Our Environment.
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OUR CHALLENGE.

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ONEONTA – Otsego County Conservation Association is pleased to offer a two-part program for youth on September 20 and 27. “Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival” teaches elemental wilderness survival skills in the safety of Wilber Park. The program is part of OCCA’s revamped EcoTeam initiative, which kicked off in July with the EcoTeam Invasive Species Paddle.

“EcoTeam is our way to engage a younger audience,” said OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley. “We’ll be providing a number of opportunities for kids to get involved throughout the year.”

“Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival” is being led by OCCA Board member and middle-school science teacher Eamonn Hinchey.

“Programs like this are my favorite type of teaching,” said Hinchey. “Getting back to the basics is something I am always talking about with my students.

“We’ll cover a broad range of skills,” Hinchey added. “Kids will make their own bow drills to take home, and we’ll teach how to use flint and steel, how to make cordage from plant fibers, and trap and shelter building.”

Respect for the landscape will also be an important part of the workshops, he said.

“Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival,” for ages 8 and up, runs two consecutive Saturdays from 9-11 a.m. in Wilber Park. Pre-registration bySeptember 12 is required. The $20 registration fee includes membership in OCCA’s EcoTeam; the program is free to existing EcoTeam members.

“Despite what many people think, kids do like to spend time outside,” said O’Handley. “They’ll get a really valuable experience from this program.”

Space for “Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival” is limited. For more information or to register, contact O’Handley at (607) 282-4087, or atprogramdirector@occainfo.org.

ONEONTA – Otsego County Conservation Association is pleased to offer a two-part program for youth on September 20 and 27. “Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival” teaches elemental wilderness survival skills in the safety of Wilber Park. The program is part of OCCA’s revamped EcoTeam initiative, which kicked off in July with the EcoTeam Invasive Species Paddle.

“EcoTeam is our way to engage a younger audience,” said OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley. “We’ll be providing a number of opportunities for kids to get involved throughout the year.”

“Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival” is being led by OCCA Board member and middle-school science teacher Eamonn Hinchey.

“Programs like this are my favorite type of teaching,” said Hinchey. “Getting back to the basics is something I am always talking about with my students.

“We’ll cover a broad range of skills,” Hinchey added. “Kids will make their own bow drills to take home, and we’ll teach how to use flint and steel, how to make cordage from plant fibers, and trap and shelter building.”

Respect for the landscape will also be an important part of the workshops, he said.

“Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival,” for ages 8 and up, runs two consecutive Saturdays from 9-11 a.m. in Wilber Park. Pre-registration bySeptember 12 is required. The $20 registration fee includes membership in OCCA’s EcoTeam; the program is free to existing EcoTeam members.

“Despite what many people think, kids do like to spend time outside,” said O’Handley. “They’ll get a really valuable experience from this program.”

Space for “Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival” is limited. For more information or to register, contact O’Handley at (607) 282-4087, or atprogramdirector@occainfo.org.

The Otsego County Conservation Association has announced an award in the amount of $250 to the Otsego Manor. This mini-grant comes as the result of a request by Manor volunteer Maureen Culbert and Activities Director Amy Rose for funding to enhance the Manor’s established perennial garden in the courtyard. About five years ago, Culbert began gathering flowers for the courtyard, to create a pleasant place to sit outdoors with her mother, then a resident. After her mother’s passing in 2009, Culbert continued her efforts to build the garden, taking extra leftover plants from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Plant Sale and asking for donations of plants. Slowly, the garden has fully matured and added to the existing trees in the courtyard, a place where all gather – families, residents, and employees. Lovely columbine, hosta, iris, sweet Cicely, evening primrose and sweet William are among the many plantings there, estimated at around 80 different varieties. In line with the positive impact that OCCA has regarding natural resources and education, Culbert said it seemed a natural bridge to approach Executive Director Darla Youngs for grant assistance to purchase metal garden stakes which will identify each plant. “As residents are walked through the garden, they often wonder the names of the plants, which will now be identified thanks to the help of OCCA,” Culbert said.“Although this request falls a bit outside of OCCA’s traditional education mini-grants, there’s a connection to nature being made here that we agree is important,” explained Youngs. “Studies show that nature makes people feel better. The courtyard garden is a vital part of the Otsego Manor experience, and the plant identification provides an interactive educational component that will benefit visitors to the Manor of all ages.”

