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ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

March 27, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 3

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

EARTH FESTIVAL SCHEDULE TAKING SHAPE

LATEST EDITION OF “THE LOOKOUT” NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE

OCCA ANNOUNCES GRANT FROM STEWART’S HOLIDAY MATCH

ENTRIES SOUGHT FOR ECOART CONTEST

ENERGY PLAN EXAMINED

PELLET BAGS TO BE COLLECTED AT EARTH FESTIVAL, RECYCLED

OCCA TO CLEAN UP HIGHWAY

HANDS NEEDED FOR TAPE DECONSTRUCTION PROJECT

REPORT OUTLINES POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES OF PLANETARY WARMING

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

EARTH FESTIVAL SCHEDULE TAKING SHAPE: More than 30 exhibitors and/or vendors have already registered for Earth Festival 2014, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 12 at Milford Central School! The attached document includes information as of March 26– please stay tuned for updates and details as we get closer to the event date. Registrants and sponsors are still being accepted. Information on Spring Garden Day is also included in the attached.

LATEST EDITION OF ‘THE LOOKOUT’ NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE: The Winter 2013/2014 edition of OCCA’s newsletter, “The Lookout,” is available on the OCCA website at http://occainfo.org/documents/LookoutWinter2013-2014.pdf. Articles include an update on OCCA’s groundwater testing program, “What’s In Our Water?” and recognition of David Hutchison and Richard McCaffery, OCCA’s 2013 Conservationists of the Year. The front page features photos from the OCCA Annual Dinner and Meeting, held in November.

OCCA ANNOUNCES GRANT FROM STEWART’S HOLIDAY MATCH:Otsego County Conservation Association has received $300.00 from Stewart’s Holiday Match toward its summer EcoTeam Paddle, a two-hour canoe trip on the Susquehanna River for up to 10 OCCA EcoTeam members. “Part recreation, part education and part work day, we’ll paddle just over three miles from Milford to the Crumhorn boat launch,” said OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley. Along the way, OCCA staff will provide education and interpretation on river ecology, wildlife and plant species, and environmental issues. “We’ll also spend some time looking for and documenting the location of aquatic invasive vegetation, notably water chestnut, hydrilla, and Eurasian watermilfoil,” O’Handley added. “Should conditions be appropriate, we’ll attempt spot removal of any invasive species encountered. We’ll pull canoes out of the water at the Crumhorn boat launch site for a box lunch.” OCCA EcoTeam was initiated in 2012 for students 18 and under. The program goals are for participants to: 1) develop a greater understanding of and respect for animals, plants, water, soil, air, and energy systems; 2) comprehend the positive and negative environmental effects of our actions; 3) acquire knowledge of practical, sustainable living strategies which consciously and carefully utilize our natural resources; and, 4) obtain information on nature programs, centers, and organizations. “In spring of 2014, OCCA will be ramping up our efforts to recruit EcoTeam members throughout Otsego County,” said OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs. Students joining EcoTeam automatically get a membership to OCCA, which includes a quarterly newsletter and regular eco-bulletins, and the ability to participate in OCCA programs. In addition, EcoTeam members will have the opportunity to take part in special programs just for them, including the paddle. “Participants in the EcoTeam Paddle will enjoy a day of fresh air and exercise on a river of national significance. They’ll learn water safety skills and develop an appreciation of the river and its importance,” O’Handley said. For more information or to join OCCA’s EcoTeam, contact O’Handley at(607) 282-4087 or e-mail programdirector@occainfo.org. Stewart’s has collected and matched donations in its shops from Thanksgiving until Christmas since 1986. They credit the success of the Holiday Match program to customers for their generous contributions, to dedicated shop partners who work diligently to collect the funds, and to media partners who help spread the word.

ENTRIES SOUGHT FOR ECOART CONTEST: Submissions in this year’s EcoArt/Trendy Trash contest, to be displayed at Earth Festival 2014 on Saturday, 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, with support from Five Star Subaru.

