Our Environment. Our Home. OUR CHALLENGE.

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Steve Kent will lead a hike to Mud Lake in Robert V. Riddell State Park on Sunday, April 28 at 1 pm, as part of Otsego County Conservation Association’s nature walk series. Steve and his wife, Trish Riddell Kent donated the property to New York State in 2005.

“Steve has tremendous knowledge of the property and its history,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “We are quite fortunate to have him lead this hike through one of our loveliest parks.”

Participants will meet at the Pine Lake Environmental Campus of Hartwick College at 1894 Charlotte Creek Road, Davenport, and carpool to the hike’s starting point on Gersoni Road, just south of Interstate 88 Exit 17. The 4.5-mile hike traverses moderately steep slopes, passes through diverse forestland, and stops at Mud Lake, a sphagnum bog located at the top of South Hill. The walk will take approximately three hours. Participants should bring water, a snack, appropriate footgear and clothing, and insect/tick repellent. The walk is free, but pre-registration is appreciated. Visit https://occainfo.org/signup/ to sign up.

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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Otsego County Conservation Association, in conjunction with the Otsego County Department of Solid Waste and Recycling, Casella Resource Solutions, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, and Otsego 2000 announced the winners of the first annual Otsego County Plastic Bag Challenge on April 13.

This year’s winners of the challenge are the elementary and middle/high school of Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton School District.  Together, these two schools collected over 1700 pounds of plastic with the elementary school collecting 1382 pounds itself.

In total, 13 Otsego County schools participated in the three-month challenge, collecting over 4000 pounds of film plastic.  The contest ran from January 1 through April 1. The winners will receive a visit from the Utica Zoomobile. 

“We’re so proud of these teachers, students and their families for making the conscience choice to recycle plastic bags and film plastics properly,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director. “Congratulations to all the participants, but especially to the Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Community.”

During the challenge, students and teachers were 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 provided by Casella Resource Solutions. Students weighed and recorded the amount of film plastic collected each week, and a volunteer delivered the collected plastic to a participating retailer for recycling. The material is recycled into new bags, composite lumber, pipes and other plastic products.

New York State has required retailers that meet certain conditions to collect and recycle single-use plastic bags since 2009. The law was expanded in 2015 to include a wider range of film plastics. “The challenge was launched to make Otsego County residents more aware of film plastic recycling,” said Karen Sullivan, director of Otsego County’s Department of Solid Waste and Planning.

“We find many people still don’t know they can recycle their plastic bags and film plastics,” Sullivan said. “It’s also important for people to know this is the only option for recycling film plastics. They can’t put it in their recycling bin or take it to the transfer stations.”

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Americans use more than 100 billion plastic bags each year. Only about 1% are recycled.

“Even though the challenge is over, we’re hopeful that the community will continue to recycle their bags and film plastics,” Orzetti said.

Information about what kinds of bags and plastic films can be recycled and where they can be taken can be found atplasticfilmrecycling.org.

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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The fourteenth annual Earth Festival is this Saturday, from 11am-3pm. Organized by Otsego County Conservation Association, Earth Festival includes exhibits and displays by local environmental organizations; crafts, food, services and products from area businesses; an art contest; clothing swap; and workshops and activities throughout the day.

“We’re proud to bring so many interesting organizations, businesses and individuals under one roof for the day,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director. “This is a great opportunity for the community to learn about the many environmental programs, products and services available in Otsego County.”

Nearly forty exhibitors and vendors are expected to attend, Orzetti said. Among them are Ariginal Art, Country Pride Cheese House, Carpe Diem Baits, Otsego ReUse Center, Leatherstocking Beekeepers, Gilson’s Native American Crafts, and Intelligent Green Solutions. Food vendors include Tickled Pink BBQ and Origins Café.

