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ONEONTA – Otsego County Conservation Association is accepting registrations for its youth program, “Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival,” through September 12, 2014.

Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival is a two-part program meeting in Wilber Park on September 20 and 27. Led by local science teacher and naturalist Eamonn Hinchey, the program teaches basic skills needed to survive in a wilderness setting.

“It’s not really about preparing kids for the apocalypse. It’s about awareness of the value nature has to us, not just aesthetically, but for sustainability,” said Hinchey, who also serves on OCCA’s Board of Directors. “Everything we need to survive is in the woods, and there are fewer and fewer people that make that connection.”

During the program, kids will learn how to build emergency shelters with minimal materials. They’ll also make cordage with plant fibers, build simple traps, and learn several different methods of fire-starting. Safety and responsible use will also be emphasized, and kids will go home with an item they make each day, said Hinchey.

Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival is part of OCCA’s EcoTeam youth initiative. EcoTeam is a membership program that engages young people through positive interactions with the environment, including nature walks, trail clean-ups and maintenance, and other opportunities. Pre-registration is required. The program is free to existing EcoTeam members, or $20 for non-members. For more information, call OCCA at (607) 547-4488 or e-mailprogramdirector@occainfo.org.

Working with the Headwaters Youth Conservation Corps, the Otsego County Conservation Association trimmed and cleared 5 miles of walking and cross-country ski trails in Basswood Pond State Forest this summer. Partake in the fruits of our labor on Saturday, September 6 with a 1.5-mile walk along the Blue Trail, which winds through spruce groves, along a lovely stream, and up to Basswood Pond itself. On the way we’ll keep an eye out for early fall migrants along with the interesting animals and plants that live in this 711-acre forest. Meet at the southern parking area at 9 a.m.Directions: take State Route 80 to the blinking light in Burlington. Turn north on County Road 16. In 1.5 miles, turn left onto Basswood Road – THIS GRAVEL ROAD IS NOT MARKED! The parking area is 0.1 miles on the right. Bring binoculars, water and insect repellent. Call (607) 547-4488 for details or e-mailprogramdirector@occainfo.org. Free and open to the public.

The Otsego County Conservation Association is seeking nominations for its annual Conservationist of the Year award. The award will be given to an individual, citizens’ group or grassroots organization, governmental body, non-profit organization with 501 (c)(3) standing or a business that has made a positive difference in environmental protection, preservation or education in Otsego County.

Nominations must be submitted by Monday, October 6. The award will be presented at the OCCA Annual Dinner and Meeting in November, date and location to be announced.

In regard to nominations of individuals, preference will be given to nominees residing in Otsego County. Environmental professionals are not eligible to be nominated based on achievements accomplished for their compensated employment. Businesses cannot be nominated for a profit-making enterprise.  Areas of interest for nomination are water quality protection and improvement, wetland preservation, stream improvement, stream, lake or river clean-ups, riparian buffer or tree plantings, recycling efforts, non-motorized open-space recreation enhancement, land-use planning efforts, or soil conservation efforts. Other areas of environmental endeavor may also be considered.

Nominations may be made by individuals, citizens’ groups or grassroots organizations, governmental bodies, non-profit organizations with 501 (c)(3) standing or businesses.

A special OCCA committee will review nominations and designate the OCCA Conservationist of the Year. The decision of the committee will be final.

No monetary award will be given to the recipient of the award; however the recipient(s) will be the guests of OCCA at its annual dinner and will be publically recognized at this event. A press release will be issued announcing the recipient, and an announcement will appear in “The Lookout,” OCCA’s quarterly newsletter.

“Conservation efforts often go unrecognized,” said OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs. “This is a great opportunity to draw attention to good works recently completed or currently underway in Otsego County.”

To obtain a nomination form, contact OCCA at 547-4488 or e-mailadmin@occainfo.org.

Otsego County’s oldest private environmental conservation organization, OCCA is a non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the enjoyment 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, visitwww.occainfo.org.

ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

AUGUST 20, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 14

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO PULL WATER CHESTNUT THIS WEEK

PLANNING UNDERWAY FOR INAUGURAL BIKE OTSEGO EVENT

HIKE OF BASSWOOD BLUE TRAIL SET FOR SEPTEMBER 6

REGISTER NOW FOR TWO-PART ECOTEAM PROGRAM

OBSOLETE HARDWARE IS THE NEW ‘URBAN MINE’

‘LIKE’ OCCA ON FACEBOOK AND STAY CONNECTED

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO PULL WATER CHESTNUT THIS WEEK:With summer winding down, Otsego County Conservation Association and the Goodyear Lake Association are seeking volunteers to help hand pull water chestnut from the northern portion of Goodyear Lake on Friday and Saturday, August 22 and 23. Water chestnut is a non-native invasive plant capable of rapidly taking over water bodies if left unchecked. “Plant numbers are significantly down from the past, which is due to the hard work of many people,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “However, water chestnut is a tough plant, and it grows fast. There are some parts of the lake we’ve pulled plants from two or three times this summer, and yet they keep coming back.” Control is made difficult by the plant’s ability to grow from stem and root fragments. Even small pieces can quickly develop into new plants, each one capable of producing 20 sharply-spiked nuts. The nuts sink to the bottom and anchor into the sediment, where they can lie dormant for 12 years before growing. If left alone, water chestnut populations could soon rebound to levels seen back in 2008, when volunteers removed 12 tons of the plant. “We’re lucky if we get 12 pounds now,” says O’Handley. “But if we don’t catch them before they set seed, we could find ourselves overwhelmed again.” Volunteers are needed for both Friday and Saturday. OCCA has several canoes available, or people can show up with their own canoe or kayak. Meeting time is 9 a.m. at the DEC fishing access site on State Route 28 in Portlandville, just south of the County Route 35 bridge. Volunteers should expect to get wet and dirty. If interested, call O’Handley at (607) 282-4087.

