Our Environment.
Our Home.
OUR CHALLENGE.

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Submissions in this year’s EcoArt/Trendy Trash contest, to be displayed at Earth Festival 2014 onSaturday, April 12, will be accepted up to and including the day of the event. As in past years, prizes will be awarded to winners in several categories including “Best of Show,” “Judges’ Choice” and “People’s Choice.” This trash-to-treasure challenge to create something practical or artistic from items that have outlived their original purpose is open at no charge to students, with a $5.00 fee for adults. “Last year’s winners included ‘revivification jewels’ incorporating broken metals and a to-do planner made from a discarded shutter,” said OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs. “The EcoArt /Trendy Trash contest has become an Earth Festival favorite, and we welcome submissions from artists and inventors of all ages,” Youngs said. Visit the Otsego County Conservation Association home page, www.occainfo.org, for an entry form, e-mail admin@occainfo.org or call (607) 547-4488 to learn more. Earth Festival is an environmentally-focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, activities, vendors and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist. Financial contributions are most welcome, and an open invitation to earth-friendly exhibitors, food, and retail vendors is extended. Earth Festival 2014 is sponsored by Otsego County Conservation Association, the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce and Central NY Mobile Marketing.

COOPERSTOWN – Otsego County Conservation Association has added wood pellet bags to the list of items being collected for recycling at Earth Festival.

“More and more people are using wood pellets to heat their homes,” said Martha Clarvoe, OCCA’s special projects manager. “People need a way to get rid of the plastic bags that pellets are delivered in, instead of throwing them away.”

Wood pellets are typically packaged in 40-pound bags made of #4 Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Clarvoe explained. Homeowners use one or more bags each day of the heating season.

“That’s a lot of bags going to the landfill,” Clarvoe said. “Pellet bags are made of a type of plastic that can be recycled; unfortunately, the recycler who takes the county’s recyclables doesn’t currently accept this kind of plastic.”

For the past year, OCCA has been working with Cornell University, Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, and area farmers on a program called RAPP—Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project. Through RAPP, various farm plastics, such as bale wraps, net twines, and silage bags, can be collected and recycled.

“The recycler we work with through RAPP accepts pellet bags,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “However, RAPP is focused on farm plastic, and doesn’t have the funding to collect residential plastics. In this instance, we’ve made special arrangements to collect and store the clean and empty wood pellet bags until we can include them with the farm plastic.”

OCCA’s first collection site for wood pellet bags will be at Earth Festival on Saturday, April 12 at Milford Central School, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.The event is free, and so is the recycling. Clarvoe noted, however, the bags need to be handled properly.

“Bags must be empty of all pellets,” said Clarvoe. “Roll or fold the bags and stuff them into another empty pellet bag. When that bag is full, store it where it will stay clean and dry. And don’t mix the bags with other types of plastic or garbage.”

In addition to plastic, Earth Festival will continue to collect the following items: clean, white Styrofoam, sneakers and shoes for Soles to Share, VCR tapes, CD discs and jewel cases, audio tapes and cases, print cartridges, and cell phones.  For details about Earth Festival or the pellet bag recycling, contact OCCA at (607) 547-4488 or programdirector@occainfo.org.

COOPERSTOWN – Following a competitive essay contest, the Otsego County Conservation Association has awarded nine Otsego County middle-school students with a week-long stay at a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Summer Camp.

Otsego County students ages 11-14 were invited to compete for DEC camperships via the essay contest. In 750 words or less, they were asked to consider the question “What does the phrase ‘think globally, act locally’ mean to you with regard to the environment?” and give examples of how a person can apply this to their everyday life. Middle-school teachers were encouraged to incorporate the essay contest into their lesson plans.

The nine winning essays received top scores in a field of 120 submissions. Students who have earned a week-long trip to DEC environmental education camp, based on the scoring of their essays by the judging panel, are: Sarah Parr, Josie Hovis, and Amanda Snyder, Cooperstown Central School; Addison Harmon, Milford Central School; Ariana Brown-Christman, Liz Knudson, Teagan Mackey, and Hunter Roy, Oneonta Middle School; and Lucy Meehan, Worcester Central School. Alternates are: Tieyn Boxill-Yakalis, OMS; Rylee Merwin, MCS; and William Friedman, CCS.

OCCA will sponsor the campers at $350 per student, thanks to funds provided by private donors. Alternates will be rewarded for their hard work as well with a small cash prize and the opportunity to attend camp if a spot should open up, and Delilah Griger of Cooperstown – who authored the best essay written by a student not applying to attend camp – will receive $50.

