Our Environment. Our Home. OUR CHALLENGE.

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Area artists can submit artwork for the ECO-Art (& Craft) Competition as part of Otsego County Conservation Association’s annual Earth Festival event this spring. Artists of all ages and skill levels can enter artwork of any kind, provided it is created primarily with repurposed, reused and/or recycled material.

The Community Arts Network of Oneonta (CANO) is organizing the ECO-Art (& Craft) competition. CANO will be awarding first and second prize in each of the following categories: Youth (under 10 years old); Teen (ages 10-17); and Adult (18 and up).

“Even if your artwork is not a winner, it will inspire others to consider how they can reconsider putting everyday discards to new use,” said Flo Loomis, who is coordinating the competition for CANO.

Earth Festival occurs at Milford Central School on Saturday, April 13 from 11am to 3pm. Items must be brought to the school by 10am on the morning of the event, and must be picked up at the end of the day, unless other arrangements are made. Pre-registration is suggested, though not required. An entry form is available at occainfo.org/earth-festival/.

“The ECO-Art Competition is a beloved part of Earth Festival and we’re thrilled that CANO is taking this on,” said OCCA Executive Director, Leslie Orzetti. “It’s heartening to see how creative people can be with their no longer useful items.”

In addition to Earth Festival, all ECO-Art works are eligible to be part of a show at the Wilber Mansion, CANO’s Oneonta headquarters, the last weekend in May. Information will be given to entrants at Earth Festival.

For further information about ECO-Art, contact Flo Loomis at (607) 293-6627 or lojac@dmcom.net . For general information about Earth Festival or to download an entry form, visit www.occainfo/earth-festival/.

Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.

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(COOPERSTOWN) – Leslie Orzetti, Executive Director for Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) will be part of a delegation to meet with New York Members of Congress in Washington, DC on March 6. The delegation is meeting to discuss the importance of maintaining programs to help protect water quality in the NY portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed as part of Chesapeake Bay Lobby Day, organized by the Choose Clean Water Coalition.

“This is my first time attending ‘Chesapeake Bay Lobby Day’ with the Choose Clean Water Coalition, and I am proud to represent NY and our headwaters portion of the watershed,” said Orzetti.

Orzetti, the designated New York Outreach Lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC), will be joined by other New York members of the coalition including Emily Dekar (Upper Susquehanna Coalition), Mike Sellitti (Sidney Center Improvement Group), Jim Pfiffer (Friends of the Chemung Watershed), and Ramsay Adams (Catskill Mountain Keeper).

The group is scheduled to meet with Representatives Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) and Tom Reed (NY-23), and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Topics to be covered include funding appropriations for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, conservation programs included in the Farm Bill, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, and new rules proposed that decrease protection for waterways under the Clean Water Act.  

“This is our chance to have a voice for the community, and we take that job very seriously,” said Orzetti.  “I’ve been working in the Bay watershed for over 20 years now, and hopefully I can bring some of that knowledge to our representatives and help them understand the importance of a healthy Chesapeake Bay watershed.”

This is the seventh annual Chesapeake Bay Lobby Day organized by the Choose Clean Water Coalition, an organization working to restore clean water to the Chesapeake Bay watershed  The intention of the day is to inform leaders in the six Chesapeake Bay states of the importance of clean water, what member organizations have done to help protect waters in each Congressperson’s state, and to thank them for their support of legislation to help keep our water ways clean and healthy for all citizens and the organisms that rely upon them.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers 64,000 acres in six states and the District of Columbia. The New York portion of the watershed comprises 6,250 acres across 19 counties. The largest and most productive estuary in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay is a critical habitat for over 2,700 species of plants and animals, and serves as an important source of food and recreation.

“The largest input of fresh water in the Bay comes from the Susquehanna River,” Orzetti noted. “Our position at the headwaters puts us in a unique position to help protect this critical resource.”

Found in 1968, 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, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call(607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.

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(COOPERSTOWN) – The invasive hemlock woolly adelgid will be the subject of a special program at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown on Saturday, March 9, from 10am to 1pm. The program is offered by Otsego County Conservation Association and Mohican Farm/The Clark Foundation.