DSCN1808_6Photo caption: OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs (right) presents Maureen Culbert with plant identification stakes for use in the Otsego Manor garden. The stakes were provided through an OCCA mini-grant.

 

ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

July 30, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 13

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

OCCA NATURE WALK THIS SATURDAY EXAMINES ‘REBIRTH AT LACAVA’

OTSEGO LAKES FESTIVAL IN PICTURES

OCCA AWARDS MINI-GRANT FOR GARDEN PROJECT

4-H LIVESTOCK AUCTION IS THIS WEEKEND

STAY CONNECTED TO OCCA!

OCCA NATURE WALK THIS SATURDAY EXAMINES ‘REBIRTH AT LACAVA’: The next event in the Otsego County Conservation Association’s 2014 Nature Walk Series, “Rebirth in LaCava,” will take place on August 2 at 10 a.m. at LaCava Nature Center on the grounds of Cooperstown High School. A small, wooded area lying between the school and the Susquehanna River, LaCava Nature Center is used by teachers and students for science studies and recreation. In recent years, a public works project flattened a wide swath of the woodlands. “Construction activities disturbed a good portion of the nature center,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director and the walk leader. “The work crews took great pains to minimize the damage and replant as much as they could, but nature is also hard at work reclaiming the land. It’s interesting to see how things change in a couple of years.” The grounds are not overly large and the hike will be fairly short, O’Handley said. “I expect we’ll be out for about an hour-and-a-half. The trails are fairly short. We’ll experience several different habitat types, including moist woods and river edge as well as the disturbed sites. It’s a pretty interesting place with a lot of diversity.” Those wishing to participate should contact O’Handley at (607) 547-4488, or e-mailprogramdirector@occainfo.org.

OTSEGO LAKES FESTIVAL IN PICTURES: Saturday, July 12 was a beautiful day on the lake for the seventh Otsego Lakes Festival. Attendance was estimated between 450-500 people for this event, which highlights the importance of protecting our waterways and ensuring good water quality throughout the region. Seehttp://secure.smilebox.com/ecom/openTheBox?sendevent=4e4441354f5459344d6a52384f4459314f4467794d6a593d0d0a&sb=1

OCCA AWARDS MINI-GRANT FOR GARDEN PROJECT: The Otsego County Conservation Association has announced an award in the amount of $250 to the Otsego Manor. This mini-grant comes as the result of a request by Manor volunteer Maureen Culbert and Activities Director Amy Rose for funding to enhance the Manor’s established perennial garden in the courtyard. About five years ago, Culbert began gathering flowers for the courtyard, to create a pleasant place to sit outdoors with her mother, then a resident. After her mother’s passing in 2009, Mrs. Culbert continued her efforts to build the garden, taking extra leftover plants from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Plant Sale and asking for donations of plants.  Slowly, the garden has fully matured and added to the existing trees in the courtyard, a place where all gather – families, residents and employees.  Lovely columbine, hosta, iris, sweet Cicely, evening primrose and sweet William are among the many plantings there, estimated at around 80 different varieties. In line with the positive impact that OCCA has regarding natural resources and education, Culbert said it seemed a natural bridge to approach Executive Director Darla Youngs for grant assistance to purchase metal garden stakes which will identify each plant. “As residents are walked through the garden, they often wonder the names of the plants, which will now be identified thanks to the help of OCCA,” Culbert said.“Although this request falls a bit outside of OCCA’s traditional education mini-grants, there’s a connection to nature being made here that we agree is important,” explained Youngs. “Studies show that nature makes people feel better. The courtyard garden is a vital part of the Otsego Manor experience, and the plant identification provides an interactive educational component that will benefit visitors to the Manor of all ages.”

