for the upcoming growing season.  For more information, visit www.cceschoharie-otsego.org/gardening or email mastergardener-otsego@cornell.edu.

Cornell Cooperative Extension | Gardeningwww.cceschoharie-otsego.orgCornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties is your resource for reliable, research-based information on soils, site improvement, plant selection, proper plant care, eco-friendly practices, integrated pest management, composting, and so much more!

Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Energy Infrastructure and Economy Summit

January 31 – 10am-3pm:  Otesaga Resort, Cooperstown

The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Energy Infrastructure and Economy Summit on January 31 at the Otesaga.  The event will explore the nexus of energy, climate change, and the region’s economy with area industry leaders and policy makers from across New York State.  The summit will provide opportunities for learning, networking, and business development.  The chamber is welcoming proposals for presentations and exhibitor applications.  For more information and registration contact Karen Laing at 432-4500 ext. 104 or karen@otsegocc.com.

Otsego 2000 Happenings at the Farmers’ Market

Hardy Locavore Challenge – Otsego 2000 is holding its Hardy Locavore challenge again this year.  This is a great opportunity to keep supporting local merchants and farmers at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market.  Visit the market and get your card punched 10 of the 12 weeks between now and the end of March to win a long-sleeved t-shirt! See the information table at the market to sign up.

Cookbook Swap at the Market – Bring your gently used cookbooks to the Market to swap them out for something fresh!  There will be a box for cookbook contributions under the front table in the annex starting on 1/3/19.  Please feel free to donate to the box at any time, and come choose new-to-you books during the Market on 2/2/19.

Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause – Join O2K for the Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause this year to close out the Cooperstown Winter Carnival.  Local restaurants share their grilled cheese and soups all for a great cause to help support Otsego 2000’s mission.  See otsego2000.org for details.

OCCA’s Eco-New Year’s Resolutions

I’m going to try and be better about using my reusable grocery bags and not leave them sitting in my house!

–        Leslie Orzetti, Executive Director

I’m going to be better about using reusable cups for my morning coffee run.

–        Danny Lapin, Environmental Planner

I’m going to communicate more with my elected officials.

–        Jeff O’Handley, Program Director

The Otsego County Conservation Association has announced that it will send eight Otsego County school students to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Education Camp this summer through a countywide competitive essay contest.

Otsego County students ages 11-14 are invited to compete for camperships through an essay that answers the question “What does energy sustainability mean to you?”  Contest winners will receive a week-long stay at a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Summer Camp, where they will spend their week immersed in the natural environment and enjoy a balance of environmental education, sportsman education, and outdoor fun.

“With our growing reliance on electronic devices, it is more important than ever to unplug and get outside,” said OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti. “I’m thrilled that OCCA can continue to offer our children this great opportunity. Our past winners have had a wonderful time at DEC camp.” In 2018, OCCA provided camperships for eight students.

Winning essays will be chosen from participating Otsego County schools and Otsego County applicants at large. The deadline for essay submissions is January 4, 2019. Winning essays will be chosen by January 11 and notified immediately. Contest winners will be given a special code by OCCA which will be used to register for DEC camp.

“We’re hoping teachers will be able to incorporate this year’s theme into their classroom learning.  In these uncertain times, it is important for all students to know that what they do has an impact on the larger community,” Orzetti said. “Camp registration opens in January  and we know they fill up fast.”

The contest is open to students ages 11-14 (must be age 11 by December 26, 2019), including students who are home-schooled. Complete contest rules and requirements are available by e-mailing director@occainfo.org or by calling (607) 547-4488. Teachers who plan to assign the essay to their students are asked to contact OCCA in order to be recognized as a participating school.

OCCA is a private, non-profit environmental membership organization 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 support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.

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December 3, 2018:  Vol. 12, No. 12

SAVE THE DATE

A Looming Threat: Emerald Ash Borer

December 12 – 630pm: Otsego Now/Otsego County Chamber Office, 189 Main St., Suite 500, Oneonta

The emerald ash borer is creeping into Otsego County. This highly-destructive insect attacks and kills ash trees, which make up a significant portion of our forests and parks. Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) Field Projects Manager, Dan Snider will provide an update on the emerald ash borer infestation in the Catskills region. Come learn about emerald ash borer biology, ash tree identification, and signs of emerald ash borer infestations. We will also discuss best management practices for infested areas, and how you can contribute to research programs to preserve ash trees on our landscape. Program is free, but space is limited. Register as https://occainfo.org/signup/.

 

Solar Info Session & Potluck

December 15 – 300-530pm: Tanner Hill Herb Farm, 294 Tanner Hill Rd., Cooperstown

The Leatherstocking Young Farmers Coalition invites beginning, sustainable farmers in the Leatherstocking Region (50 mile radius of Cooperstown) to a Solar Info Session and Potluck. Join fellow farmers to talk about renewable energy options, socialize, and share food together. The session will include representatives of Solstice Community Solar, who will provide information on solar farm opt-in programs in Otsego County, and Bennett Sandler, of Heat Smart Otsego to discuss air-source and ground-source heat pumps and wood heating systems. As a farm-driven collective, the Leatherstocking Young Farmers Coalition provides a space for socializing, skills and resource sharing, and advocacy. The chapter creates a platform for building and strengthening the community of sustainable farmers and ranchers within their first 10 years of growing or starting a new farm in this region, but is also open to apprentices and seasoned farmers. Please bring a dish or drink to share. For more information, contact Greta at leatherstocking.nyfc@gmail.com.