“Hemlock woolly adelgid poses a significant threat to hemlock trees and their associated ecosystems,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “While it’s not yet in Otsego County in great numbers, it’s moving this way.”

An aphid-like insect that feeds on hemlock trees, the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is native to Asia. HWA was introduced to the western United States in the 1920s and was first discovered in New York in 1985. HWA feed on starches stored deep within the plant. It forms distinctive white, woolly masses on the underside of hemlock branches. Once infested, a previously healthy hemlock can be killed by HWA within ten years.

Dan Snider, Field Projects Manager for the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Project (CRISP) will present the program. It will include information about the insect’s life cycle and impact, how to identify the insect, and how participants can contribute to scientific projects to preserve hemlocks in our region. There will also be an outdoor component for learning and practicing techniques for conducting surveys for hemlocks and the woolly adelgid in the field.

“Hemlocks are a beautiful part of our landscape and are considered a keystone species,” O’Handley said. “Catching an invasion early is critical to keeping it controlled.”

The program is free, but pre-registration is required. For more information or to sign up, visit www.occaino.org.

Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.

Mohican Farm is part of The Clark Foundation. Its mission is to promote sustainable activities within The Clark Foundation, the community and Otsego County.

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(COOPERSTOWN) – Otsego County Conservation Association and Mohican Farm/The Clark Foundation are postponing their ‘Ticks & Lyme Disease’ program scheduled for this evening due to concerns about the weather, according to organizers. An alternate date has not yet been selected. When the program is rescheduled, it will be posted atoccainfo.org.

Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.

Mohican Farm is part of The Clark Foundation. Its mission is to promote sustainable activities within The Clark Foundation, the community and Otsego County.

SAVE THE DATE

Making Tracks and Finding Tracks: Snowshoe Walk, Clark Sports Center 
February 9 – 11am:  Clark Sports Center, 124 County Highway 52, Cooperstown
Strap on the snowshoes and hit the trails at the Clark Sports Center. Look for signs of animal life in the snow-covered woods and enjoy some fresh air. Open to all ages and all skill levels. Meet in the main lobby at the Clark Sports Center. This walk is organized as part of the Cooperstown Winter Carnival. Check the Cooperstown Winter Carnival web page for a full listing of events! ***PLEASE NOTE: You must provide your own snowshoes for this event.****

Presidents’ Day Snowshoe Walk
February 18 – 1pm:  Robert V. Riddell State Park
Forget the sales–celebrate our nation’s history with a walk in Robert V. Riddell State Park with Trish and Steve Kent! The Kents donated the land for the park in 2005 and will share some of the property’s interesting history on an invigorating snowshoe hike on the park’s northern–and more forgiving–side. Bring your own snowshoes, water, and dress for the weather. Meet at the Park’s main entrance on State Route 28, just north of I-88 Exit 17.

Get the Kids Out!
February 20 – 10am:  Robert V. Riddell State Park
Want to have some winter fun? Join OCCA at Robert V. Riddell State Park for a scavenger hunt looking for signs of life, and generally enjoying winter weather. Meet at 10am at the main parking lot of Robert V. Riddell State Park, Route 28, just north if I-88 Exit 17. Dress for the weather.