ENERGY PLAN EXAMINED: On March 5, the Tompkins County Environmental Management Council, Tompkins County Council of Governments and Social Ventures sponsored a public forum, “New York’s Energy Plan: Scaling up Renewable Energy or Business as Usual?” Governor Cuomo’s Draft 2014 NY Energy Plan sets some bold goals for clean energy and increased energy efficiency. However, it also predicts continued and accelerated expansion of natural gas infrastructure in New York State. Experts presented both strengths and weaknesses in the plan, and explained how the public can voice their opinions. To watch the presentation, visithttp://www.shaleshockmedia.org/2014/03/17/new-yorks-energy-plan-scaling-up-renewable-energy-or-business-as-usual/. Read the Draft 2014 NY Energy Plan at www.energyplan.ny.gov

PELLET BAGS TO BE COLLECTED AT EARTH FESTIVAL, RECYCLED:OCCA has added wood pellet bags to the list of items being collected for recycling at Earth Festival 2014. Pellet bags can be dropped off to OCCA representatives from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 12 at Milford Central School at no charge. To learn more, see http://occainfo.org/documents/OCCAToCollectPelletBagsatEarthFestival.pdf.

OCCA TO CLEAN UP HIGHWAY: OCCA is seeking volunteers to help clean up a two-mile stretch of State Route 80 in Springfield on April 5, from 9 a.m. to noon. OCCA adopted the portion of road in 2013 as part of New York State’s Adopt-A-Highway program. Volunteers will meet at OCCA’s office at Mohican Farm, at the corner of State Highway 80 and Allen Lake Road, and walk two miles south, collecting trash along the way. At that point, the group will cross the highway for the return journey. All in all, it should take about three hours, said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “I expect we’ll find a large amount of trash that’s been covered up by the snow all winter,” O’Handley added. “Adopt-A-Highway represents an important part of OCCA’s mission to protect, preserve and enhance our environment,” O’Handley said. “It’s a hands-on way to beautify and care for our environment, and the results are immediately visible.” Trash bags and safety equipment are provided by the New York State Department of Transportation, who administers the statewide program. OCCA will provide water and light refreshments. To register, call O’Handley at (607) 282-4087, or e-mail programdirector@occainfo.org by Friday, April 4. The cleanup is open to those ages 12 and up.

HANDS NEEDED FOR TAPE DECONSTRUCTION PROJECT: This year at Earth Festival on Saturday, April 12, OCCA members Florence Carnahan and Martha Clarvoe are hoping to deconstruct 1,000 VCR and audio tape cassettes for recycling. It is estimated that at least 10 volunteers will be needed every half hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.to process 600-1,000 tapes. These broken down materials will be recycled with Edison Electronics of Oneonta. If you can help, e-mailmartha.clarvoe@gmail.com for details.

REPORT OUTLINES POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES OF PLANETARY WARNING: The American Association for the Advancement of Science released a report last week on the science of global warming and human-caused climate change. According to The New York Times, “The report warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing.” To read the article in its entirety, seehttp://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/18/science/scientists-sound-alarm-on-climate.html?_r=0

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • April 1: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission public hearing on the Constitution Pipeline proposal. 7 p.m. Oneonta High School, 130 East Street, Oneonta.
  • May 5: OCCA Dining to Donate fundraising event at Applebee’s, Oneonta.

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 – Otsego County Conservation Association has received $300.00 from Stewart’s Holiday Match toward its summer EcoTeam Paddle, a two-hour canoe trip on the Susquehanna River for up to 10 OCCA EcoTeam members.

“Part recreation, part education and part work day, we’ll paddle just over three miles from Milford to the Crumhorn boat launch,” said OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley.

Along the way, OCCA staff will provide education and interpretation on river ecology, wildlife and plant species, and environmental issues.

“We’ll also spend some time looking for and documenting the location of aquatic invasive vegetation, notably water chestnut, hydrilla, and Eurasian watermilfoil,” O’Handley added. “Should conditions be appropriate, we’ll attempt spot removal of any invasive species encountered. We’ll pull canoes out of the water at the Crumhorn boat launch site for a box lunch.”

OCCA EcoTeam was initiated in 2012 for students 18 and under. The program goals are for participants to: 1) develop a greater understanding of and respect for animals, plants, water, soil, air, and energy systems; 2) comprehend the positive and negative environmental effects of our actions; 3) acquire knowledge of practical, sustainable living strategies which consciously and carefully utilize our natural resources; and, 4) obtain information on nature programs, centers, and organizations.

“In spring of 2014, OCCA is ramping up our efforts to recruit EcoTeam members throughout Otsego County,” said OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs.

Students joining EcoTeam automatically get a membership to OCCA, which includes a quarterly newsletter and regular eco-bulletins, and the ability to participate in OCCA programs. In addition, EcoTeam members will have the opportunity to take part in special programs just for them, including the paddle.