“We scored 120 essays this year written by students from Cooperstown, Milford, Oneonta, Schenevus, and Worcester schools. Many thanks to teachers Kathy Hardison, Noreen Kenyon, Amy Parr and Alma Prior, who made the essay-writing exercise part of their class work,” said Darla M. Youngs, OCCA executive director.

“The judges enjoyed reading the entries. We congratulate our top nine writers and recognize the hard work that went into all the essays. There are no losers here, and with so many students showing such awareness and thoughtfulness on topics including conservation, recycling, and preservation, the big winner is the environment,” said Youngs.

The authors of the top-scoring essays will enjoy a week at NYSDEC camp this summer, where they will spend their time immersed in the natural environment and will enjoy a balance of environmental education, sportsman education, and outdoor fun.

“Our goal for next year is to have even more teachers incorporate the essay into their class work. The more kids we can get thinking about being good stewards of the environment, the better,” Youngs said.

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.

 

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee is now accepting proposals for mini-grant funding in support of projects within Otsego County which achieve either or both of the following 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.

These grants are available to Otsego County WQCC member organizations, local schools and non-profit organizations. OCWQCC is prepared to award up to a total of $4,500.00 to proposals submitted and approved through Friday, March 14, 2014. Selected proposals will be announced by Monday, March 31.

For mini-grant guidelines and further details, seehttp://occainfo.org/documents/WQCCminigrantRFP.pdf and the criteria and scoring rubric at http://occainfo.org/documents/WQCCMinigrantProposalRubric.pdf.

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.

ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION
JANUARY 15, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 2

SEIFER TO SPEAK ON SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AT THE LOCAL LEVEL: Bruce Seifer will deliver a lecture titled “Sustainable Communities: Creating a Durable Local Economy” on Wednesday, January 15 at the Otsego County Courthouse, 193 Main Street, Cooperstown. Seifer is the former assistant director for economic development in Burlington, Vermont’s Community and Economic Development Office. The presentation, beginning at 7 p.m., will examine a framework for local sustainable economic development and is based primarily on Seifer’s recent book of the same name. What is a durable economy? How is it created and what does it take to sustain it over time? This lecture will provide insights and answers to these questions. The framework offers a starting point for exploration of the various influences on a community’s economy. These include locally focused, social, cultural, environmentally sustainable, political and inclusive economy components. Taken together, these elements can lead to the formation of a durable local economy. This event, co-sponsored by Sustainable Otsego, Otsego 2000 and the Otsego County Conservation Association, is free and open to the public.

KENTS TO LEAD OCCA-SPONSORED WINTER/SNOWSHOE HIKE: On Saturday, January 18, Patricia Riddell Kent and Steve Kent will host a Winter/Snowshoe Hike at the Robert V. Riddell State Park. Heading out at noon, the Kents (the donors of the state park land) will lead a leisurely winter excursion to Mud Lake and back. This hike, on moderate grade terrain up South Hill and then back down to the starting point, will take about 3-1/2 hours to complete, with the option to return to the parking lot at any time. Snowshoes are optional if the snow is not too deep and participants are comfortable walking. Highlights of the hike are waterfalls along the way and Mud Lake, a sphagnum bog, at the top of South Hill. Directions: Meet on Gersoni Road, just south of I-88’s Exit 17. If taking Exit 17 traveling east, make a right at the off ramp stop sign onto Gersoni Road. When taking Exit 17 traveling west, make a left and go under the I-88 overpass to access Gersoni Road. Parking is available on the shoulder of Gersoni Road just south of I-88 – watch for small green signs that read “State Park Lands.” For more information about the hike, contact OCCA by calling (607) 282-4087 or e-mail OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley at programdirector@occainfo.org.

NEW YORK SHALE GAS POTENTIAL FORUM THIS FRIDAY: The likelihood of marginal shale gas prospects in New York State, which may in turn attract marginal drilling companies, is one of several possible scenarios to be discussed during a forum on New York shale gas potential on Friday, January 17 at The Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market Street, Oneonta. Featured presentations are: “ Geographic Extent of Shale Gas Productivity in New York,” James Northrup; “Shale Geology and Marcellus Potential in New York,” Brian Brock; “Forecasting Marcellus Productivity in New York,” Jerry Acton; and “New York Shale – High Risk, Low Reward,” Lou Allstadt. The event will be moderated by Professor Anthony Ingraffea. Doors open at 6 p.m., featuring music by the Gravelyard Bluegrass Band with special guest Kathy Shimberg. “Prospects for Shale Gas in New York” is co-sponsored by Otsego County Conservation Association, Otsego Land Trust, and Cornell University Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties. The forum will begin at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. For more information, e-mail admin@occainfo.org.
For more information on OCCA-organized volunteer opportunities and hikes, visit http://www.occainfo.org/EnviroEventsCal.htm or e-mail admin@occainfo.org.