Be Informed!  Lecture Series:  Ticks and Lyme Disease
February 20 – 630pm:  First United Methodist Church, Embury Room, 66 Chestnut Street, Oneonta
Lyme disease is a serious public health threat spread by the bite of the black-legged (deer) tick, (Ixodesscapularis). Dr. Carmen Greenwood, Associate Professor at SUNY Cobleskill, will discuss the biology and ecology of ticks. Following this, Otsego County Communicable Disease Coordinator, Theresa Oellrich, RN, will discuss the specifics of Lyme disease, including its health impacts, treatment and prevention, and what to do if bitten by a tick.  Park on Church Street or at the NBT bank lot on Wall Street.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Identification and Survey Training
March 9 – 10am-1pm:  Clark Sports Center, 124 County Highway 52, Cooperstown
Hemlock trees are an iconic and valuable part of the Catskills region. Dan Snider, Field Projects Manager for the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnerships (CRISP) will teach us about the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that is threatening our native hemlock trees. We will discuss identification of the insect, best treatment practices, and how you can help contribute to scientific projects to manage this invasive pest and preserve hemlocks on our landscape. There will also be a short field component where we will practice surveying hemlocks for hemlock woolly adelgid.  The program is free, but pre-registration is required. You may use our registration form or call OCCA at (607) 547-4488.  This is a joint program offering of OCCA and Mohican Farm/The Clark Foundation.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Plastic Bag Challenge
The first-ever Otsego County plastic bag challenge has started!  Kids at Cherry Valley/Springfield, Cooperstown, Gilbertsville/Mt. Upton, Morris, Oneonta Middle School, Richfield Springs, Unatego, Valleyview Elementary, and Worcester have been hard at work collecting all kinds of film plastic.  After the February 1 weigh in, Gilbertsville/Mt. Upton Elementary School is in the lead.  Help your local win the challenge!! If you have any film plastic you would like to recycle, check with your local school or send in with a neighborhood student.  The challenge seeks to educate students (and teachers and families, too) that bags and film plastic can be recycled through grocery stores and other retailers but not through regular curbside pickup or at the transfer stations.  Winners will be announced at the 2019 Earth Festival on April 13.  Contact OCCA at 547-4488 for more details.

2019 Earth Festival
April 13 – 11am-3pm
Back for its fourteenth year, Otsego Earth Festival will be held on April 13 from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School. The event will include the popular exhibitor and vendor fair, workshops, a clothing swap, recycling opportunities, and more. Environmental organizations, businesses, and local energy vendors will have products, services and exhibits on display. For more information, or to learn how to be an exhibitor or sponsor, visit http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/.  Keep checking the site for updates!

Spotted Lanternfly Basics Webinar
The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive insect that poses a significant threat to New York’s agricultural and forest health, and has been found in four New York counties (not Otsego). The Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center is hosting a series of webinars titled “Spotted Lanternfly Basics.” Each will focus on a different group:

  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Hops, Berry, and Vegetable Growers (Feb. 26, 2019, 10:00 a.m.)
  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Grape and Apple Industries (Feb. 26, 2019, 1:00 p.m.)
  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Christmas Tree Growers (Mar. 4, 2019, 10:00 a.m.)
  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Nursery, Greenhouse, and Landscape Industries (Mar. 4, 2019, 1:00 p.m.)

All webinars will follow a similar format that covers spotted lanternfly biology, identification, and hosts, monitoring and management strategies, and a regulatory update. While the content may be relevant to audiences throughout the Northeast, management practices covered will be specific to New York. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions. For information or to register, visit https://www.northeastipm.org/working-groups/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly-basics-webinar-announcement/

Otsego 2000 Happenings at the Farmers’ Market
Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause – Join O2K for the Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause this year to close out the Cooperstown Winter Carnival.  Local restaurants share their grilled cheese and soups all for a great cause to help support Otsego 2000’s mission.  See otsego2000.org for details.

Job Opportunities at Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District
The Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District has three job opportunities open for full time employment.  Available opportunities include:  Stream Technician, Conservation District Technician, and a Summer Intern.  Please see their website for job descriptions and application deadlines.  https://www.otsegosoilandwater.com/job-volunteer-opportunities/?fbclid=IwAR0JEaGfOxKWeosdtgHHfoiiEsnjG1sEWCU4mO1kP810vAaROjzOUoiGN_M

The Be Informed Lecture Series kicks off its 2019 season with an encore presentation of ‘Ticks & Lyme Disease’ on Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at 6:30pm. The program will take place in the Embury Room at the First United Methodist Church of Oneonta, 66 Chestnut Street. The program is free and open to the public.

A joint program of OCCA and Mohican Farm/The Clark Foundation, The Be Informed Lecture Series was started in 2016 and presents quarterly programs on environmental topics. Other dates and topics include Making a Meadow (May 15); Beekeeping (August 21), and Invasive Species (November 20.)

