Our Environment.
Our Home.
OUR CHALLENGE.

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ONEONTA—Otsego County Conservation Association’s nature walk series continues on Saturday, October 14 at noon with a hike in Robert V. Riddell State Park in the Town of Oneonta.

 

Steve Kent will lead the four-and-one-half mile walk, which passes through different forest types, makes a side trip to a 30-foot waterfall, and stops at Mud Lake, a sphagnum bog at the top of South Hill. The trail then descends toward Pine Lake Environmental Campus.

 

“Steve’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the property and its history makes for an entertaining and informative hike,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director.

 

Steve and Trish Riddell Kent donated the land for the state park in 2005, which had been in the Riddell family for five generations.

 

Participants will meet at noon at the Pine Lake Campus, 1894 Charlotte Creek Road, Oneonta. From there, the group will carpool to the trail’s starting point on Gersoni Road (Otsego County Route 58), which is just south of I-88 Exit 17. The hike proceeds up and over South Hill and ends at Pine Lake.

 

“The hike is long and there are some moderately steep portions of the trail, but it’s well worth it,” O’Handley said. He added that he expects it to take about four hours to complete.

 

Hikers should wear sturdy shoes and weather-appropriate clothing, and should bring water, a snack, and insect repellent.

 

Participation is free, but pre-registration is required, and can be accomplished by calling O’Handley at (607) 547-4488 or via OCCA’s website (http://occainfo.org/calendar/mud-lake-riddell-state-park/).

 

About OCCA

Founded in 1968, OCCA is 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

COOPERSTOWN—Otsego County Conservation Association, Otsego Land Trust and Mohican Farm are sponsoring a hands-on workshop for forest owners, foresters, and anyone with an interest in Otsego County’s forest lands on Saturday, September 30, from 1 to 4 p.m.Marilyn Wyman, Cornell Cooperative Extension Columbia & Greene Counties, and Rod Jones, certified forester and owner of Northeast Timber Services will present the workshop, which will include lecture in Mohican Farm’s workshop and a field walk in Fetterley Forest, a nearby Otsego Land Trust conservation property. Program is free, but space is limited. For more information or to register, visit occainfo.org, or call (607) 547-4488.

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Groups to partner on forest stewardship program

COOPERSTOWN—Otsego County Conservation Association, Mohican Farm, and the Otsego Land Trust are sponsoring a hands-on workshop for forest owners on Saturday, September 30 at 1 p.m. at Mohican Farm in Springfield. The workshop is aimed at forest owners, foresters, and anyone with an interest in helping conserve Otsego County’s forested land. It is the first in a series of workshops covering forest stewardship.

Marilyn Wyman, of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties will provide an overview of Otsego County’s forest ecosystems and the importance of good forest stewardship. Wyman helped establish the Extension’s Agroforestry Resource Center and the 140-acre Siuslaw Model Forest in Greene Couny, which provides science-based natural resource education and outreach programming.

“Forests are more than a bunch of trees,” said Wyman. “To be a good forest steward, you have to have a basic understanding of the value of and threats to our regional forests.”

In the second half of the program, participants will visit Otsego Land Trust’s Fetterley Forest with local forester Rod Jones. Jones worked with the Land Trust to develop and implement the forest management plan at Fetterley Forest.

“The walk at Fetterley will help people see the on-the-ground results of sustainable forest practices,” said Leslie Orzetti of OCCA.

The program is offered for free, though pre-registration is required. To register, call OCCA at (607) 547-4488 or use the registration form at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/.  Upcoming workshop topics include: identification of Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, visit to an actively managed Otsego Land Trust easement forest, and Women and their Woods.

Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit 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 donate, visit www.occainfo.org

The Mission of The Clark Foundation’s Mohican Farm is to promote broad-based sustainable practices throughout the Clark Foundation, the Village of Cooperstown, and the surrounding region in cooperation with like-minded institutions and organizations.

Otsego Land Trust is a small non-for-profit organization conserving our natural heritage of woodlands, farmlands, and waters that sustain rural communities, promote public health, support wildlife diversity and inspire the human spirit.