The Earth Festival Schedule is below:

Friday, April 12, 7pm: Earth Festival Movie Night: Paris to Pittsburgh, sponsored by Otsego 2000 and Glimmerglass Film Days. 22 Main Street, Cooperstown. Free

Saturday, April 13, 8am: Earth Festival bird walk with Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society. Meet at Milford Central School parking lot

10:30am: Contestants drop off entries for EcoArt Competition

11am-3pm: Earth Festival Exhibit and Vendor Fair, Milford Central School gym

11am-1pm, Workshop: Historic Window Restoration and Weatherization, classroom (pre-registration necessary, see www.otsego2000.org).

11am-2pm: Free paper shredding service, provided by Empire Recycling. Outside.

11am-3pm: Special Earth Festival Recycling opportunities, sponsored by Casella Resource Solutions, Otsego ReUse Center, OCCA. Outside and inside.

11am-3pm: Clothing Swap, cafeteria.

11am-11:45: Yoga Big & Small, small gym

12-1:30: Presentation: Case Studies of Renewables and Efficiency Upgrades in Otsego County by Bennett Sandler, Campaign Director of Heat Smart Otsego. Auditorium.

Noon: Border Collie Duck Herding Demonstration by Fly Safe Wild Goose Management, outside.

1:00: Bike Safety Activity, small gym.

2pm: Announcement of winners of OCCA’s ‘Plastic Bag Recycling Challenge,’ auditorium.

2:30pm: Announcement of winners of EcoArt contest.

3pm: Earth Festival closes.

Established in 2006, Earth Festival is an environmentally-focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment. This year’s event is sponsored by Five Star Subaru, CNY Tent Rentals, Otsego 2000/Cooperstown Farmers’ Market, Cooperstown Natural Foods, Farm Credit East, ACA; Casella Resource Solutions; Otsego County Chamber of Commerce; Carol Malz & Mike Empey; Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society; Rich McCaffery; Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie Otsego Counties; Otsego Lake Association; Susquehanna Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club; Dave Brandt Chapter Trout Unlimited; Country Pride Cheese House.

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.

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SAVE THE DATE

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!

Earth Festival Movie Night
April 12 – 7pm Cooperstown Village Hall, Upstairs Ballroom
Otsego 2000 and the Glimmerglass Film Festival are again sponsoring the Earth Festival Friday Film Night.  This year’s film is Paris to Pittsburgh, a National Geographic film celebrating how Americans are demanding and developing real solutions in the face of Climate Change. The film features voices from local leaders as well as everyday Americans presenting the stories behind climate-related recovery and resiliency, as well as tireless innovative efforts to reduce carbon emissions, including boomtowns formerly reliant on coal such as Pittsburgh.  The movie is free and open to the public.

Get the Kids Out—Roughing It
April 17 – 10-11:30am Mohican Farm
Do you know what it takes to survive in the wild? We’ll cover the basic needs of human survival and learn how to build shelter, find water, and last until help arrives. Dress for weather. Meet at 10am at Mohican Farm, 7207 State Route 80, Cooperstown.

Over the Top—Mud Lake
April 28 – 1-4:30pm, Robert V. Riddell State Park
Join Steve Kent and OCCA for the vigorous 4.5 mile walk to Mud Lake – and beyond – in Robert V. Riddell State Park.  Steve will share stories of the land before it was donated to the state by he and his wife, Trish Riddell Kent.  Along the way, we’ll pass through hemlock, maple and oak forests, stop at a spectacular waterfall, and visit Mud Lake, a fascinating  sphagnum bog on top of the hill. Dress appropriately, bring water and a snack.

The Birds of Mohican Farm
May 11, 7-9am
Mohican Farm’s fields, woods and shoreline make it a great location for birds. We’ll look for spring warblers, swallows, bluebirds, shorebirds–maybe even bobolinks and eagles. The walk is led by Becky Gretton, co-president of Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, and is suitable for all levels of birders. Bring binoculars and a field guide, and get here early! Please pre-register, enrollment is limited to twenty people. Meet at OCCA’s office at Mohican Farm.