OCCA RELIES ON YOUR SUPPORT. Got a minute? Visit our website and look at everything OCCA is doing – and please consider an online donation whenever you can. Click on www.occainfo.org and look for the Network for Good logo at the top left of the home page to make a donation today.

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Conservation Association has announced that it will send nine middle-school students to DEC Environmental Education Camp next summer through a countywide competitive essay contest.

OCCA will reward nine winning essayists with a week-long stay at New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Summer Camp, where campers spend their week immersed in the natural environment and enjoy a balance of environmental education, sportsman education, and outdoor fun.

Otsego County students ages 11-14 are invited to compete for camperships via the essay contest (must be 11 before December 1, 2014). In 750 words or less, they are asked to consider the question “What does the phrase ‘think globally, act locally’ mean to you with regard to the environment?” and give examples of how a person can apply this to their everyday life.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer our Campership Sponsor Program for the third straight year,” said OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs. “There’s a growing concern that kids today are lacking the important connection between being outdoors and caring for nature. Our goal is for the essayists to have fun with the assignment but also to think critically about their connection to and dependency on the natural world.”

“Conservation efforts will increase as kids learn to be good stewards of the environment and begin to understand some of the issues facing us today – pollution, resource depletion, solid waste management, climate change, ecosystem destruction, and so much more,” Youngs said.

Nine winning essays will be chosen from participating Otsego County schools and Otsego County applicants at large. The deadline for essay submissions is January 22, 2014, and winning essays will be chosen by January 27.

“Last year, middle-school teachers from Cooperstown, Milford and Oneonta incorporated the essay into their lesson plans,” Youngs said. “We hope more teachers will do the same this year, but any Otsego County student age 11-14 is eligible and welcome to enter an essay.”

Complete contest rules and requirements are available by e-mailing admin@occainfo.org or by calling (607) 547-4488. Teachers who plan to assign the essay to their students are asked to contact OCCA in order to qualify as a participating school.

OCCA is a private, non-profit environmental membership organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.

On Saturday, January 18, Patricia Riddell Kent and Steve Kent will host a Winter/Snowshoe Hike at the Robert V. Riddell State Park. Heading out at noon, the Kents (the donors of the state park land) will lead a leisurely winter excursion to Mud Lake and back.

This hike, on moderate grade terrain up South Hill and then back down to the starting point, will take about 3-1/2 hours to complete, with the option to return to the parking lot at any time. Snowshoes are optional if the snow is not too deep and participants are comfortable walking. Highlights of the hike are waterfalls along the way and Mud Lake, a sphagnum bog, at the top of South Hill.

Directions: Meet on Gersoni Road, just south of I-88’s Exit 17. If taking Exit 17 traveling east, make a right at the off ramp stop sign onto Gersoni Road. When taking Exit 17 traveling west, make a left and go under the I-88 overpass to access Gersoni Road. Parking is available on the shoulder of Gersoni Road just south of I-88 – watch for small green signs that read “State Park Lands.” For more information about the hike, contact OCCA by calling(607) 282-4087 or e-mail OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley at programdirector@occainfo.org.

Since 2001, the Otsego County Conservation Association has organized and/or co-sponsored nature walks on local trails. 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

JANUARY 3, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 1

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

KIDS CAN WIN DEC CAMPERSHIPS THROUGH OCCA ESSAY CONTEST

SEIFER TO SPEAK ON SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AT THE LOCAL LEVEL

KENTS TO LEAD OCCA-SPONSORED WINTER/SNOWSHOE HIKE

SAVE THE DATE: EARTH FESTIVAL 2014

SINGLE STREAM RECYCLING VIDEO

START SAVING NOW FOR APRIL GARAGE SALE

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

KIDS CAN WIN DEC CAMPERSHIPS THROUGH OCCA ESSAY CONTEST: The Otsego County Conservation Association has announced that it will send nine middle-school students to DEC Environmental Education Camp next summer through a countywide competitive essay contest. OCCA will reward nine winning essayists with a week-long stay at New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Summer Camp, where campers spend their week immersed in the natural environment and enjoy a balance of environmental education, sportsman education, and outdoor fun.Otsego County students ages 11-14 are invited to compete for camperships via the essay contest (must be 11 before December 1, 2014). In 750 words or less, they are asked to consider the question “What does the phrase ‘think globally, act locally’ mean to you with regard to the environment?” and give examples of how a person can apply this to their everyday life. Nine winning essays will be chosen from participating Otsego County schools and Otsego County applicants at large. The deadline for essay submissions is January 22, 2014, and winning essays will be chosen by January 27. “Last year, middle-school teachers from Cooperstown, Milford and Oneonta incorporated the essay into their lesson plans,” OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs said. “We hope more teachers will do the same this year, but any Otsego County student age 11-14 is eligible and welcome to enter an essay.” Complete contest rules and requirements are available by e-mailing admin@occainfo.org or by calling (607) 547-4488. Teachers who plan to assign the essay to their students are asked to contact OCCA in order to qualify as a participating school.