Additional Solar Info Session

December 6 – 530-730pm: Best Western Hotel, 50 Commons Drive, Cooperstown

Solstice is a mission-driven organization dedicated to bringing affordable solar power to the 80% of Americans who cannot install a rooftop system. Solstice conducts comprehensive marketing campaigns to educate communities about community solar projects in their area, partnering with trusted local organizations to distribute community solar to their membership, conducting outreach efforts and managing the customer experience. There is currently an opportunity to buy into a new solar installation right in your own back yard in Laurens.  Come to the information session and help fill up our local solar farm while saving up to 10% on your electric bill.

ANNOUNCEMENTS 

Plastic Bag Challenge

There’s still time for schools to sign up for our first-ever plastic bag challenge! The school that collects the most film plastic (per capita) between January 1 and April 1, 2019 will win. Participating schools will receive a collecting bin, courtesy of Casella. The challenge seeks to educate that bags and film plastics can be recycled through grocery stores and other retailers, but not through regular curbside pickup or at the transfer stations. Schools can also sign up to participate in a national challenge sponsored by Trex. Registration deadline is December 15. Contact OCCA at (607) 547-4488 for more details or to sign up.

 

Christmas Lights Recycling

Through December 24 at Lowe’s

A number of Lowe’s stores in our region are accepting used Christmas and holiday lights for free recycling. Participating stores include Lowe’s in Oneonta, Norwich and Herkimer. Lights can be dropped off for free in a bin near the customer service area during normal store hours. Call your local Lowe’s to confirm participation.

If you don’t have a Lowe’s nearby, consider a mail-in program through Holiday LEDS (https://www.holidayleds.com/christmas-light-recycling-program.aspx). In addition to recycling your old lights, they’ll send you a coupon good for a 15% discount on LED Christmas lights through their online store.

Otsego Land Trust is Hiring!

The Finance and Office Manager is responsible for managing the organization’s finances and financial reporting and works closely with the Executive Director and Board Treasurer. He/she manages the office’s operational systems, utilities and facility needs. The Finance and Office Manager reports to the Executive Director, and works with the staff/Board of Directors as projects require. Like all members of OLT’s staff, the Finance and Office Manager assists with tasks outside his or her specific position requirements when the demands of a small organization require it. Please send resume, cover letter, and references to patricia@otsegolandtrust.org. Deadline for applying is December 14.

Thank You!

From the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank our loyal Ecobulletin readers for another wonderful year here at OCCA.  Your support of our organization is what keeps us going and on our toes to bring you the best information and programming we can, and to help preserve the place that we all call home.  If you want to find out more details about what we were up to this year, stay tuned for a link to the Annual Report on our website in January.

 

It’s Holiday Time!

To paraphrase the Grinch, that means lots of packages, boxes and bags. This year, when unpacking all the goodies coming to your door, pay special attention to the packaging. Foam packaging, bubble wrap, tissue paper and air pillows can all be used again, if you’re shipping gifts to distant family and friends. If you have no need for the material, check with local shipping stores to see if they can use it (call first, don’t just drop it at their door). If it can’t be reused or donated, make sure to dispose of it properly:

Cardboard: break down and flatten boxes; take clean, dry, flattened boxes to your transfer station or set out with curbside recycling.

Bubblewrap and air pillows: If bubblewrap has a foil backing, it must be disposed of in the trash. Otherwise, bubblewrap and deflated air pillows can be recycled at grocery stores and other retailers that take back plastic bags and film wrap. Visit https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/recycling-bags-and-wraps/find-drop-off-location/ to learn which nearby retailers participate.

For a comprehensive list of ‘How Do I Get Rid Of?’ in Otsego County, visit http://occainfo.org/item-specific-recycling-compiled-resources/ or http://www.otsegocounty.com/depts/sw/HowdoIgetridof.htm

Emerald ash borer to be the topic of a presentation in Oneonta on Wednesday, December 12.

(ONEONTA) — The City of Oneonta and the Otsego County Conservation Association will be co-sponsoring a talk on the emerald ash borer on Wednesday, December 12 at 6:30pm. This free talk will take place at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, 189 Main Street, Suite 500.

An invasive insect from eastern Asia, the emerald ash borer (EAB) attacks and kills all species of ash trees. Since it was first found in the United States in 2002, EAB has been responsible for the death of millions of trees in the United States and Canada. Its presence in Otsego County was confirmed in 2014 in Unadilla.

“The emerald ash borer continues to expand into Otsego County,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “It’s especially important for people in the southern and western parts of the county to be aware of this pest and the impact it can have.”

