Our Environment.
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OUR CHALLENGE.

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Steve Kent leads a snowshoe hike to Mud Lake at Robert V. Riddell State Park on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at noon. Steve and his wife, Patricia Riddell Kent, donated the land for the state park in 2005. The walk is part of a series of hikes in outdoor areas sponsored by Otsego County Conservation Association. Participants should dress for the weather and bring their own snowshoes, water, and a snack. If there isn’t enough snow for snowshoes, the hike will proceed on foot.

Parking is on the east side of Gersoni Road, just south of Interstate 88, exit 17. Walkers will follow the trail up to Mud Lake, a pond and sphagnum bog at the top of South Hill, and return to the starting point. The hike is expected to take 3.5 hours and is free, though pre-registration is requested. Visit http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/ to sign up online, or contact Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director, at (607) 282-4087.

Save the Date

Tick Update

March 6 – 3:30pm – 6:00pm – Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cobleskill

Joellen Lampman from the NYS Integrated Pest Management program will present a Tick Update, highlighting the latest in tick ID and preventive measures for what has become a major public health issue. This free program is sponsored by the Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, and takes place at the CCE Cobleskill Office, 173 South Grand Street, Suite 1, Cobleskill. Register online at: https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/TickUpdate_243

Mud Lake Snowshoe Walk

March 10 – 12:00pm – 4:30pm – Riddell State Park

Join Steve Kent for this hike up to Mud Lake at Robert V. Riddell State Park. Along the way, Steve will share interesting tales of the life of the land when it was part of the Riddell family. Steve and his wife, Patricia Riddell Kent, donated the land to the state in 2005. Bring your own snowshoes, as well as water, a snack, and appropriate clothing. If there is not sufficient snow, we will proceed on foot. Sign up at https://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/.

 

 

Get the Kids Out – Mud!

March 28 – 10:00am – 11:30am – Mohican Farm, Springfield

With warmer weather comes melting snow and ice, rain, and…mud! Take a walk around Mohican Farm in Springfield and explore the wet and muddy world of spring. We’ll look for animal tracks, and make our own if we can’t find any. Wear boots, or bring a change of shoes and socks. Meet at the parking lot at the parking lot in front of OCCA’s office, 7207 State Highway 80, Cooperstown (corner of Allen Lake Road and Route 80). Dress for the weather! The event is free and open to the public. Register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/

 

 

Earth Festival

April 21 – 11:00am – 3:00pm – Milford Central School
Back for its fourteenth year, Earth Festival is an environmentally focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist. Keep an eye on our Earth Festival page (http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/) for updates on vendors, activities, and recycling opportunities.

Earth Festival is an environmentally focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist.

 

 Earth Festival Movie Night
 April 20 – 7pm – Milford Central School Auditorium
For the second year, we are offering a Friday night movie in line with the theme of the festival. This year’s film is being sponsored by sponsored by Otsego 2000 and Glimmerglass Film Festival. Come check out Landfill Harmonic, an inspiring film about “The Recycled Orchestra”, a group of children from a Paraguayan slum who play instruments made entirely of garbage. It is a beautiful story about the transformative power of music, which also highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution. The film and FREE and open to the public. For more information on the film and to view a trailer, visit https://vimeo.com/52711779 or www.youtube.com/landfillharmonic.  
LANDFILL HARMONIC is a documentary that follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical youth group who live next to one of South America’s l…

 

Spring Garden Day

April 21 – 10:30am – 2:00pm – Milford Central School
Master Gardener Volunteers of Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties are sponsoring Spring Garden Day (SGD), a day devoted to gardening and growing environments featuring a variety of workshops, held in conjunction with the OCCA Earth Festival. This year’s theme is “Try Something New.” Workshops will occur at 11am and 1pm. Registration fees apply. For more information, visit http://cceschoharie-otsego.org/events/2018/04/21/spring-garden-day-2018

 

 

 

Ag plastic collections coming up

OCCA, the Otsego County Solid Waste Department, the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Casella Waste Systems are again teaming up to provide farmers the opportunity to drop off used agricultural film plastics such as bale wrap, silage bags, bunker silo cover, boat wrap and greenhouse covers for recycling. Wood pellet bags will also be accepted. Collection dates are May 10 at Oneonta and May 12 at Cooperstown. Plastic needs to be relatively clean and dry, and sorted by type. For details on handling and how to sign up for this free program, contact OCCA at (607) 282-4087.