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Save the Date

2017 OCCA Annual Picnic

September 10 – 1-5pm – Gilbert Lake State Park (Large Picnic Shelter)

Come join OCCA as we celebrate our 49th year with our first Annual Picnic.  We’re shifting gears this year to be able to come together outside and celebrate the natural resources we all work so hard to protect.  New this year is a Chinese auction, educational nature hike, and corn hole. Keeping with tradition, we will announce our Conservationist of the Year, and give a recap our our great accomplishments.  All are welcome.  Tickets are $25 (10 and up), $15 (5-9), under 5 free.  Buy tickets at: https://occainfo.networkforgood.com/events/2944-occa-2017-annual-picnic.

 

Household Hazardous Waste Day

September 9 – 8am – 1pm – Meadows Office Complex, 140 County Highway 33W, Cooperstown

The Otsego County Solid Waste Department is holding its 20th annual Household Hazardous Waste Day. Pesticides, solvents, automotive and household batteries, CFL and fluorescent light bulbs, paints and more will be accepted.  For details on what to bring, contact the County Solid Waste Department at (607) 547-4225.

 

Citizen Monitoring Volunteer Training

September 23 – 9am-1pm – Mohican Farm Workshop

If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity, this training is for you.  This four hour training will cover all you need to accomplish on each monthly sampling trip to your adopted stream site.  Techniques covered are:  in-stream sampling, water chemistry analysis, data entry, and equipment handling.  All volunteers are required to attend this training event.  If interested call or email Executive Director Leslie Orzetti at 547-4488 or director@occainfo.org.

 

Forest Stewardship Workshop

September 30 – 1:00pm – Mohican Farm Workshop and Fetterley Forest

Together with our partners Mohican Farm and Otsego Land Trust, OCCA is co-hosting a program on forest stewardship.  This will be the first in a series of programs designed for forest owners and people interested in helping preserve Otesgo County’s forests.  The first program will introduce people to what forest stewardship is, why forests are important, and visit a local property where forest stewardship is currently ongoing.  Speakers include Marilyn Wyman of Cornell Cooperative Extension Agroforestry Resource Center, and Rod Jones, local forester.  Program is free and open to the public. Register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/ 

 

Mud Lake Hike

October 14 – 6:00pm – Riddell State Park/

Join Patricia Riddell Kent and Steve Kent, who donated the land for the state park, on this early evening walk around the northern portion of Robert V. Riddell State Park. Visit historic structures, walk through fields, forests, and along Schenevus Creek, and learn about the interesting history of the land. Meet at 6 p.m. at the Park’s main entrance on State Route 28, just north of I-88 Exit 17. Register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/

 

Save the Date

November 11 (Southern Transfer Station) and November 16 (Northern Transfer Station) – Ag Plastic Collection

Announcements

Sutherland Named Conservationist of the Year.

OCCA has named Bob Sutherland of The Clark Foundation—Mohican Farm as its 2017 Conservationist of the Year. As manager of Mohican Farm, Sutherland has spearheaded The Clark Foundation’s sustainability efforts. He has established a composting operation that has recycled over a million pounds of food scraps and green waste since 2010, manages invasive species, and uses the farm’s greenhouse to support community agriculture. A former instructor in the Plant Science Department at SUNY Cobleskill, Sutherland continues to support education through his involvement on the steering committee of the Farmers’ Museum’s annual Food and Farming Conference, and regularly speaks at round tables, lectures and events. Sutherland has worked closely with OCCA staff on numerous projects, and gave a talk on “Integrated Pest Management for the Home Garden and Greenhouse” as part of OCCA’s Be Informed! lecture series. Sutherland will receive his award at OCCA’s Annual Picnic and Meeting on Sunday, September 10 at Gilbert Lake State Park. For information on the picnic, visit http://occainfo.org/annual-picnic/

 

Volunteers Needed!

OCCA is coordinating volunteers to help at Household Hazardous Waste Day. Primary responsibilities involve sorting, opening, and stirring latex paint as part of the paint recycling program. Two shifts available: 8-11:30, or 11:30 to 1 p.m. Contact OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley at (607) 282-4087.