‘Ticks and Lyme Disease’ will feature two speakers. Dr. Carmen Greenwood, Associate Professor at SUNY Cobleskill, will discuss the biology and ecology of ticks, particularly the black-legged, or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), which transmits Lyme and other diseases. Following Dr. Greenwood, Otsego County Communicable Disease Coordinator, Theresa Oellrich, RN, will discuss the specifics of Lyme disease, including its health impacts, treatment and prevention, and what to do if bitten by a tick.

Bob Sutherland, manager of Mohican Farm for The Clark Foundation, said, “Understanding the life cycle of ticks and their habitat needs and preferences can help us manage the landscape to avoid them.”

A bacterial infection spread by bites from previously-infected black-legged ticks, Lyme disease cases have skyrocketed nationwide. Lyme symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic ‘bullseye’ rash. Left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the central nervous system, leading to long-term complications.

“Lyme disease is a serious health issue that can affect us all, not just outdoorspeople,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director. “And they can be active almost any time of year, not just spring and summer.”

For information about the Be Informed Lecture Series, visit occainfo.org.

Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.

Mohican Farm is part of The Clark Foundation. Its mission is to promote sustainable activities within The Clark Foundation, the community, and Otsego County.

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Otsego County Conservation Association has been designated the New York Outreach Lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition.

“We are proud to have Otsego County Conservation Association as the New York coalition lead this year,” said Mariah Davis, field manager of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “OCCA represents a legacy of conservation and leadership taking place at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We are excited to explore new opportunities to engage stakeholders and convene coalition members to restore the mighty Susquehanna through the Upper Susquehanna Forum and beyond.”

Comprised of over 230 local, state, regional and national organizations, the coalition is working to restore clean water to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. New York is one of six states, plus the District of Columbia, that makes up the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Coalition leads play an integral role in connecting our members to clean water initiatives at the state and local level in order to address water quality throughout the Bay watershed.

“We’re honored to have been selected as outreach lead for New York,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s Executive Director. “OCCA has long been advocating for environmental stewardship in our own county, and this new position allows us to expand our reach and work with partners within the New York portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to promote clean water and help meet the Chesapeake Bay clean up targets.”

The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers 64,000 acres in six states and the District of Columbia. The New York portion of the watershed comprises 6,250 acres across 19 counties.  The watershed’s largest input of freshwater comes from the Susquehanna River which begins in Cooperstown at the base of Otsego Lake and winds 444 miles to the head of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.  The largest and most productive estuary in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay is a critical habitat for over 2,700 species of plants and animals, and serves as an important source of food and recreation.

“Maintaining and improving the health of the bay watershed is important for environmental and economic reasons,” Orzetti said. “As the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, New York plays an especially important part in the bay’s health.”

Found in 1968, 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, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.

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SAVE THE DATE

Cabin Fever Winter Fest

January 26 – 11am-3pm:  Gilbert Lake State Park

Five Star Subaru’s annual Cabin Fever Winter Festival is back, and OCCA will be there!  This family-friendly event features fun winter activities at Gilbert Lake State Park, from 11am-3pm.  Join OCCA Program Director, Jeff O’Handley for a nature-themed snowshoe walk around Gilbert Lake at 11:30 or 1:30.  A limited number of snowshoes will be available to borrow, or bring your own.  See https://www.fivestarcars.com/cabin-fever-winter-fest.htm for a full listing of events.

Five Star Subaru | New Subaru dealership in Oneonta, NY 13820 – Five Star Subaru | Oneonta New & Used Car Dealer near Norwich NY, Sidney & Cobleskillwww.fivestarcars.comOneonta, NY New, Five Star Subaru sells and services Subaru vehicles in the greater Oneonta area

Winter Carnival Snowshoe Walk

February 9 – 10am:  Clark Sports Center, 124 County Highway 52, Cooperstown

Strap on the snowshoes and hit the trails at the Clark Sports Center.  Look for signs of animal life in the snow-covered woods and enjoy some fresh air.  Open to all ages and all skill levels.  A limited number of snowshoes are available courtesy of the Clark Sports Center Adventure Program – reserve a pair by indicating need in the “Notes for OCCA” section of the program registration form (https://occainfo.org/signup/).  Meet in in the main lobby at the Clark Sports Center.  This walk is organized as part of the Cooperstown Winter Carnival.  Check the Cooperstown Winter Carnival web page for a full listing of events!