Call to Action
It is now a perfect time to contact your Congressional offices and make two “asks” – both of them are keys to getting more funding for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program and restoration work in the watershed. We want to ask our NY Members of Congress to do two things – cosponsor a new bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Reauthorization Bill (H.R. 1620 in the House and S. 701 for Senate offices) which will update the Chesapeake portion of the Clean Water Act and target $90 million for Bay funding. The House and Senate bills are identical. 

Eco-Art Call for Artists
Area artists can submit artwork for the ECO-Art (& Craft) Competition as part of Otsego County Conservation Association’s annual Earth Festival event this spring. Artists of all ages and skill levels can enter artwork of any kind, provided it is created primarily with repurposed, reused and/or recycled material. The Community Arts Network of Oneonta (CANO) is organizing the ECO-Art (& Craft) competition. CANO will be awarding first and second prize in each of the following categories: Youth (under 10 years old); Teen (ages 10-17); and Adult (18 and up). An entry form is available at occainfo.org/earth-festival/. For more information, contact Flo Loomis by e-mail (lojac@dmcom.net) or at (607) 293-6627. Earth Festival will be held on Saturday, April 13 from 11am-3pm at Milford Central School.

Plastic Bag Challenge
The first Otsego County plastic bag challenge is done!  Kids at Cherry Valley/Springfield, Cooperstown, Gilbertsville/Mt. Upton, Morris, Oneonta Middle School, Richfield Springs, Unatego, Valleyview Elementary, and Worcester have continued their hard work collecting all kinds of film plastic.  After the last weigh in, these schools have successfully collected over 3000 lbs. of plastic.  Help your local school 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.

Lunch-Break Workshops with Master Gardeners
Noon-1pm, CCE Education Center, Cooperstown
Take a break with the Master Gardeners and learn about interesting and important gardening topics. Sessions are free and open to the public, but call (607) 547-2536 x 228 and let them know you’re coming.
May 8: GROW Initiative, with Francine Stayter and Carol Phelps, Otsego Master Gardeners
June 12: Culinary Herbs, with Gert Coleman, Vegetable & Herb Specialist


Get ready for the bag ban—pack your bags
In March, 2020 New York’s ‘bag ban’ is set to go into effect. This plan will end the distribution by retailers of single-use plastic bags with sales and will also impose a fee of $0.05 for paper bags. The ban is expected to save natural resources used in the manufacture of bags, reduce costly breakdowns and repairs in recycling and trash facilities, and cut down on unsightly and dangerous pollution. Now is a good time to start stocking up on durable, reusable bags, and getting into the habit of taking them with you. When you go to the store—any store—remember to “pack your bags” to help protect the environment.

DOAS and Otsego Land Trust Team Up
On Wednesday, April 17 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, join Otsego Land Trust and Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society for a Woodcock Walk at the Parslow Road Conservation Area.  DOAS Member and local environmental educator Chris DeCesare, joined by Otsego Land Trust Communications and Outreach Manager, Becky Talbot, will lead a walk to observe the spring mating ritual of the woodcock.   

Information wanted – amphibian crossing sites 
In the coming weeks, amphibians will start moving from their winter hibernation areas to wetlands and vernal pools to breed. The combination of rain and night-time temperatures above 40ºF can lead to what are known as “Big Nights,” where thousands of frogs, toads and salamanders are on the move. Unfortunately, they often have to travel across roads, where many are hit by cars. OCCA is seeking information on the location of amphibian crossing zones in Otsego County. If you are aware of an area where large numbers of amphibians cross roads in spring, let us know. Send an e-mail to Jeff O’Handley (programdirector@occainfo.org) and let us know the road name and location (street address).

Attendees of the 14th annual Earth Festival will have the opportunity to participate in several activities in addition to the exhibits and clothing swap, organizers said. A program of the Otsego County Conservation Association, Earth Festival will take place on Saturday, April 13, from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School.

“We’re pleased to offer a variety of activities,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director. “We have a bird walk, classes on bike safety and window restoration, an art contest—there’s a lot going on.”