 

OCCA Citizen Science Stream Monitoring Program Seeking Volunteers

OCCA in partnership with the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring and a stakeholder team of the Otsego Land Trust, Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station, Trout Unlimited and SUNY Oneonta Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences are setting up a Citizen Science Stream Monitoring Program and we are looking for volunteers to help us monitor our waterways. Volunteers can expect to monitor sites once a month throughout the year as conditions allow. An introductory program to stream ecology and citizen monitoring will be August 23 and a volunteer training on September 23. A time commitment of approximately 3-4 hours a month is required. Interested in being a Stream Team member, call Leslie Orzetti at 547-4488 to sign up!

 

Household Hazardous Waste Day

The twentieth annual Household Hazardous Waste Day will be held on Friday, September 8, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Unadilla, and Saturday, September 9 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Cooperstown. This free event allows County residents to dispose of hazardous wastes, including pesticides, paints, antifreeze, batteries, electronics, and more. Checkhttp://www.otsegocounty.com/depts/sw/HHW.htm for details. Volunteer Opportunity: On September 9, volunteers are needed to help with the annual latex paint recycling collection at Household Hazardous Waste Day. Volunteers will sort, open cans, and mix paint, and will also help direct traffic, flatten cardboard, and other tasks. Contact Jeff O’Handleyprogramdirector@occainfo.org, to sign up.

 

Film Plastic Collection

Each year, the New York State Association for Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (NYSAR3) holds its annual conference at the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown. Conference organizers are sponsoring a special film plastic collection this year as part of raising awareness of New York State’s Wrap Recycling Action Program, which involves recycling plastic bags, plastic film packaging, etc. A collection station will be set up at the conference on Wednesday, November 8. Watch our website for more details!

 

Ride On! For Complete Streets

Otsego Regional Cycling Advocates (ORCA) and Otsego 2000 are hosting a multi-distance bike ride on September 10. Cyclists of all ages and abilities can participate. The ride starts from Richfield Springs and promotes Complete Streets, a program that seeks to make roads safe for all users while reducing our carbon footprint and promoting healthy lifestyles. For more information or to register, visit http://otsegooutdoors.org/event/rideon-for-complete-streets/.

 

Recycle Your Tennis Balls!

OCCA board member Herb Marx has been promoting recycling of tennis balls. For the last two years, Dr. Marx has been collecting tennis balls at the Emery Herman tennis courts on Brooklyn Avenue in Cooperstown. This year, the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown has also agreed to put out a collecting bin for tennis balls. Thus far, Dr. Marx has shipped 600 tennis balls to reBounces, an Arkansas-based company that repressurizes old tennis balls so that they can be reused, or recycles tennis balls that can’t be salvaged. Recycled tennis balls are being used for material in new or refurbished tennis courts.

 

Help the Birds, Help Your Local Audubon Society

Delaware Otsego Audubon Society is holding its annual bird seed sale/fundraiser now through October 28. Proceeds help support a wide variety of DOAS programs including field trips, NY Golden Eagle Project, Non-Lead Ammo Initiative and more. Visit www.doas.us/store or contact Susan O’Handley (607) 643-5680 for more information.

OCCA 2017 Conservationist of the Year, Bob Sutherland

The Otsego County Conservation Association will present its 2017 “Conservationist of the Year” award to Bob Sutherland of Springfield. Sutherland will receive the award at OCCA’s Annual Picnic on Sunday, September 10.

OCCA President Vicky Lentz said, “OCCA established the Conservationist of the Year in 1989 to recognize individuals, organizations or businesses that have made a positive difference in environmental protection, conservation or education in Otsego County. We couldn’t think of a more deserving winner than Bob Sutherland for Conservationist of the Year.”

Sutherland has been managing Mohican Farm for The Clark Foundation since 2009. Under his management, the farm has spearheaded The Clark Foundation’s sustainability efforts. He established and oversees a composting operation that has recycled over a million pounds of food scraps and green waste since 2010, manages invasive species, and uses the farm’s greenhouse to support community agriculture. A former instructor in the Plant Science Department at SUNY Cobleskill, Sutherland continues to support education through his involvement on the steering committee of the Farmers’ Museum’s annual Food and Farming Conference, and regularly speaks at round tables, lectures and events. Sutherland has worked closely with OCCA staff on numerous projects, and gave a talk on “Integrated Pest Management for the Home Garden and Greenhouse” as part of OCCA’s Be Informed! lecture series.