SEIFER TO SPEAK ON SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AT THE LOCAL LEVEL: Bruce Seifer will deliver a lecture titled “Sustainable Communities: Creating a Durable Local Economy” onWednesday, January 15 at the Otsego County Courthouse, 193 Main Street, Cooperstown. Seifer is the former assistant director for economic development in Burlington, Vermont’s Community and Economic Development Office. The presentation, beginning at 7 p.m., will examine a framework for local sustainable economic development and is based primarily on Seifer’s recent book of the same name. What is a durable economy? How is it created and what does it take to sustain it over time? This lecture will provide insights and answers to these questions. The framework offers a starting point for exploration of the various influences on a community’s economy. These include locally focused, social, cultural, environmentally sustainable, political and inclusive economy components. Taken together, these elements can lead to the formation of a durable local economy. This event, co-sponsored by Sustainable Otsego, Otsego 2000 and the Otsego County Conservation Association, is free and open to the public.

KENTS TO LEAD OCCA-SPONSORED WINTER/SNOWSHOE HIKE: On Saturday, January 18, Patricia Riddell Kent and Steve Kent will host a Winter/Snowshoe Hike at the Robert V. Riddell State Park. Heading out at noon, the Kents (the donors of the state park land) will lead a leisurely winter excursion to Mud Lake and back. This hike, on moderate grade terrain up South Hill and then back down to the starting point, will take about 3-1/2 hours to complete, with the option to return to the parking lot at any time. Snowshoes are optional if the snow is not too deep and participants are comfortable walking. Highlights of the hike are waterfalls along the way and Mud Lake, a sphagnum bog, at the top of South Hill. Directions: Meet on Gersoni Road, just south of I-88’s Exit 17. If taking Exit 17 traveling east, make a right at the off ramp stop sign onto Gersoni Road. When taking Exit 17 traveling west, make a left and go under the I-88 overpass to access Gersoni Road. Parking is available on the shoulder of Gersoni Road just south of I-88 – watch for small green signs that read “State Park Lands.” For more information about the hike, contact OCCA by calling (607) 282-4087 or e-mail OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley at programdirector@occainfo.org.

SAVE THE DATE: Earth Festival 2014 has been confirmed forSaturday, April 12 at Milford Central School. Stay tuned for details! Those interested in pre-registering as an exhibitor and/or vendor can e-mail admin@occainfo.org to learn more.

SINGLE STREAM RECYCLING VIDEO: Ever wonder exactly how items are sorted during the single stream recycling process? Visithttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKbf5arBVZA#t=16 to see, from entry to exit, how the single stream facility in Utica works.

START SAVING NOW FOR APRIL GARAGE SALE: OCCA’s Annual “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” Garage Sale will be held on Saturday andSunday, April 26 and 27 in the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market building at 101 Main Street, Cooperstown. Please begin setting aside items now! The official collection dates for the OCCA garage sale will be April 20-24. All donations are tax deductible: OCCA will provide a donation voucher upon request. Those interested in dropping off materials sooner, or who would like more information about volunteering to assist with the event, should call (607) 547-4488or e-mail admin@occainfo.org for further details. In addition to raising funds for OCCA programming, the garage sale also benefits the environment through waste prevention, or “source reduction.” Source reduction, including reuse, can help reduce waste disposal and handling costs, because it avoids the costs of recycling, municipal composting, land filling, and combustion. Source reduction also conserves resources and reduces pollution, including greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • January 17: Presentation, “New York Shale Gas Potential.” 7 p.m. The Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market Street, Oneonta. “Geographic Extent of Shale Gas Productivity in New York,” James Northrup; “Shale Geology and Marcellus Potential in New York,” Brian Brock; “Forecasting Marcellus Productivity in New York,” Jerry Acton; “New York Shale – High Risk, Low Reward,” Lou Allstadt.

For more information on OCCA-organized volunteer opportunities and hikes, visit http://www.occainfo.org/EnviroEventsCal.htm or e-mail admin@occainfo.org.

OCCA RELIES ON YOUR SUPPORT. Got a minute? Visit our website and look at everything OCCA is doing – and please consider an online donation whenever you can. Click on www.occainfo.org and look for the Network for Good logo at the top left of the home page to make a donation today.