Members of Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society will start the day with a pre-festival bird walk, leaving the school parking lot at 8am and returning by 10. The main event opens at 11 with the vendor and exhibitor fair.

From 11am to 1pm, Otsego 2000 is sponsoring ‘Historic Window Restoration & Weatherization.’ In this hands-on workshop, James Richardson, founder and owner of Richardson Window Works in Cooperstown, will demonstrate techniques for repairing historic windows, including sash repair, reglazing, restoration and weatherizing. Repairing windows allows homeowners to maintain their home’s historic character while improving efficiency and reducing waste. The workshop is free, but pre-registration is required. Visit http://www.otsego2000.org/2019/02/22/register-historic-preservation-workshops/ to register.

At 11am, certified yoga instructor, Karla Andela will lead ‘Yoga, Big & Small’ in the small gym. Easy and fun yoga practices, appropriate for all ages, will be practiced. Open to all ages, though children under 6 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Heat Smart Otsego Campaign Director, Bennett Sandler will present ‘Case Studies of Renewables and Efficiency Upgrades in Otsego County’ in the auditorium at noon. The presentation will look at the impact efficiency upgrades and renewable energy technology have had on area homes and businesses.

Bicyclists of all ages are invited to join David Wells, a certified course instructor with the League of American Bicyclists for an active game to learn about NYS laws and safe practices for riding bikes in our communities. The game will be held in the small gym at 1pm.  No helmet or bicycle is needed to play this game.  A limited number of Woodland Cycles certificates for rechargeable bicycle light sets ($30 value) will be given out to participants arriving at the door, first-come-first-serve.

Sponsored by Otsego County Conservation Association, Earth Festival is an environmentally focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist. Earth Festival will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2019, from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School.

Earth Festival is made possible through donations by the following: Five Star Subaru, CNY Tent Rental, Otsego 2000, Cooperstown Natural Foods, Farm Credit East, Casella Waste Systems, Rich McCaffery, Delaware Otsego Audubon Society, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Otsego/Schoharie Counties, Otsego Lake Association, Susquehanna Chapter Adirondack Club, Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the Country Pride Cheese House.

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.

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Otsego County residents will have an opportunity to drop off a new class of item for recycling at Earth Festival this year: glass and porcelain.

“Glass is highly-recyclable, but it’s heavy and adds significantly to the County’s recycling costs,” said OCCA Executive Director, Leslie Orzetti. “We are fortunate to have a local industry that needs this material.”

Glass, porcelain and ceramic products will be collected at Earth Festival in a roll-off container provided by Casella Resource Solutions. Casella will transport the material to Ruby Lake Glass in Richfield Springs, where it will be put through an Andela Pulverizer System and converted into sand and gravel that has wide variety of applications, such as road base, construction, filtration, pipe bedding, decorative landscaping, and more.

“Our glass recycling equipment enables municipalities to save money, reduce the amount of glass being brought to landfills as well as the carbon footprint from mining new material by producing sand and gravel that can be used locally,” said Andela Products Sales Engineer, Brad Tifft.

The following items can be brought to Earth Festival for recycling: all glass jars and bottles; window, door and mirror glass (frames MUST be removed prior to dropping off); broken glass, drinking glasses, ovenware and ceramics, dishes, cups and plates; Pyrex; porcelain toilets and sinks. All items must be empty, clean and dry, though labels and caps and lids can be left on. Sinks must be all porcelain, not porcelain enameled over steel or other substances.

“We’re very excited about offering this opportunity,” said Orzetti.

Other items that can be brought to Earth Festival for recycling include Styrofoam (clean, white expanded polystyrene foam only); tennis balls; inkjet cartridges (NO toner); small handheld electronics, such as cell phones, digital cameras, tablets, iPads, iPods and natural cork from wine bottles. In addition, Empire Recycling will once again have their Confidata truck service available for shredding household documents from 11am-2pm, and the OCCA Recycling Committee will have reusable bags made from used pet food bags available for sale. For a full list of items, visit http://occainfo.org/recycling-earth-festival-2019/.