4-H LIVESTOCK AUCTION IS THIS WEEKEND: The 4-H Livestock Auction will be held on Saturday, August 2 at 3 p.m. at the Otsego County Fair in Morris. There will be five beef, seven swine, four market sheep, three meat goats, chickens, ducks and turkeys for sale. These are project animals the 4-Hers have worked with for the past 8-12 months. The livestock auction is the culmination of many hours and days of hard work caring for these animals. Please help support Otsego County’s 4-Hers by bidding on one or more of these animals. The proceeds go directly to the youth through Otsego County 4-H, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, so purchases are tax deductible (payment by cash or check only). If you don’t need the meat, you could consider donating it to a local food bank for distribution in your area. Information about local processors who can process meat to your specifications will be available. For more information, contact the 4H office at (607) 547-2536. OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs is a member of the 4-H Environmental Science Issue Committee.

STAY CONNECTED TO OCCA! You can stay informed about Otsego County Conservation Association events and activities and current environmental issues through weekday posts on Facebook and/or Twitter. “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter at AdmDirector.

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Invasive Species Hike with Master Gardener Susan Burdsall, September 6. Co-sponsored with Otsego Land Trust.
  • “Greener Golfing,” hike of The Leatherstocking Golf Course with Manager Bernie Banas, October 4.

COOPERSTOWN – The next event in the Otsego County Conservation Association’s 2014 Nature Walk Series, “Rebirth in LaCava,” will take place on August 2 at 10 a.m. at LaCava Nature Center on the grounds of Cooperstown High School.

A small, wooded area lying between the school and the Susquehanna River, LaCava Nature Center is used by teachers and students for science studies and recreation. In recent years, a public works project flattened a wide swath of the woodlands.

“Construction activities disturbed a good portion of the nature center,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director and the walk leader. “The work crews took great pains to minimize the damage and replant as much as they could, but nature is also hard at work reclaiming the land. It’s interesting to see how things change in a couple of years.”

The grounds are not overly large and the hike will be fairly short, O’Handley said.

“I expect we’ll be out for about an hour-and-a-half. The trails are fairly short. We’ll experience several different habitat types, including moist woods and river edge as well as the disturbed sites. It’s a pretty interesting place with a lot of diversity.”

Those wishing to participate should contact O’Handley at (607) 547-4488, or e-mail programdirector@occainfo.org.

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, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – See Fetterley Forest in a whole new way – through the lens of your camera!

Join the Otsego Land Trust, Otsego County Conservation Association and local photography experts in a “walking workshop” on Friday, July 18 from 5-7 p.m.

Learn photography techniques while hiking a beautiful Fetterley trail. With your camera at the ready and the direction of professional and amateur photographers, capture the flora and fauna of this extraordinary working forest.

Fetterley Forest trail head is located at 302 Roses Hill Road in Richfield Springs. Light refreshments will be served.

For questions or to RSVP, contact OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley(607-547-4488 or programdirector@occainfo.org) or OLT Outreach Coordinator Sara Scheeren (607-547-2366 or sara@otsegolandtrust.org).

In addition to this event co-sponsored with the Land Trust, OCCA is offering a number of other hikes throughout the summer as part of its annual Nature Walk Series. Additional dates and locations include July 22 at Plainfield State Forest in cooperation with the Adirondack Mountain Club Susquehanna Chapter and August 2 at the Lacava Nature Center.

OCCA is also hosting volunteers to help with water chestnut eradication, highway clean-up and trail maintenance. Additional hikes and volunteer service projects are listed at http://www.occainfo.org.

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, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.

ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

July 7, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 12

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

STODDARD HOLLOW, JULIA ROBINSON TO PLAY LAKES FEST

OCCA SPRING NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE ONLINE

WIPE OUT WATER CHESTNUT WITH OCCA

BFS PROVIDES OTSEGO LAKE WATER QUALITY DATA

STODDARD HOLLOW, JULIA ROBINSON TO PLAY LAKES FEST: The Otsego Lakes Festival returns to Lakefront Park on Saturday, July 12 from noon to 5 p.m. with a focus on family fun, in celebration of Otsego County’s lakes.

Educational exhibits, hands-on workshops, presentations, and lake tours will all highlight the importance of protecting our waterways and ensuring good water quality throughout the region, while great food, music, and art will round out this family-friendly event. Admission is free.