 

OCCA Goes Green with Online Garage Sale

In an effort to lower our carbon footprint, OCCA is going green this year and moving our Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Garage on to the web.  Instead of using vehicles to pick up, drop off and move items, we will be hosting an online store where you can still get donate and purchase items for a great deal!  A special committee of staff and board members has been working diligently to set up an online store on the OCCA website to make purchasing a breeze.  The new “garage sale” website will be officially unveiled at Earth Festival, and you can even shop right there!  Items will also be listed on Craig’s List for those who would like to shop that way.  Of course we’ll need items to sell, to donate, just call OCCA at 547-4488, snap a photo of your item, and email it to one of our team members at occagaragesale@gmail.com.  The team will then post your item on our store site, and sell the item for you.  If you would like the items out of your home ASAP, you can bring them to OCCA, and we’ll store them for you.  OCCA will not be accepting small items such as clothing and books, but we have other options for you (see clothing swap below).  We hope all our donors and shoppers will still participate in our event and help keep items out of the landfill.  Stay tuned for more information via email, our website (www.occainfo.org/reduce-reuse-recycle-garage-sale/) and Facebook for more information.

We’re Going Green!!!! As part of OCCA’s mission to reduce our carbon footprint we will not be holding our traditional “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Garage Sale” for …

 

 

First Annual OCCA Clothing Swap

 April 21 – 11:00am – 3:00pm – Milford Central School
 In lieu of clothing donations at our garage sale (now going green) we are holding our first annual Community Clothing Swap at Earth Festival this year.  Organized by Angelica Palmer, the clothing swap is a great way to donate gently used clothing and get some new fashion at the same time.  A great “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” to keep textiles out of the landfills.  You can donate your gently used clothing, including winter coats and boots, prom dresses, and Halloween costumes on Friday April 20 from 4pm-8pm and at the event Saturday April 21 from 930am-1pm.  We will take all family clothing (men, women, boys, girls).  Please have your donations marked with size and gender so we can sort them easily.  The event is FREE and you do not have to donate to partake in the bounty.  Feeling generous, we will have staff on-hand to take donations, but they are not necessary.  If you have any questions, contact Angelica Palmer at  angelica@dzeli.com.

 

 

Recycling Opportunities at Earth Festival

In keeping with the Earth Day Network’s theme for this year’s Earth Day, Earth Festival’s theme will be Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  To that end, we will be offering many opportunities for recycling that you might now know about.  We will still have our paper shredding (5 box limit); clean, white Styrofoam; shoes; Christmas lights, toilet and paper towel rolls; windowed envelopes; small, handheld electronics; ink jet cartridges; fishing line; tennis balls; natural cork.

Grant Opportunity for Septic Tank Improvements

 Otsego County is participating in a NY Department of Environmental Conservation program to help homeowners within 250 feet of Goodyear Lake make improvements to their septic systems. Permanent residents who meet the qualifications of the program can apply for up to 50% of costs (not exceeding $10,000) to make improvements.  Allowable costs include: design, repair, rehabilitation, installation, septic systems and components, and costs for enhanced maintenance.  For more information on the program, visit Otsego County Planning Department Facebook page@ https://www.facebook.com/ Otsego-County-Planning-and- Solid-Waste-Department- 974719492662975/
Otsego County Planning and Solid Waste Department. 61 likes · 4 talking about this. Welcome to the Otsego County Planning and Solid Waste Department…

 

 

 

 

OCCA Citizen Science Stream Monitoring Program a Success!