Earth Festival is an environmentally focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist. Earth Festival will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2019, from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School.

Earth Festival is made possible through donations by the following: Five Star Subaru, CNY Tent Rental, Otsego 2000, Cooperstown Natural Foods, Farm Credit East, Casella Waste Systems, Rich McCaffery, Delaware Otsego Audubon Society, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Otsego/Schoharie Counties, Otsego Lake Association, Susquehanna Chapter Adirondack Club, Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the Country Pride Cheese House.

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.

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Organizers of the fourteenth annual Earth Festival have announced the return of two popular features: Movie Night, and the Community Clothes Swap.

Movie Night, sponsored by Otsego 2000 and Glimmerglass Film Days will feature Paris to Pittsburgh. Directed by Sidney Beaumont and Michael Bonfiglio, this 2018 documentary celebrates how Americans are demanding and developing real solutions to climate change, and how communities around the country have responded to the decision to pull America out of the Paris Accord. Paris to Pittsburgh will be shown on Friday, April 12 at 7pm at the Cooperstown Village Hall Ballroom, located at 22 Main Street, Cooperstown. Admission is free.

Returning for its second year, the Earth Festival Clothing Swap will be held in the school cafeteria during Earth Festival. Lightly used clothing of all kinds, without stains, tears or strong scents can be dropped off at the school cafeteria beginning Saturday morning. Clothing will be put on display in the school cafeteria, and anyone is free to take what they want, no limits.

“Last year’s clothing swap was a great success and we’re excited to do it again this year,” said Angelica Palmer, who organized the swap. “Not only did thousands of garments find new homes with local residents, but many people learned that swapping clothes is an alternative to shopping.”

Two hundred people participated in the swap last year. At the end of the day, remaining clothing will be donated to area charities. Palmer asked for community volunteers to help with the swap.

“It takes a community to run this. We’d like people who are dropping off clothes to spend a few minutes helping us organize the clothes, and then they’re free to browse,” Palmer said. “We’d also like it if people could help us throughout the course of the day.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for the clothing swap should contact OCCA at (607) 547-4488. Information about the event can be found at http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/.

Earth Festival is an environmentally focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist. Earth Festival will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2019, from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School. Sponsorship and exhibitor/vendor opportunities are still available.

Earth Festival is made possible through donations by the following: Five Star Subaru, CNY Tent Rental, Otsego 2000, Cooperstown Natural Foods, Farm Credit East, Casella Waste Systems, Rich McCaffery, Delaware Otsego Audubon Society, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Otsego/Schoharie Counties, Otsego Lake Association, Susquehanna Chapter Adirondack Club, Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the Country Pride Cheese House.

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.

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Heat Smart Otsego will be running tours of residential installations of clean heating and cooling technologies including ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps and modern wood burning systems.  The tours, scheduled for late March, are intended to let homeowners see first hand what these systems look and sound like, as well as chat directly with homeowners who have installed these systems.

“If you’ve never seen one of these systems installed, now is your chance to see one in action,” said Bennett Sandler, Heat Smart Otsego’s Campaign Director. “These systems are already gaining popularity because they save money, add comfort, and make your home safer to live in.  In the next 5 to 10 years, these systems will replace most of the fuel oil, propane, and electric resistance heating systems in Otsego County.” 

Two tours are planned: Saturday, March 30 in the southern part of the county, and Sunday March 31st  in the northern part of the county.  Tours will begin at 11:00 am and end by 3:00 pm.  Each tour will visit three different homes, one with a ground source heat pump, one with an air source heat pump, and one with either a wood gasification or pellet stove.  The tours are free but registration is required.  Please contact Sandler by email at campaigndirector@occainfo.org or by phone (607) 435-1364 to sign up.  