Program and Event Sign Up Form – OCCA – Otsego County Conservation Association – occainfo.orgoccainfo.org Our Environment. Our Home. OUR CHALLENGE. How to Get Rid Of… Click Here for Garage Sale

Presidents’ Day Snowshoe Walk

February 18 – 1pm:  Robert V. Riddell State Park

Celebrate our nation’s history in Robert V. Riddell State Park with Trish and Steve Kent. The Kents donated the land for the park in 2005 and will share some of the property’s interesting history during an invigorating snowshoe hike on the park’s northern–and more forgiving–side. Bring your own snowshoes, water, and dress for the weather. Meet at the Park’s main entrance on State Route 28, just north of I-88 Exit 17. 1pm.

Get the Kids Out!

February 20 – 10am:  Robert V. Riddell State Park

Do you want something to do over February break with your stir crazy kids? Planning is underway for the next first Get the Kids Out! of 2019.  Stay tuned to next month’s Ecobulletin for details.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Plastic Bag Challenge

The first-ever Otsego County plastic bag challenge has started!  Beginning the first week in January, 10 area schools are competing to see who can collect the most film plastic (per capita) until April 1.  Participating schools will receive a collection bin, courtesy of Casella. The challenge seeks to educate students (and teachers and families, too) that bags and film plastic can be recycled through grocery stores and other retailers but not through regular curbside pickup or at the transfer stations.  If you have any film plastic you would like to recycle, check with your local school or send in with a neighborhood student to help their school win the contest.  Winners will be announced at the 2019 Earth Festival on April 13.  Contact OCCA at 547-4488 for more details.

2019 Earth Festival

April 13 – 11am-3pm

OCCA and our hardworking committee have started planning the 15th annual Earth Festival to be held again at Milford Central School.  We are actively seeking vendors, exhibitors and speaker for the event.  This year’s theme is “energy sustainability.”

Reintroduction of American Eels to the NY Portion of the Upper Susquehanna River Basin

January 19 – 3-5pm: New Lisbon Town Hall, 908 County Highway 16, Garrattsville

Hosted by the Butternut Valley Alliance. American eels are returning to the upper Susquehanna watershed! Sarah Coney, a Masters student at SUNY Oneonta will present her work on the reintroduction of the American eel to the region.  Sarah will describe the importance of eels in the watershed, and talk about the positive impacts of eel reintroduction.  Eels will be reintroduced to the Butternut Creek watershed in the spring of 2019.

National Seed Swap Day

January 26 – 10-11am:  Kinney Memorial Library, 3140 County Highway 11, Hartwick

The Otsego County Master Gardeners will host the Annual Master Gardener Seed Swap at Kinney Memorial Library in Hartwick.  The mission of the swap is to conserve and promote crop diversity in local communities through a planned event at which neighbors gather to exchange seeds and chat about plans for the upcoming growing season.  For more information, visit www.cceschoharie-otsego.org/gardening or email mastergardener-otsego@cornell.edu.

Cornell Cooperative Extension | Gardeningwww.cceschoharie-otsego.orgCornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties is your resource for reliable, research-based information on soils, site improvement, plant selection, proper plant care, eco-friendly practices, integrated pest management, composting, and so much more!

Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Energy Infrastructure and Economy Summit

January 31 – 10am-3pm:  Otesaga Resort, Cooperstown

The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Energy Infrastructure and Economy Summit on January 31 at the Otesaga.  The event will explore the nexus of energy, climate change, and the region’s economy with area industry leaders and policy makers from across New York State.  The summit will provide opportunities for learning, networking, and business development.  The chamber is welcoming proposals for presentations and exhibitor applications.  For more information and registration contact Karen Laing at 432-4500 ext. 104 or karen@otsegocc.com.