Since October, over 20 volunteers and three schools have been monitoring nine different streams around Otsego County.  All together, they have collected over 400 data points on water quality parameters such as nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen, water clarity, conductivity, pH and temperature. Our volunteer monitors are a great bunch and we are so very greatful to have all of them!! We will be having a table at Earth Festival where monitors will be there to show you their equipment, talk to you about their experiences, and share their data with you, so come on by.   If you or a school you know is interesting in getting involved, see our website at: http://occainfo.org/citizen- science-stream-monitoring/ or email Leslie Orzetti at director@occainfo.org.

This is the first county-wide stream monitoring program entirely carried out by citizen volunteers with OCCA’s coordination in the New York portion of the …
Did You Know?

“Rasputitsa” is the name given to the muddy periods associated with spring thaw and autumn rains in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The word means “loss of ways,” and refers to how dirt roads turned to mud and virtually disappeared during those seasons. A combination of poor road construction, inadequate drainage, melting snow and ice, and frozen subsoil contributes to the rasputitsa.

OCCA’s annual Earth Festival event returns on April 21, 2018 at Milford Central School. New this year is the Community Clothing Swap.

“The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that over one billion pounds of clothing and textiles are thrown out in the state each year,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s Executive Director. “We hope this will cut down some of the waste a little.”

Gently used, good condition clothing of all kinds will be accepted and put on display in the school cafeteria. Earth Festival attendees will have the opportunity to look through the clothing and take what they need. At the end of the day, leftover clothing will be given to various charities. The event is free and open to the public. Monetary donations are welcome, but not required.

“The clothing swap enables us to help people find new homes for their gently-used goods, and to find good quality clothes for themselves and their families,” said Angelica Palmer, who is running the swap for the event.

Items can be dropped off at the school beginning on Friday, April 20, from 4:00 to 8:00pm, or on Saturday, April 21, from 9:30 through 1 p.m. The festival runs on Saturday, April 21, from 11 am to 3 pm. Earth Festival movie night is on Friday, April 20, at 6:30 pm.

Earth Festival is an environmentally-focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist. Earth Festival is a program of the Otsego County Conservation Association. Sponsors include Cooperstown Natural Foods, Otsego 2000, and CNY Tent Rentals.

Founded in 1968, Otsego County Conservation Association is 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 Otsego County Conservation Association is “Going Green” for their annual ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ Garage Sale. The sale will no longer take place at the end of April at the Farmers’ Market Building in Cooperstown, but instead will be held on-line to save on transportation costs and cut the event’s carbon footprint.

“Over the past few years, there has been an overwhelming outpouring of donations from our supporters,” said OCCA Executive Director, Leslie Orzetti, “and we hope our veteran donors and shoppers will continue their support in our new and improved green format. Instead of using vehicles to pick up, drop off and move items, we will be hosting an on-line store where you can both donate and shop!”

The on-line garage sale will only accept household items such as furniture, kitchen electronics, appliances, sporting goods, art, and any larger items. Clothing will not be accepted, Orzetti said, but can be brought instead to a clothing swap at Earth Festival in Milford on April 21.

Items must be in good condition, and can be donated from March 1 until May 1. The sale opens officially on April 16 and will continue until all items are sold.  If the sale is popular, OCCA will continue to accept donations and sell items year round.

Proceeds from the sale will help support OCCA’s environmental programs. “We’ll reveal the official sale website at Earth Festival,” Orzetti said. “This will be a great way to get great deals and help the environment!”

For further information, contact OCCA at (607) 547-4488, or visit www.occainfo.org/reduce-reuse-recycle-garage-sale/.