“Participants in the EcoTeam Paddle will enjoy a day of fresh air and exercise on a river of national significance. They’ll learn water safety skills and develop an appreciation of the river and its importance,” O’Handley said.

For more information or to join OCCA’s EcoTeam, contact O’Handley at(607) 282-4087 or e-mail programdirector@occainfo.org.

Stewart’s has collected and matched donations in its shops from Thanksgiving until Christmas since 1986. They credit the success of the Holiday Match program to customers for their generous contributions, to dedicated shop partners who work diligently to collect the funds, and to media partners who help spread the word.

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 – SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station Researcher Holly Waterfield will report on the status of the Goodyear Lake Management Plan at the next Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 26.

The WQCC meeting, which begins at 1 p.m. in Classroom A of The Meadows Office Building, 140 County Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown, is hosted by the Otsego County Planning Department. This event is free and open to the public; pre-registration is required by Tuesday, March 25. Those interested in attending should e-mail WQCC Facilitator Darla M. Youngs atadmin@occainfo.org or call (607) 547-4488.

Waterfield will provide an overview of the ongoing work by Caitlin Stroosnyder to study Goodyear Lake and develop a comprehensive management plan for the lake and its watershed. Stroosnyder is a graduate student in SUNY Oneonta’s Lake Management Master of Science Program; her research to this point has largely focused on determining the current state of affairs in the lake and surveying the perceptions and opinions of residents both lakeside and in the upstream watershed. In the coming months, Stroosnyder will be working with local communities, the Goodyear Lake Association, and the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District to draft a plan for the future management of this important local resource.

This event is made possible thanks to the Otsego County WQCC which, in order to better satisfy the educational component of its mission, has restructured its monthly meetings to include public information sessions. 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

 

The Leatherstocking Beekeepers Association will hold a beginner’s beekeeping class on Saturday, March 22 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at a location to be announced. Pre-registration is required. The registration fee of $20.00 includes lunch, a beekeeper’s book, and other materials. For more information and to register, call (607) 435-9371 or e-mail nemecj@hughes.net. The Otsego County Conservation Association is a co-sponsor of this event.

SPRINGFIELD – Otsego County Conservation Association is seeking volunteers to help clean up a two-mile stretch of State Route 80 in Springfield on April 5, from 9 a.m. to noon.

OCCA adopted the portion of road in 2013 as part of New York State’s Adopt-A-Highway program. Volunteers will meet at OCCA’s office at Mohican Farm, at the corner of State Highway 80 and Allen Lake Road, and walk two miles south, collecting trash along the way. At that point, the group will cross the highway for the return journey. All in all, it should take about three hours, said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director.

“I expect we’ll find a large amount of trash that’s been covered up by the snow all winter,” O’Handley added. “Last year, we typically filled two bags with trash, and another with redeemable bottles, cans, and other recyclables.”

“Adopt-A-Highway represents an important part of OCCA’s mission to protect, preserve and enhance our environment,” O’Handley said. “It’s a hands-on way to beautify and care for our environment, and the results are immediately visible.”

Trash bags and safety equipment are provided by the New York State Department of Transportation, who administers the statewide program. OCCA will provide water and light refreshments.

To register, call O’Handley at (607) 282-4087, or e-mailprogramdirector@occainfo.org by Friday, April 4. The cleanup is open to those ages 12 and up.

The 9thAnnual Earth Festival will be held on Saturday, April 12 at Milford Central School. The traditional information and vendor fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the gymnasium – kicking off the day will be the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society’s popular pre-festival bird walk. Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties will return with Spring Garden Day in conjunction with Earth Festival, featuring classes on a wide variety of gardening topics suitable for those both new and experienced to gardening. Barbara Melera, president and CEO of the D. Landreth Seed Company – the oldest seed house in America – will speak at9:30 a.m. Her presentation is free and open to the public. Again this year, in keeping with the earth-friendly theme, event organizers invite attendees to drop off Styrofoam (clean, white only), bubble wrap,empty inkjet cartridges, cell phones, eyeglasses, reusable shoes, videotapes and CDs, used nylon monofilament fishing line and more.Empire Recycling will return with the free Confidata Shredder service and, for the first time, pellet bags will be collected for recycling. The EcoArt/Trendy Trash Contest and expanded children’s activities will also be featured. 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. To sign up or donate, use the registration form at http://occainfo.org. Call (607) 547-4488 or e-mail admin@occainfo.org to learn more.

 

 

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.