Live musical entertainment is planned throughout the day. Julia Robinson will open the festival from noon to 1 p.m., and then the Stoddard Hollow String Band takes over for the rest of the afternoon. Julia Robinson is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist originally from the Cooperstown area, currently studying in Nashville, TN. With influences ranging… from Peggy Lee to Norah Jones to Regina Spektor, Robinson plays a variety of indie pop and jazz songs showcasing her unique vocal style. The Stoddard Hollow String Band is based in the upper Catskills and is known for its mix of Appalachian old-time tunes, traditional and original music, and some tunes you wouldn’t expect from an old-time band. The band consists of Marvin Zachow on fiddles and vocals, Ed McGee on clawhammer banjos, Frank Frazzitta on guitar and vocals, and Joel Murray on bass.

In celebration of New York State’s first Invasive Species Awareness Week, July 6-12, Paul Lord will talk about aquatic invasive species prevention measures at the Otsego Lakes Festival beginning at 1 p.m.Lord, watershed steward program coordinator for the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, will begin by characterizing some of the most immediate exotic species threats to Otsego County lakes. Then he’ll outline the recommended “clean, drained and dry” procedure for preventing the spread of AIS and talk about “solutions” that stop invasive species using salt, salt substitute, bleach and/or vinegar. Lord will also describe the training program provided free to watershed stewards in the greater Catskill region through CRISP funding.

New this year is a kids’ lake art station with “juried” art contest. The art station will provide an opportunity for kids to sculpt, paint, draw or build a lake scene from various media. Their creations will then be displayed for festival attendees to view and cast a vote on behalf of their favorites. Contest winners will be announced at the end of the day, when the votes are tallied.

Local Trout Unlimited members will give free fly-tying demonstrations and lessons, the League of Women Voters will lead a recycling game for all ages, and Ronny Raindrop® will stroll among festival goers, promoting natural resources, soil conservation, and erosion control along the way.

Kids (and adults) will be able to create original works of art on cloth, paper, and T-shirts using paints and real or rubber fish at the Cooperstown Art Association fish printing tent. The SUNY-Oneonta Biological Field Station will offer demonstrations of lake-related phenomena, microscope stations to see and investigate algae, zooplankton, aquatic plants, and mosses, as well as tanks of Otsego Lake fishes, plants, and aquatic insects.

This year’s Lakes Festival features the public unveiling of the results of Otsego County Conservation Association’s countywide groundwater testing program, “What’s In Our Water?” OCCA will also conduct an informal “blind” taste test of water from the municipalities its Board members represent, to determine who has the best-tasting water.

Organized under the umbrella of Otsego County’s Water Quality Coordinating Committee, the Otsego Lakes Festival offers all the components of a festive occasion – music, art, children’s activities, good food and camaraderie – while providing valuable educational opportunities about lake protection and regional water quality programs from those who work to protect these resources. Personnel from WQCC member organizations will be on hand both to distribute literature and to discuss water quality issues one-on-one with interested parties.

The festival will also feature lake-related activities and entertainment, including:

• Water quality/ecology barge tours of the lake by SUNY Oneonta BFS staff
• Aquatic life touch tanks and “show and tell”
• Educational exhibits by lake-focused organizations
• Commemorative Otsego Lake poster sales
• Festival foods by the Leatherstocking Envirothon Committee and Origins Café

Confirmed exhibitors and vendors at the Otsego Lakes Festival thus far are: Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, Catskill Headwaters Research Institute, Cooperstown Art Association, Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Friends of Glimmerglass State Park Inc., Great Brook Solar NRG LLC, League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area, Leatherstocking Envirothon, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Origins Café, Otsego County Conservation Association, Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, Otsego Lake Association, Otsego Land Trust, Project Buena Vista Inc., Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project, and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station.

OLF sponsors are Five Star Subaru, Otsego County Conservation Association and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station. To date, OLF donors include: Henry S. F. Cooper Jr., Cooperstown Distillery, Cooperstown Natural Foods, Geo. Powers Construction Inc., Master Gardener Program Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, Richard McCaffery, New York Susquehanna and Western Railway, Otsego County Planning and Solid Waste Department, William Rigby, Robert Smith, Smith Ford, and Alfred Tinger.

The Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee was established in 1992 as a sub-committee of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. It is comprised of a diverse group of people representing state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and lake associations. These members have technical expertise and knowledge and are committed to working to improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County through the reduction of nonpoint source pollution within  its boundaries. The Otsego Lakes Festival is a biennial event designed to educate the public on the importance of water resource protection.