Funded by a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Heat Smart Otsego promotes renewable heating and cooling technologies to building owners across Otsego County.  To learn more about air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps (geothermal), pellet stoves and modern wood boilers with thermal storage visit Heat Smart Otsego’s website at https://heatsmartotsego.org.  Heat Smart Otsego is a project of the Otsego County Conservation Association, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, research, resource management, advocacy, planning and practice. For more information, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.

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The OCCA/Mohican Farm Be Informed Lecture Series program, “Ticks & Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know” has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 27 at 6:30pm at Elm Park United Methodist Church in Oneonta. The program features entomologist, Dr. Carmen Greenwood and Theresa Oellrich, RN. Originally scheduled for mid-February, the program was postponed due to bad weather.

Greenwood, an entomologist at SUNY Cobleskill, will discuss the life cycle and habits of ticks, focusing in particular on the black-legged (deer) tick. Oellrich, the communicable disease coordinator for the Otsego County Health Department, will cover Lyme disease and its impact on human health.

The program is free, but pre-registration is appreciated. Visit www.occainfo.org for more information or to sign up for the program.

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.

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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.


NEW DATE!Be informed lecture series: Ticks & Lyme Disease
March 27, 6:30 – 8:00pm, Elm Park Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St., 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 cover the specifics of Lyme disease, including its health impacts, treatment and prevention, and what to do if bitten by a tick.

Heat Smart Otsego Home Tours
March 30, March 31, 11am -3pm
Visit Otsego County homes that have installed ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, or modern wood burning systems with Heat Smart Otsego Campaign Director, Bennett Sandler. Participants will have the opportunity to see these systems in operation and talk to homeowners who have installed them. Saturday’s tour will be in the southern part of the County, while Sunday’s tour will feature homes in northern Otsego County. Tours are free, but registration is required.
Contact Bennett Sandler at campaigndirector@occainfo.org or (607) 435-1364 for more information or to register.

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!

Earth Festival Movie Night
April 12 – 7pm  Cooperstown Village Hall, Upstairs Ballroom
Otsego 2000 and the Glimmerglass Film Festival are again sponsoring the Earth Festival Friday Film Night.  This year’s film is Paris to Pittsburgh a National Geographic film celebrating how Americans are demanding and developing real solutions in the face of Climate Change. The film features voices from local leaders as well as everyday Americans presenting the stories behind climate-related recovery and resiliency, as well as tireless innovative efforts to reduce carbon emissions, including boomtowns formerly reliant on coal such as Pittsburgh.  The movie is free and open to the public.

Eco-Art Call for Artists
Area artists can submit artwork for the ECO-Art (& Craft) Competition as part of Otsego County Conservation Association’s annual Earth Festival event this spring. Artists of all ages and skill levels can enter artwork of any kind, provided it is created primarily with repurposed, reused and/or recycled material. The Community Arts Network of Oneonta (CANO) is organizing the ECO-Art (& Craft) competition. CANO will be awarding first and second prize in each of the following categories: Youth (under 10 years old); Teen (ages 10-17); and Adult (18 and up). An entry form is available atoccainfo.org/earth-festival/. For more information, contact Flo Loomis by e-mail (lojac@dmcom.net) or at (607) 293-6627. Earth Festival will be held on Saturday, April 13 from 11am-3pm at Milford Central School.

Plastic Bag Challenge
We are halfway through the Otsego County plastic bag challenge!  Kids at Cherry Valley/Springfield, Cooperstown, Gilbertsville/Mt. Upton, Morris, Oneonta Middle School, Richfield Springs, Unatego, Valleyview Elementary, and Worcester have continued their hard work collecting all kinds of film plastic.  After the last weigh in, Gilbertsville/Mt. Upton Elementary School is still in the lead.  Help your local school 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.