The program features a presentation by Dan Snider, field projects manager for the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP). Snider will cover emerald ash borer biology, ash tree identification, and signs of emerald ash borer infestations. The program will also include a discussion of best management practices for infested areas, and how citizens can contribute to research programs to preserve ash trees in the landscape.

In 2017, the City of Oneonta received an Urban and Community Forestry Grant to develop and implement the Emerald Ash Borer Maintenance Program. As part of the plan, the City removed a number of ash high-risk ash trees from streets and parks, inoculated others with insecticide to protect against infestation, and conducted a number of outreach and education programs. Judy Pangman, Community Development Director for the City of Oneonta, will be on hand to discuss the progress of the program.

Ryan Mathews, Engineer I for the City of Oneonta, said the tree removals were done in the interest of safety.

“Once the emerald ash borer arrives, the trees die pretty quickly,” Mathews said. “Falling limbs represent a risk to public health and could also result in significant property damage.”

“At this point, it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of when,” O’Handley said, in reference to the emerald ash borer infestation. “We think it’s important that people understand as much about the emerald ash borer as possible so that they can decide what to do on their own property.”

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact OCCA at (607) 282-4087.

The program is made possible by an Urban Community Forestry grant received by the City of Oneonta. The Urban Community Forestry grants are funded through the State Environmental Protection Fund. They are part of New York’s ongoing environmental initiatives to promote clean air, clean water, energy savings and habitat creation and to address invasive species, environmental justice and urban sprawl. UCF grants are awarded by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

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Otsego County Conservation Association, in conjunction with the Otsego County Department of Solid Waste and Planning and Casella Resource Solutions are holding a film plastic recycling challenge for schools, to begin in 2019. The program aims to promote proper recycling of grocery bags and other film plastics, which cannot be recycled through traditional recycling programs. The challenge is open to all public and private K-12 school buildings located in Otsego County.

The challenge will run from January 1 to April 1, 2019. During the challenge, students and teachers are asked to collect clean, dry film plastic, including single-use grocery bags, Ziploc-style food bags, newspaper bags, wood pellet bags and more in bins at the school. Each week, students will weigh and record the amount of film plastic collected, and a volunteer will deliver the collected plastic to a participating retailer for recycling.

“New York State has required that retailers collect and recycle plastic bags and other film plastics since 2009,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director. “Yet a lot of people are not aware of that. We’re hoping the challenge will make more people aware of this important program and the kids will educate their families about the importance of recycling.”

Schools will be divided into two categories for the competition: Elementary School and Middle/High School, and have the option of being part of the national competition sponsored by Trex©. Participating schools will compete against each other to collect the highest amount of plastic film per capita. All participating schools will receive a certificate of recognition. Prizes for winners in each category will be announced at a later date.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New Yorkers use more than 23 billion plastic bags each year. Most film plastic ends up in landfills. Though film plastic can be recycled into new bags, film plastic, and rigid materials such as composite lumber, they cannot be collected as part of Otsego County’s traditional recycling program, said Karen Sullivan, Otsego County’s Director of Solid Waste.

“The recycling facilities our plastics go to are not set up to handle film plastics. Bags and stretch film get tangled in machinery and lead to costly breakdowns,” Sullivan said.

Over the last year, recycling costs have soared, due to tighter contamination standards. Where Otsego County used to receive a rebate for recyclables, we now must pay.

“Keeping bags and film out of our recycling stream will help keep our costs down,” said Sullivan.

Schools that are interested in taking part in the Plastic Bag Challenge should contact Otsego County Conservation Association at (607) 547-4488.

Founded in 1968, Otsego County Conservation Association 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

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Hunting and its role in wildlife management and conservation will be the topic of the next Be Informed Lecture Series on Wednesday, November 14 at 6:30pm. The program, co-sponsored by Otsego County Conservation Association and Mohican Farm, will be offered at the Clark Sports Center, 124 County Road 52, Cooperstown.

“Hunting is an activity that is important on many levels,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director. “With the regular hunting season just around the corner, this is a good time to cover this topic, and we’re excited to have three well-qualified speakers to bring diverse viewpoints to the topic.”

Three speakers will present on different aspects related to hunting. Bob Pierce, an avid outdoorsman and hunter education instructor, will cover hunting from the sportsmen’s perspective. Wildlife Biologist Selinda Brandon from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will discuss hunting as a wildlife management tool. Tom Salo, board member for the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, will discuss impacts of lead ammunition on humans and non-target wildlife.

The program is free, though pre-registration is appreciated. For more information or to sign up, contact OCCA at (607) 547-4488 or visit https://occainfo.org/signup/.

The Be Informed lecture series is a joint program of Otsego County Conservation Association and Mohican Farm. Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit organization 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

The Mission of The Clark Foundation’s Mohican Farm is to promote broad-based sustainable practices throughout the Clark Foundation, the Village of Cooperstown, and the surrounding region in cooperation with like-minded institutions and organizations.

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Due to impending poor weather, OCCA is canceling the hike to Mud Lake in Riddell State Park scheduled for October 27, 2018. No alternate date is available; however, OCCA will be holding a snowshoe walk in the park in early 2019 and another walk in early spring, dates to be announced at a later date.