PLANNING UNDERWAY FOR INAUGURAL BIKE OTSEGO EVENT:Registrations are now being taken for Bike Otsego 2014, to be held onSaturday, September 20. A choice of five bicycle rides ensures there will be something for everyone! The “Grand Slam” event covers 75 miles and takes riders into the Village of Cooperstown. A challenging 31-mile ride offers intermediate riders some gorgeous scenery, and a family friendly 12-mile ride is suitable for all ages and levels. In addition, mountain bike riders have a choice between a beginner’s route and an advanced route through Oneonta. All registered riders will receive a free T-shirt, full rider support including rest stops, and a post-race meal. For more information and to register, e-mail info@bikeotsego.com or visit www.bikeotsego.com. OCCA is a sponsor of Bike Otsego 2014.

HIKE OF BASSWOOD BLUE TRAIL SET FOR SEPTEMBER 6: Working with the Headwaters Youth Conservation Corps, OCCA trimmed and cleared 5 miles of walking and cross country ski trails in Basswood Pond State Forest this summer. Partake in the fruits of our labor onSaturday, September 6 with a 1.5-mile walk along the Blue Trail, which winds through spruce groves, along a lovely stream, and up to Basswood Pond itself. On the way we’ll keep an eye out for early fall migrants along with the interesting animals and plants that live in this 711-acre forest. Meet at the southern parking area at 9 a.m.Directions: take State Route 80 to the blinking light in Burlington. Turn north on County Road 16. In 1.5 miles, turn left onto Basswood Road – THIS GRAVEL ROAD IS NOT MARKED! The parking area is 0.1 miles on the right. Bring binoculars, water and insect repellent. Call (607) 547-4488 for details or e-mailprogramdirector@occainfo.org. Free and open to the public.

REGISTER NOW FOR TWO-PART ECOTEAM PROGRAM: Learn wilderness survival skills with local science teacher and naturalist Eamonn Hinchey during “Back to the Basics: Wilderness Survival.”This hands-on OCCA EcoTeam workshop will be held on two consecutive Saturdays in September. Skills include fire building by such methods as friction and flint and steel; making cordage from plant fibers; simple A-frame shelter construction; trap building; and more. The two-part program runs on September 20 and 27 from 9-11 a.m. in Wilber Park, Oneonta and is free to EcoTeam members, but pre-registration is required (ages 8 and up). Space is limited to 15 and we expect it will fill up quickly, so register fast to secure your space! Call (607) 547-4488 or e-mailprogramdirector@occainfo.org.

OBSOLETE HARDWARE IS THE NEW ‘URBAN MINE’: Urban mining is the process of claiming compounds and elements from products, buildings, and waste. Urban mining lessens environmental impact, rids landfills of reusable materials, lowers energy costs and conserves natural resources. Learn more at: http://urbanmining.org/how-urban-mining-works.

‘LIKE’ OCCA ON FACEBOOK AND STAY CONNECTED: 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:

  • “Greener Golfing,” hike of The Leatherstocking Golf Course with Manager Bernie Banas, October 4.
  • “Mud Lake Hike” of Robert V. Riddell State Park with Patricia Riddell Kent and Steve Kent, October 25.

PORTLANDVILLE – With summer winding down, Otsego County Conservation Association and the Goodyear Lake Association are seeking volunteers to help hand pull water chestnut from the northern portion of Goodyear Lake on Friday and Saturday, August 22 and 23. Water chestnut is a non-native invasive plant capable of rapidly taking over water bodies if left unchecked.

“Plant numbers are significantly down from the past, which is due to the hard work of many people,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director.

“However, water chestnut is a tough plant, and it grows fast. There are some parts of the lake we’ve pulled plants from two or three times this summer, and yet they keep coming back.”

Control is made difficult by the plant’s ability to grow from stem and root fragments. Even small pieces can quickly develop into new plants, each one capable of producing 20 sharply-spiked nuts. The nuts sink to the bottom and anchor into the sediment, where they can lie dormant for 12 years before growing. If left alone, water chestnut populations could soon rebound to levels seen back in 2008, when volunteers removed 12 tons of the plant.

“We’re lucky if we get 12 pounds now,” says O’Handley. “But if we don’t catch them before they set seed, we could find ourselves overwhelmed again.”

Volunteers are needed for both Friday and Saturday. OCCA has several canoes available, or people can show up with their own canoe or kayak. Meeting time is 9 a.m. at the DEC fishing access site on State Route 28 in Portlandville, just south of the County Route 35 bridge. Volunteers should expect to get wet and dirty. If interested, call O’Handley at (607) 282-4087.

 

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.