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, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org

(COOPERSTOWN)–Otsego County Conservation Association will be hosting its annual Earth Festival event at Milford Central School on Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Earth Festival brings together a wide variety of environmentally-themed exhibits, vendors and activities for a fun and educational day. Returning activities include the pre-festival bird walk, the Eco-Art/Trendy Trash contest, yoga for kids and adults, and Master Gardeners’ Spring Garden Day. Confirmed exhibitors and vendors include OCCA, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, Otsego 2000/Cooperstown Farmers’ Market, and Ideuma Creek Alpacas, with more being added each day. In addition, Earth Festival will continue the tradition of offering Otsego residents the chance to drop off difficult-to-dispose of items for recycling, including Styrofoam, tennis balls, Christmas lights, and more.

Also returning this year is Earth Festival Movie Night, sponsored by Otsego 2000. This year’s film is Landfill Harmonic, an inspiring story of “The Recycled Orchestra,” a group of children from a Paraguayan slum who play instruments made entirely of garbage. This beautiful story about the transformative power of music also highlights two vital issues of our time: poverty and waste pollution. The film follows the orchestra as it takes its inspiring spectacle of trash-into-music around the globe. Landfill Harmonic will be screened on Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in the Herbert B. Garman, Jr. Performing Arts Center at Milford Central School.

New this year is a community clothes swap, an opportunity to find a new home for lightly-worn clothing. Clothing and shoes for all ages and genders are welcome, though no clothing with holes, stains, or strong odors will be accepted. Clothing can be dropped off Friday evening and Saturday before and during the event, which is free and open to all.

Vendor/exhibitor spaces are still available for Earth Festival. For more information, or to make a donation, visit OCCA’s website, http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/ or call (607) 547-4488.

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.

(COOPERSTOWN) – Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) and Mohican Farm kick off their 2018 Be Informed! Lecture Series with “Ticks and Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know” on Wednesday, February 21 at 6:30 pm. The program will be held in the community room at The Clark Sports Center, 124 County Road 52, Cooperstown. The program is free and open to the public.

“With tick season just around the corner, it’s important for people to understand the facts about ticks and tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease,” said OCCA Executive Director, Leslie Orzetti.

Dr. Carmen Greenwood, Associate Professor at SUNY Cobleskill, will present information on the biology and ecology of ticks, focusing on the black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick), which transmits Lyme disease. Greenwood has a Ph.D. in entomology and conducts research on arthropod ecology.

Bob Sutherland, manager of Mohican Farm for The Clark Foundation, said, “Understanding the life cycle of ticks can perhaps help us figure out how to manage the landscape to avoid them.”

Following Greenwood’s presentation, Theresa Oellrich, RN, Communicable Disease Coordinator of Otsego County will discuss the specifics of Lyme disease, including its health impacts, treatment and prevention, and what to do if bitten by a tick.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by bites from previously-infected blacklegged ticks (Ioxides scapularis). Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic ‘bullseye’ rash on the skin. Left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 26,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease nationwide in 2016, the last year data is available.

“I had Lyme disease three summer ago. It is not fun,” said Sutherland. “I urge people to learn about this important health issue.”

The program is free, but pre-registration is requested. For more information, visit OCCA’s website at www.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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Save the Date

Winter Carnival Snowshoe Walk

February 11 – 10:30 – 12:00pm – Clark Sports Center

Have the winter time blues?  Bundle up and hit the woodland trail Winter Carnival weekend at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown with OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley.  This themed hike will focus on signs of life past, present and future. Look for animal tracks and scat (aka, poop!), nests, evidence of feeding and more. The event is free and open to the public.  Meet in the lobby of the Clark Sports Center. Pre-registration is appreciated but not required.  Register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/

Get the Kids Out – Winter Scavenger Hunt

February 21 – 10:00am – 12:00pm – Riddell State Park

Take a break from school vacation week with a winter scavenger hunt with OCCA in Riddell State Park. Discover the hidden life of forests and fields, and get some fresh air, too! Meet at the parking lot in Robert V. Riddell State Park and dress for the weather! The event is free and open to the public.  Pre-registration is appreciated but not required.  Register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/

Be Informed! Lecture Series – Ticks and Lyme Disease:  What You Need to Know

February 21 – 6:30pm – Community Room, Clark Sports Center, Coopersown

Spring is right around the corner, and that means ticks will soon be back out in force. Learn about the biology and ecology of ticks, their role in the transmittal of diseases, and how to protect yourself and your family. Speakers include Dr. Carmen Greenwood, Associate Professor, SUNY Cobleskill, and Theresa Oellrich, RN, Communicable Disease Coordinator of Otsego County.