Otsego 2000 Happenings at the Farmers’ Market

Hardy Locavore Challenge – Otsego 2000 is holding its Hardy Locavore challenge again this year.  This is a great opportunity to keep supporting local merchants and farmers at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market.  Visit the market and get your card punched 10 of the 12 weeks between now and the end of March to win a long-sleeved t-shirt! See the information table at the market to sign up.

Cookbook Swap at the Market – Bring your gently used cookbooks to the Market to swap them out for something fresh!  There will be a box for cookbook contributions under the front table in the annex starting on 1/3/19.  Please feel free to donate to the box at any time, and come choose new-to-you books during the Market on 2/2/19.

Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause – Join O2K for the Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause this year to close out the Cooperstown Winter Carnival.  Local restaurants share their grilled cheese and soups all for a great cause to help support Otsego 2000’s mission.  See otsego2000.org for details.

OCCA’s Eco-New Year’s Resolutions

I’m going to try and be better about using my reusable grocery bags and not leave them sitting in my house!

–        Leslie Orzetti, Executive Director

I’m going to be better about using reusable cups for my morning coffee run.

–        Danny Lapin, Environmental Planner

I’m going to communicate more with my elected officials.

–        Jeff O’Handley, Program Director

The Otsego County Conservation Association has announced that it will send eight Otsego County school students to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Education Camp this summer through a countywide competitive essay contest.

Otsego County students ages 11-14 are invited to compete for camperships through an essay that answers the question “What does energy sustainability mean to you?”  Contest winners will receive a week-long stay at a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Summer Camp, where they will spend their week immersed in the natural environment and enjoy a balance of environmental education, sportsman education, and outdoor fun.

“With our growing reliance on electronic devices, it is more important than ever to unplug and get outside,” said OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti. “I’m thrilled that OCCA can continue to offer our children this great opportunity. Our past winners have had a wonderful time at DEC camp.” In 2018, OCCA provided camperships for eight students.

Winning essays will be chosen from participating Otsego County schools and Otsego County applicants at large. The deadline for essay submissions is January 4, 2019. Winning essays will be chosen by January 11 and notified immediately. Contest winners will be given a special code by OCCA which will be used to register for DEC camp.

“We’re hoping teachers will be able to incorporate this year’s theme into their classroom learning.  In these uncertain times, it is important for all students to know that what they do has an impact on the larger community,” Orzetti said. “Camp registration opens in January  and we know they fill up fast.”

The contest is open to students ages 11-14 (must be age 11 by December 26, 2019), including students who are home-schooled. Complete contest rules and requirements are available by e-mailing director@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 be recognized 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, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.

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December 3, 2018:  Vol. 12, No. 12

SAVE THE DATE

A Looming Threat: Emerald Ash Borer

December 12 – 630pm: Otsego Now/Otsego County Chamber Office, 189 Main St., Suite 500, Oneonta

The emerald ash borer is creeping into Otsego County. This highly-destructive insect attacks and kills ash trees, which make up a significant portion of our forests and parks. Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) Field Projects Manager, Dan Snider will provide an update on the emerald ash borer infestation in the Catskills region. Come learn about emerald ash borer biology, ash tree identification, and signs of emerald ash borer infestations. We will also discuss best management practices for infested areas, and how you can contribute to research programs to preserve ash trees on our landscape. Program is free, but space is limited. Register as https://occainfo.org/signup/.

 

Solar Info Session & Potluck

December 15 – 300-530pm: Tanner Hill Herb Farm, 294 Tanner Hill Rd., Cooperstown

The Leatherstocking Young Farmers Coalition invites beginning, sustainable farmers in the Leatherstocking Region (50 mile radius of Cooperstown) to a Solar Info Session and Potluck. Join fellow farmers to talk about renewable energy options, socialize, and share food together. The session will include representatives of Solstice Community Solar, who will provide information on solar farm opt-in programs in Otsego County, and Bennett Sandler, of Heat Smart Otsego to discuss air-source and ground-source heat pumps and wood heating systems. As a farm-driven collective, the Leatherstocking Young Farmers Coalition provides a space for socializing, skills and resource sharing, and advocacy. The chapter creates a platform for building and strengthening the community of sustainable farmers and ranchers within their first 10 years of growing or starting a new farm in this region, but is also open to apprentices and seasoned farmers. Please bring a dish or drink to share. For more information, contact Greta at leatherstocking.nyfc@gmail.com.