For more about the Otsego Lakes Festival, or for further details on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact Darla M. Youngs, OCWQCC facilitator, at (607) 547-4488. To view the full OLF lineup, see: http://occainfo.org/documents/LakesFestivalLineup2014_000.pdf.

OCCA SPRING NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE ONLINE: The Spring 2014 edition of OCCA’s newsletter, “The Lookout,” is available on the OCCA website at http://occainfo.org/documents/LookoutSpring2014.pdf. Articles include an update on OCCA’s groundwater testing program, “What’s In Our Water?”, information about the proposed Edic to Fraser AC transmission line, and updates on Earth Festival 2014 and the annual “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” Garage Sale.

WIPE OUT WATER CHESTNUT WITH OCCA: Join Otsego County Conservation Association and the Goodyear Lake Association onWednesday, July 9 from 9 a.m. to noon as they continue the effort to remove an invasive plant, water chestnut , from Goodyear Lake, as part of Invasive Species Awareness Week.

“Water chestnut is a highly invasive plant that can take over large areas of a water body in a short period of time,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director and coordinator of the event. “This is our eighth year of working with the Goodyear Lake Association, and we’ve made a significant dent in the water chestnut population.”

In the first days of the program, volunteers removed 10 tons of water chestnut from a part of the lake known as the stump lot. Eliminating the plant there is important to keeping it out of the rest of the lake – or the Susquehanna River, says O’Handley.

“Water chestnut prefers shallow, slow-moving or still water, so the stump lot is ideal. It’s easy for parts of the plant to break away and float downstream, where it can get established. We’re out there trying to make sure that doesn’t happen, and to prevent the plant from taking over the stump lot again.”

Volunteers take to the water in canoes or kayaks and patrol the upper reaches of Goodyear Lake. When water chestnuts are found, they are carefully removed by hand, dropped in the canoe, and eventually disposed of on land.

The objective is to eliminate the infestation with minimal impact on the environment, O’Handley says. “It’s labor intensive, but less disruptive to the environment and non-target species compared to herbicides or mechanical harvesting.”

People interested in joining the efforts should call OCCA ahead of time at 547-4488, or e-mail programdirector@occainfo.org to guarantee space in a canoe. The meeting location is at the New York State fishing access site located on State Route 28 in Portlandville, just south of County Road 35A.

July 6-12 is the first Invasive Species Awareness Week in New York State. The mission of Invasive Species Awareness Week is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species to help stop their spread. OCCA is a member of the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership.

BFS PROVIDES OTSEGO LAKE WATER QUALITY DATA: SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station staff monitor Otsego Lake bi-weekly throughout the year (monthly when it’s frozen) for a variety of physical and biological parameters. Past updates of results of this routine monitoring are available here: http://www.oneonta.edu/academics/biofld/waterquality.asp.

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Water chestnut eradiation on Goodyear Lake: July 2, 9, 16, 25; August 5, 6, 22, 23.
  • Basswood Pond State Forest trail maintenance, July 15
  • “Western Exposure, Fetterley Forest Hike, July 18 (co-sponsored with OLT), 5 p.m.
  • Adopt-a-Highway clean-up, July 19, 9 a.m.
  • “Climb Noah’s What?” hike, July 22, 10 a.m.

ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

June 29, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 11

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

FESTIVAL FOCUSES ON WATER QUALITY, FAMILY FUN

OCCA TAPS LAPIN FOR PLANNER POSITION

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS ON HUMAN HEALTH

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

FESTIVAL FOCUSES ON WATER QUALITY, FAMILY FUN: The Otsego Lakes Festival returns to Lakefront Park on Saturday, July 12 from noon to 5 p.m. with a focus on family fun, in celebration of Otsego County’s lakes.

Educational exhibits, hands-on workshops, presentations, and lake tours will all highlight the importance of protecting our waterways and ensuring good water quality throughout the region, while great food, music, and art will round out this family-friendly event. Admission is free.