Mud Lake Snowshoe Walk

March 10 – 12:00pm – 4:30pm – Riddell State Park

Join Steve Kent for this hike up to Mud Lake at Robert V. Riddell State Park. Along the way, Steve will share interesting tales of the life of the land when it was part of the Riddell family. Steve and his wife, Patricia Riddell Kent, donated the land to the state in 2005. Bring your own snowshoes, as well as water, a snack, and appropriate clothing. If there is not sufficient snow, we will proceed on foot. Sign up at https://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/.

 

Earth Festival

April 21 – 11:00am – 3:00pm – Milford Central School
Back for its fourteenth year, Earth Festival is an environmentally focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist. Keep an eye on our Earth Festival page (http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/) for updates on vendors, activities, and recycling opportunities.

Announcements 

New rules for wood pellet bags

The OCCA-Ace Hardware wood pellet bag collection has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue recycling your pellet bags. Several stores in Otsego County, including Price Chopper, Hannaford, and Tops, accept wood pellet bags as part of their film plastic recycling program. To prepare your wood pellet bags properly: cut the top completely off the bag and discard; completely empty the bag of pellets and residue (turning inside out may help); store flat or in tight rolls; drop off at the film plastic recycling containers at Price Chopper, Hannaford or Tops with your other film plastic recyclables. For information on other types of film plastics that can be recycled, and for a directory on where to recycle them, visit https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/recycling-bags-and-wraps/find-drop-off-location/

 

OCCA Goes Green with Electronic Garage Sale

In an effort to lower our carbon footprint, OCCA is going green this year and moving our Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Garage on to the web.  Instead of using vehicles to pick up, drop off and move items, we will be hosting an online store where you can still get donate and purchase items for a great deal!  Over the past  few years, we have had an overwhelming outpouring of donations from our supporters.  This year we are trying to refine the process so we do not have so many things left over at the end of the yard sale to find good homes for.  After the yard sale, many items were donated to the SAS, local shelters and the Salvation Army, but we still had many unwanted items to take to the dump…..certainly not the intention of the yard sale.  So, this year YOU can sit back and donate and shop from the comfort of your own home.  We will be accepting household items for donation that are in good condition from March 1 until May 1 with the sale ongoing until our items are sold.  To donate, just call OCCA at 547-4488, snap a photo of your item, and email it to one of our team members.  The team will then post your item on our store site, and sell the item for you.  If you would like the items out of your home ASAP, you can bring them to OCCA, and we’ll store them for you.  OCCA will not be accepting small items such as clothing and books, but we have other options for you (see clothing swap below).  We hope all our donors and shoppers will still participate in our event and help keep items out of the landfill.  Stay tuned for more information via email, our website (www.occainfo.org/reduce-reuse-recycle-garage-sale/) and Facebook for more information.

 

First Annual OCCA Clothing Swap

April 21 – 11:00am – 3:00pm – Milford Central School

In lieu of clothing donations at our garage sale (now going green) we are holding our first annual Community Clothing Swap at Earth Festival this year.  Organized by Angelica Palmer, the clothing swap is a great way to donate gently used clothing and get some new fashion at the same time.  A great “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” to keep textiles out of the landfills.  You can donate your gently used clothing, including winter coats and boots, prom dresses, and Halloween costumes on Friday April 20 and at the event Saturday April 21.  We will take all family clothing (men, women, boys, girls).  Please have your donations marked with size and gender so we can sort them easily.  The event is FREE and you do not have to donate to partake in the bounty.  Feeling generous, we will have staff on-hand to take donations, but they are not necessary.  If you have any questions, contact Angelica Palmer at angelica@dzeli.com.

Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause

February 11 – 5:00 – 7:00pm – Cooperstown Farmer’s Market

Go join Otsego 2000 for an evening of community fun and comfort food, featuring local chefs preparing scrumptious grilled cheese sandwiches and soups. Click here to purchase tickets. This year’s event will benefit Otsego Outdoors.

Cold Winter, Warm Community Winter Carnival Ice Breaker

February 11 – 2 – 4:30pm – Cooperstown Distillery

View Otsego Land Trust’s “Picture Perfect” exhibit, a display of wonderful photographs taken around our community. At 3pm, take part in a fun 30-minute trivia contest about the area’s wildlife and environment. At 4pm, The Freeman’s Journal presents the award to the winner of the Winter Carnival Medallion Search.

Recycling Opportunities at Earth Festival

In keeping with the Earth Day Network’s theme for this year’s Earth Day, Earth Festival’s theme will be Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  To that end, we will be offering many opportunities for recycling that you might now know about.  We will still have our paper shredding (5 box limit); clean, white Styrofoam; shoes; Christmas lights, toilet and paper towel rolls; windowed envelopes; small, handheld electronics; ink jet cartridges; fishing line; tennis balls; natural cork.

 

Positions Available

The Natural Heritage Trust is seeking candidates for the position of Water Resources Coordinator to help monitor and maintain the water quality, safety, and recreational uses of New York state park watebodies. Applications due February 16, 2018. For full position description and how to apply, call Natural Heritage Trust at (518) 474-0409.

Invasive Species Strike Teams: The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is seeking to fill a number of positions on their invasive species strike teams. Strike Team Specialists and Supervisors will primarily be involved in manual invasive plant removals, surveys, education and other activities on State Park lands. These are seasonal, full-time positions from late May through mid-November. Closing date is March 9. See https://parks.ny.gov/employment/park-employment.aspx for detailed job descriptions, contact information, and how to apply.

Friends of Recreation, Conservation and Environmental Stewardship (FORCES), a program of The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is seeking applicants for positions as FORCES Stewardship Corps Members and Supervisors for the summer May through August). FORCES Stewardship Corps will be working alongside State Parks staff on projects in Taughannock Falls, Buttermilk Falls, and Robert H. Tremain State Parks. Closing date is March 9; however, interviews will begin in February, so apply ASAP. For detailed information, contact rebecca.siber@parks.ny.gov.

(COOPERSTOWN)—Otsego County Conservation Association is seeking sponsors, vendors and exhibitors for the 14th annual Earth Festival, event organizers said.

Established in 2005, Earth Festival is an environmentally-focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, activities and vendors. This year’s theme is Reduce, ReUse Recycle, and will take place onSaturday, April 21 at Milford Central School, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Earth Festival is an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and organizations, and to promote your environmentally-friendly products, services, and practices to an ever-growing audience,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director.

Contributions and sponsors are being sought to help defray the costs of the event, which includes table and chair rentals, facility fees, promotion and advertising, and charges for the event’s popular recycling programs. Sponsors will receive recognition on Earth Festival promotional materials, Orzetti said.

In addition to sponsorships, Orzetti said registration is now open for vendors and exhibitors interested in attending the event. Each vendor and exhibitor will have an eight-foot table for their display.

“The event attracts over eight hundred people each year,” Orzetti said. “We look forward to seeing the outpouring of support from the community to rally around the conservation of natural resources.”

The vendor and information fair takes place in the school gym, while special workshops and activities occur throughout the building. New this year is a clothing swap, to help people find new homes for unwanted but good condition clothes. Returning activities include a morning bird walk led by members of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society; Spring Garden Day, a special program of the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie Otsego Counties; the Eco-Art/Trendy Trash exhibit and competition; and special recycling opportunities, including paper shredding.

Returning for the second year is Earth Festival movie night, sponsored by Otsego 2000. Held on Friday, April 20, this year’s film will be “Landfill Harmonic.” The award winning documentary follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical group that plays instruments made out of items scavenged from the local landfill.