Additional Solar Info Session

December 6 – 530-730pm: Best Western Hotel, 50 Commons Drive, Cooperstown

Solstice is a mission-driven organization dedicated to bringing affordable solar power to the 80% of Americans who cannot install a rooftop system. Solstice conducts comprehensive marketing campaigns to educate communities about community solar projects in their area, partnering with trusted local organizations to distribute community solar to their membership, conducting outreach efforts and managing the customer experience. There is currently an opportunity to buy into a new solar installation right in your own back yard in Laurens.  Come to the information session and help fill up our local solar farm while saving up to 10% on your electric bill.

ANNOUNCEMENTS 

Plastic Bag Challenge

There’s still time for schools to sign up for our first-ever plastic bag challenge! The school that collects the most film plastic (per capita) between January 1 and April 1, 2019 will win. Participating schools will receive a collecting bin, courtesy of Casella. The challenge seeks to educate that bags and film plastics can be recycled through grocery stores and other retailers, but not through regular curbside pickup or at the transfer stations. Schools can also sign up to participate in a national challenge sponsored by Trex. Registration deadline is December 15. Contact OCCA at (607) 547-4488 for more details or to sign up.

 

Christmas Lights Recycling

Through December 24 at Lowe’s

A number of Lowe’s stores in our region are accepting used Christmas and holiday lights for free recycling. Participating stores include Lowe’s in Oneonta, Norwich and Herkimer. Lights can be dropped off for free in a bin near the customer service area during normal store hours. Call your local Lowe’s to confirm participation.

If you don’t have a Lowe’s nearby, consider a mail-in program through Holiday LEDS (https://www.holidayleds.com/christmas-light-recycling-program.aspx). In addition to recycling your old lights, they’ll send you a coupon good for a 15% discount on LED Christmas lights through their online store.

Otsego Land Trust is Hiring!

The Finance and Office Manager is responsible for managing the organization’s finances and financial reporting and works closely with the Executive Director and Board Treasurer. He/she manages the office’s operational systems, utilities and facility needs. The Finance and Office Manager reports to the Executive Director, and works with the staff/Board of Directors as projects require. Like all members of OLT’s staff, the Finance and Office Manager assists with tasks outside his or her specific position requirements when the demands of a small organization require it. Please send resume, cover letter, and references to patricia@otsegolandtrust.org. Deadline for applying is December 14.

Thank You!

From the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank our loyal Ecobulletin readers for another wonderful year here at OCCA.  Your support of our organization is what keeps us going and on our toes to bring you the best information and programming we can, and to help preserve the place that we all call home.  If you want to find out more details about what we were up to this year, stay tuned for a link to the Annual Report on our website in January.

 

It’s Holiday Time!

To paraphrase the Grinch, that means lots of packages, boxes and bags. This year, when unpacking all the goodies coming to your door, pay special attention to the packaging. Foam packaging, bubble wrap, tissue paper and air pillows can all be used again, if you’re shipping gifts to distant family and friends. If you have no need for the material, check with local shipping stores to see if they can use it (call first, don’t just drop it at their door). If it can’t be reused or donated, make sure to dispose of it properly:

Cardboard: break down and flatten boxes; take clean, dry, flattened boxes to your transfer station or set out with curbside recycling.

Bubblewrap and air pillows: If bubblewrap has a foil backing, it must be disposed of in the trash. Otherwise, bubblewrap and deflated air pillows can be recycled at grocery stores and other retailers that take back plastic bags and film wrap. Visit https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/recycling-bags-and-wraps/find-drop-off-location/ to learn which nearby retailers participate.

For a comprehensive list of ‘How Do I Get Rid Of?’ in Otsego County, visit http://occainfo.org/item-specific-recycling-compiled-resources/ or http://www.otsegocounty.com/depts/sw/HowdoIgetridof.htm