New this year is a kids’ lake art station with “juried” art contest. The art station will provide an opportunity for kids to sculpt, paint, draw or build a lake scene from various media. Their creations will then be displayed for festival attendees to view and cast a vote on behalf of their favourites. Contest winners will be announced at the end of the day, when the votes are tallied.

Local Trout Unlimited members will give free fly-tying demonstrations and lessons, the League of Women Voters will lead a recycling game for all ages, and Ronny Raindrop® will stroll among festival goers, promoting natural resources, soil conservation, and erosion control along the way.

Kids (and adults) will be able to create original works of art on cloth, paper, and T-shirts using paints and real or rubber fish at the Cooperstown Art Association fish printing tent. The SUNY-Oneonta Biological Field Station will offer demonstrations of lake-related phenomena, microscope stations to see and investigate algae, zooplankton, aquatic plants, and mosses, as well as tanks of Otsego Lake fishes, plants, and aquatic insects.

This year’s Lakes Festival features the public unveiling of the results of Otsego County Conservation Association’s countywide groundwater testing program, “What’s In Our Water?” OCCA will also conduct an informal “blind” taste test of water from the municipalities its Board members represent, to determine who has the best-tasting water.

Organized under the umbrella of Otsego County’s Water Quality Coordinating Committee, the Otsego Lakes Festival offers all the components of a festive occasion – music, art, children’s activities, good food and camaraderie – while providing valuable educational opportunities about lake protection and regional water quality programs from those who work to protect these resources. Personnel from WQCC member organizations will be on hand both to distribute literature and to discuss water quality issues one-on-one with interested parties.

The festival will also feature lake-related activities and entertainment, including:

  • Water quality/ecology barge tours of the lake by SUNY Oneonta BFS staff
  • Presentation by Paul Lord, “AIS Spread Prevention Measures”
  • Aquatic life touch tanks and “show and tell”
  • Educational exhibits by lake-focused organizations
  • Commemorative Otsego Lake poster sales
  • Festival foods by the Leatherstocking Envirothon Committee and Origins Café

Confirmed exhibitors and vendors at the Otsego Lakes Festival thus far are: Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, Catskill Headwaters Research Institute, Cooperstown Art Association, Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Friends of Glimmerglass State Park Inc., Great Brook Solar NRG LLC, League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area, Leatherstocking Envirothon, Paul Lord, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Origins Café, Otsego County Conservation Association Inc., Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, Otsego Lake Association, Otsego Land Trust, Otsego Regional Cycling Advocates, Project Buena Vista Inc., Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project, and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station.

OLF sponsors are Five Star Subaru, Otsego County Conservation Association and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station. To date, OLF donors include: Henry S. F. Cooper Jr., Cooperstown Distillery, Cooperstown Natural Foods, Geo. Powers Construction Inc., Jane Johngren, Master Gardener Program Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, Richard McCaffery, New York Susquehanna and Western Railway, Otsego County Planning and Solid Waste Department, William Rigby, Robert Smith, Smith Ford, and Alfred Tinger.

The Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee was established in 1992 as a sub-committee of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. It is comprised of a diverse group of people representing state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and lake associations. These members have technical expertise and knowledge and are committed to working to improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County through the reduction of nonpoint source pollution within  its boundaries. The Otsego Lakes Festival is a biennial event designed to educate the public on the importance of water resource protection.

For more about the Otsego Lakes Festival, seehttp://occainfo.org/documents/LakesFestivalLineup2014.pdf or for further details on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact Darla M. Youngs, OCWQCC facilitator, at (607) 547-4488.

OCCA TAPS LAPIN FOR PLANNER POSITION: Danny Lapin has been hired by the Otsego County Conservation Association to fill the organization’s environmental planner position.  Lapin earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of California, Riverside in 2010 and his master’s degree in environmental policy this spring from the Bard College Center for Environmental Policy. His research experience focused on strengthening the connection between land-use planning and water management in rural communities in Eastern California. Lapin’s career has included environmental planning positions in the Sierra Nevada region of California and a groundwater management post in Southern California. Lapin’s planning background is both multifaceted and extensive, as he has experience in the academic sector through his research on regional water management at Bard College, at the state level through his work with the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, at the regional level working for the Sierra Nevada Alliance, and at the community level through his experience with the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS ON RURAL HEALTH: Deanna Oliveri, recent SUNY Oneonta graduate and OCCA spring semester planning intern, explores the ways in which human impacts on the environment can affect rural health. To read Oliveri’s full report, seehttp://occainfo.org/documents/EnvironmentalImpactsonRuralHealthOliveriFINAL.pdf