“This is an inspiring film. I’m thrilled we’ll be able to share it with the public,” Orzetti said.

Sponsorships are being accepted through April 13. For information on how to get involved, either as a sponsor or vendor/exhibitor, contact Orzetti at (607) 547-4488, or visit 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.

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Otsego County Conservation Association’s upcoming events focus on enjoying winter weather with three snowshoe hikes and a special kids’ program.

On Saturday, January 27, OCCA will participate in the third annual Cabin Fever Winter Fest at Gilbert Lake State Park. OCCA will lead two snowshoe hikes around the lake for beginners, one at 11:30 and a second at 1:30. A limited supply of snowshoes is available to borrow courtesy of Five Star Subaru. The entire Cabin Fever Winter Fest event runs from11am to 3pm and includes cross country skiing, winter camping demonstrations, crafts for kids, and more. The event is free and open to the public.

OCCA also leads a snowshoe hike as part of the Cooperstown Winter Carnival on Sunday, February 11. The walk will take place along trails through the woods and along the Susquehanna River behind the Clark Sports Center, 124 County Road 52, Cooperstown. Meet at the main entrance of the sports center at 10:30. Bring your own snowshoes.

On Wednesday, February 21, OCCA leads Get the Kids Out! Winter Wonders at Robert V. Riddell State Park in Oneonta. This special scavenger hunt program will be a search for signs of life in the midst of winter. Meet at the main entrance to Riddell State Park on State Route 28, just north of I-88 Exit 17 at 10 am.

Finally, on Saturday, March 10, Steve Kent leads a snowshoe hike to Mud Lake at Robert V. Riddell State Park in Oneonta. Meet at noon on County Road 48 (Gersoni Road) just south of Interstate 88 exit 17. This 5-mile hike will traverse some steep areas to Mud Lake, a bog at the top of South Hill, and return to the cars.

In the event there is not enough snow for any of the snowshoe walks, programs will proceed on foot. All OCCA hikes are free. For further information, visit occainfo.org or call (607)547-4488.

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

SAVE THE DATE

Well Spent Wednesday

January 24 –11am – 10pm – Alex’s Bistro (149 Main Street, Cooperstown)

Come join OCCA for a meal at Alex’s Bistro in Cooperstown.  Alex has generously offered to donate 15% of your bill to OCCA.  This can only work if you come out for a wonderful meal at Alex’s!  We LOVE Alex’s eclectic menu and hope that you will as well.  Just mention OCCA when you dine.  We’ll have an OCCA employee at the restaurant for most of the day if you want to stop by and say hello!

Cabin Fever Fest Snowshoe Walk

January 27 –11:30am and 1:30pm – Gilbert Lake State Park

Join OCCA at Five Star Subaru’s Cabin Fever Fest at Gilbert Lake State Park for a snowshoe hike or two.  Again this year, OCCA will be leading two snowshoe walks around Gilbert Lake.  No snowshoes, no problem!  You can borrow some from the Mt. Otsego Ski Shop.  Program Director Jeff O’Handley will lead these walks and give fun ecological facts about Otsego County and point out neat wintertime nature finds along the way.  There will be two hikes, 11:30 and 1:30.  Join us for this fun free event!

Register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/

Winter Carnival Showshoe Walk

February 11 – 10:30 – 12:00pm – Clark Sports Center

Have the winter time blues?  Bundle up and hit the woodland trail Winter Carnival weekend at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown with OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley.  This themed hike will focus on signs of life past, present and future. Look for animal tracks and scat (aka, poop!), nests, evidence of feeding and more. The event is free and open to the public.  Meet in the lobby of the Clark Sports Center. Pre-registration is appreciated but not required.  Register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/

ANNOUNCEMENTS

50th Anniversary Annual Appeal a Success!