Otsego County Rain Barrel and Compost Bin Sale
Have you been meaning to start home composting? Are you looking for a way to conserve water? The Otsego County Department of Planning and Solid Waste can help with both! Now through April 28 you can order compost bins, rain barrels and accessories by visiting www.enviroworld.us/otsegocounty. Bins and barrels are offered at substantial savings compared to store prices. Orders will be delivered to the Meadows Office Complex and must be picked up on May 4, between the hours of 8am and 1pm. For more information, contact the Solid Waste and Recycling Department at (607) 547-4225, or visitwww.otsegocounty.com.

Lunch-Break Workshops with Master Gardeners
Noon-1pm, CCE Education Center, Cooperstown
Take a break with the Master Gardeners and learn about interesting and important gardening topics. Sessions are free and open to the public, but call (607) 547-2536 x 228 and let them know you’re coming.
March 13: Grafting Fruit Trees, with Paul Mendelsohn, Otsego Master Gardener
May 8: GROW Initiative, with Francine Stayter and Carol Phelps, Otsego Master Gardeners
June 12: Culinary Herbs, with Gert Coleman, Vegetable & Herb Specialist

Leatherstocking & Greater Catskills Young Farmers Coalition Farmers Meet-up and Potluck
March 31, 2-5pm, Star Route Farm, 796 County Highway 40, Charlotteville
Tour Star Route Farm from 2-3pm, followed by a farmers’ social hour and potluck featuring guest, Jim Barber, Cornell Ag & Farmland Implementation Specialist, who will facilitate an informal listening session from 3:00pm-5:00pm. This is an opportunity to share our challenges, discuss what resources we need, and talk about how local policymakers can incentivize beginning and small-scale sustainable agriculture in our region. Please bring a dish or drink to share. Contact Greta at leatherstocking.nyfc@gmail.com for more information or to RSVP.

Delaware Otsego Audubon Society Trips
Turtle Talk
Marth 15, 730pm, Elm Park Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St., Oneonta
Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society will host Alexandra Vlk, a Graduate Student at SUNY Oneonta, for a public program about Wood Turtles. This program is free and open to the public. Free refreshments will be available.

Trip to Montezuma Wildlife Refuge
March 24, 730am, Dietz Street Parking Lot, Oneonta
Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society will lead a birding field trip to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge to view migratory waterfowl and shorebirds on their annual journey to their breeding grounds.  The Montezuma Wetlands Complex is a globally significant Important Bird Area because of the incredible number of waterfowl that stop there during the migration seasons.  Those interested in carpooling will meet at the Dietz Street Parking lot (across from the Oneonta YMCA) at 7:30am. This is an all day trip with an expected return to Oneonta around 5:00pm. Participants should plan on packing a bagged lunch and snacks, water, etc. For additional details, contact DOAS Member and local environmental educator, Chris DeCesare at 607-244-5496 or chris.decesare444@gmail.com.

Annual Spring Waterfowl Trip Around Otsego Lake
March 30, 830am, Cooperstown’s Lake Front Docks at the foot of Fair St.
DOAS will host the annual waterfowl trip around Otsego Lake again this spring. Sightings from the past have included unusual duck species, such as the Eurasian wigeon (spotted alongside an American wigeon), along with more common area waterfowl like ring-necked, wood and black ducks, bufflehead, hooded, common and red-breasted mergansers, greater scaup, American coot, mallard, northern shoveler, and Canada goose.  Meet promptly at the docks in Cooperstown at 830am.  Cars will be pooled and radio connected, and the trip will last until around noon. For more information, contact DOAS Member and Trip Leader, Bob Donnelly at rsdonn@yahoo.com or 607-264-8156.

Position Opening:  Giant Hogweed Strike Team, Central and Western New York
New York DEC Forest Health is looking for professional, self-directed, hard-working people with strong communication skills to be part of DEC’s giant hogweed control program. Giant hogweed strike teams will survey for and control giant hogweed, a non-native invasive plant with sap capable of causing injury to humans, in Central and Western NY from April 22-August 20. For information, contact Naja Kraus, Terrestrial Invasive Plants Coordinator, at naja.kraus@dec.ny.gov.