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Water chestnut eradiation on Goodyear Lake: July 2, 9, 16, 25; August 5, 6, 22, 23.
  • Otsego Lakes Festival, Lakefront Park, Cooperstown, July 12.
  • Basswood Pond State Forest trail maintenance, July 15
  • “Western Exposure, Fetterley Forest Hike, July 18 (co-sponsored with OLT), 5 p.m.
  • Adopt-a-Highway clean-up, July 19, 9 a.m.
  • “Climb Noah’s What?” hike, July 22, 10 a.m.

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee has awarded a total of $2,500.00 to four local organizations in support of water quality projects. These awards come as the result of a competitive application process for mini-grant funding which was open to OCWQCC member organizations, local schools and non-profit organizations.

Proposals were ranked according to how they would satisfy the OCWQCC goals: 1) improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County; 2) promote best management practices to ensure water quality and develop educational and other resources to better protect water resources within their localities.

Recipients of 2014 WQCC mini-grant funds and corresponding projects are: Friends of Glimmerglass State Park, stormwater runoff education including interpretive panels, educational brochures, and an interactive demonstration display model; Arnold Lake Association, completion of a tri-fold brochure which addresses concerns about aquatic invasive species relative to the protection of Arnold Lake; Otsego County Conservation Association, countywide aquatic invasive species education and prevention; and Canadarago Lake Improvement Association, creation of a Lake Steward program.

The OCWQCC was established in 1992 as a sub-committee of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. It is comprised of a diverse group of people representing state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and lake associations. These members have technical expertise and knowledge and are committed to working to improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County through the reduction of nonpoint source pollution within its boundaries.

For more information on the WQCC, visit www.otsegosoilandwater.com/waterqualitycc.html.

Otsego County Conservation Association is launching a new program for youths countywide with a canoe trip on July 26 to hunt for aquatic invasive species in the Susquehanna River.

OCCA’s EcoTeam aims to provide a combination of positive environmental experiences specifically for youth, said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director.

“It’s educational, action-based, and a lot of fun,” O’Handley explained. “We’re looking to get kids outside and involved with our environment.”

The EcoTeam Invasive Species Paddle, open to kids ages 10-16, is a 3-mile trip down the Susquehanna River from Milford to Portlandville funded in part by Stewart’s Holiday Match. Along the way, participants will learn about the river’s natural history and will search for aquatic invasive species such as water chestnut and curly-leaf pondweed.

“We’ve been working hard with the Goodyear Lake Association to remove water chestnut from portions of the lake,” O’Handley said. “For this program we’ll be expanding our search and removal efforts upstream. If we find any of the target species we’ll attempt to remove them for disposal, provided it’s safe to do so.”

In addition to the Invasive Species Paddle, OCCA is planning a series of events and activities for EcoTeam members throughout the year. In September, OCCA will run a two-part Wilderness Survival program in Oneonta. Participants will learn rudimentary survival skills including how to make cordage, build a fire and emergency shelter, and how to identify common helpful and harmful plants. Other activities are being planned for winter and spring.

Members of EcoTeam also enjoy full OCCA membership, which includes regular newsletters and e-mailed Eco-Bulletins, as well as membership in Kids for Saving Earth, a nationwide, youth-based environmental organization. In addition, when students register for EcoTeam, a portion of the membership fee can be donated to their school’s PTO or PTA.

“Education is part of everything we do,” said Darla M. Youngs, OCCA executive director. “We believe it’s important to give people access to as much information and as many resources as possible. Our bulletins highlight activities and programs on a wide variety of environmental topics, and it’s our goal to create informed and invested youngsters through this new EcoTeam program.”

The cost of the Invasive Species Paddle is $20, which includes canoe fees, a box lunch, and a year-long membership in OCCA’s EcoTeam. Space is limited and registrations must be received by July 22. For more information, contact OCCA at 547-4488, or e-mail O’Handley,programdirector@occainfo.org.