A big and hearty thanks to everyone who shared your holiday cheer with OCCA!!  Our 50th Anniversary Annual Appeal is off to a great start.  With a goal of $50,000 for our 50th Anniversary year, we have a lot of work to do and we’re off and running because of our generous donors.  We are about to top the $10,000 mark in just our first month!  As always, your donations go to helping OCCA put on all of its FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC programs like nature hikes, lectures, festivals and much, much more.  It’s not too late to donate to OCCA for our 50th Anniversary year! If you would like to donate online, please see our Annual Appeal campaign page @ https://occainfo.networkforgood.com/projects/43100-2017-annual-appeal. Any and all donations are welcome, and no gift is too small.   Pass the word on to your friends this year  that you value the work OCCA does and challenge them to match your donation to our efforts.

 

Recycle Your Christmas Lights

If you’re finding more and more strings of Christmas lights that aren’t working, look to recycle them! Lights can be dropped off at Lowe’s stores, or boxed and mailed to companies like Holiday LEDs (holidayleds.com), the Christmas Light Source (christmas-light-source.com) or Environmental LED (environmentalled.com).  You can also bring your spent holiday lights to OCCA and we will take them to Lowe’s for you.  Drop your lights off at Mohican Farm location (Corner of Rte. 80 and Allen Lake Road) until January 24.

Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District Seeking Winter/Spring Intern

This internship position will support Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) with various projects in Otsego County. The position will provide experience in watershed assessment methods, riparian forest monitoring and maintenance methods, and other OCSWCD projects as assigned.  For more information see: http://www.otsegosoilandwater.com/Internship_OCSWCD_2018.pdf.

Upper Susquehanna Coalition Seeking Spring Intern

The Upper Susquehanna Coalition is seeking resumes for a current job opening as a riparian buffer intern. The position will begin in March and is slated to terminate in the late fall, with the possibility of an extension. The job will be based out of the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation Office.  Interested parties should contact Lydia Brinkley at the Upper Susquehanna Coalition Buffer Coordinator, at Lbrinkley@u-s-c.org.

NY DEC Seeking Trees for Tributaries Program Coordinator

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in partnership with the Natural Heritage Trust is seeking to hire a Stream Buffer Restoration / Resiliency Planting Program Coordinator to oversee DEC’s Trees for Tributaries program.  Trees for Tribs works to restore stream buffers throughout New York.   Contact OCCA for a position description.  Applications are due January 8th, 2018 to treesfortribs@dec.ny.gov.

Did You Know?

Baby its cold outside!  With this rash of cold, cold, cold weather we’ve been having, and more sub-zero temps to come, Otsego County’s lakes are just about frozen.  On my drive back from Western New York yesterday, my kids and I had a bet whether Otsego Lake was completely frozen yet.  Answers ranged from 50% (my ever conservative science brained son) to 100% (my ever optimistic daughter), with mine in between at 80%.  The bets were predicated by observing Canadarago Lake with its ice fishing huts lining the lake and beautiful ice waves along the surface.  As many of you know, Otsego Lake is usually the last to completely freeze over due to its depth and many streams feeding it.  Last year the lake did not actually completely freeze over (no, not even the 4 feet of snow in March did it!).  Lake ice and the ecological phenomena under the ice in lakes in Otsego County  and in other fresh water systems is now being recognized as an important research question that needs to be answered to determine what shifts in both the planktonic (floating) and benthic (bottom) communities that is and may still occur in the face of a warming climate.  Warming you say?  This week?  Bah!  But it is true. While many researchers have avoided winter research on lakes (I’ve done my time chipping ice off boats, and it’s not fun) more and more ecologists are heading out during the winter months to see what food web dynamics are occurring under the ice.  In fact, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis has put together an entire working group for just this question (https://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/featured/hampton).  As the winter drones on, just keep in mind (as many of you ice fisherman know) there’s life teeming under that surface of ice.  And for you betting people out there….we have word from the SUNY Biological Field Station that Otsego Lake is indeed 100% frozen.  Now get out there carefully and ice fish!