“Otsego County has so many individuals and organizations dedicated to the environment,” Sutherland said. “I consider myself fortunate to be able to work with such passionate and knowledgeable people. This is an unexpected honor.”

In addition to his work at Mohican Farm, Sutherland is an active participant in the community. He is a member of the Otsego Lake Association’s Board of Directors, supports Growing Communities and the Kid Garden at Cooperstown Elementary School. Sutherland has also been a key player in an initiative to develop a county-wide composting facility in Oneonta.

Executive Director, Leslie Orzetti said, “Bob has been a steadfast partner and overall great example for those wanting to make a difference in natural resource conservation in Otsego County.”

Sutherland will be honored at OCCA’s Annual Picnic and Meeting on Sunday, September 10 at Gilbert Lake State Park. The picnic, which runs from 1-5 p.m., will be held in the park’s large picnic shelter and includes lunch by L.M. Townsend Catering of Cooperstown, beer from Butternuts Brewery, a guided nature walk, and a Chinese auction fundraiser. OCCA staff and board will provide an overview of OCCA’s activities for the year, and there will be a vote to elect Board members. Cost is $25 per adult, $15 for children ages 5-9. For information on, contact OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti at(607) 547-4488. The picnic is taking the place of OCCA’s Annual Dinner, which has traditionally been held in November.

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, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org

COOPERSTOWN—Otsego County Conservation Association has a variety of programs and events through early September.

On August 17 at 6 p.m. Trish Riddell Kent and Steve Kent lead “A Walk on the Flat Side” at Robert V. Riddell State Park. The Kents, who donated the land for the state park, will lead this easy hike through fields, forests, and along Schenevus Creek, and will highlight the park’s interesting history. Meet at Riddell Park’s main entrance on State Route 28 in Oneonta, just north of I-88 exit 17, at 6 p.m.

OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti is the featured speaker at OCCA’s Be Informed! Lecture Series on August 23 at 6 p.m. Orzetti’s presentation, “Up the Creek,” will cover the basics of stream ecology, our connection to the Chesapeake Bay, an overview of OCCA’s upcoming Citizen Science Monitoring Program, and will also include a field walk to explore a nearby creek. Meet at 6 p.m. at the workshop at Mohican Farm, 7207 State Highway 80, Cooperstown.

On Saturday, August 19, volunteers are needed to help clean up a 2-mile stretch of State Highway 80 as part of New York State’s Adopt-A-Highway program. Meet at OCCA’s office at 7207 State Highway 80, Cooperstown. Bags, gloves, safety vests and hard hats are provided. Starting time is 10 a.m.

On Saturday, September 9, OCCA is seeking volunteers to assist with Otsego County’s annual Household Hazardous Waste Day. Shifts are available from 8 to 11 a.m. or from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are provided with breakfast and lunch.

On Sunday, September 10, OCCA will hold its first Annual Picnic in the large picnic shelter at Gilbert Lake State Park from 1 – 4 p.m. The event includes naming of the Conservationist of the Year, a Chinese auction, nature hike, games, and food by L.M. Townsend Catering. Tickets are $25 for ages 10 and up, $15 for ages 5-9 and free for 4 and under, and areavailable at: https://occainfo.networkforgood.com/events/2944-occa-2017-annual-picnic.

All programs (other than the Annual Picnic) are free, though pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, visit http://occainfo.org/calendar/ or call (607) 547-4488.

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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Otsego County Conservation Association’s “Be Informed” lecture series continues with a presentation and walk focusing on creek ecology led by OCCA’s Executive Director Dr. Leslie Orzetti. The program will be Wednesday, August 23 at 6:00 p.m. at Mohican Farm, 7207 State Highway 80, Cooperstown.

“We’re very excited to be offering such a broad array of environmental programs,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “Many Otsego County residents have streams on their properties and would like to learn more about them.”

The program will cover the basics of stream ecology, our connection to the Chesapeake Bay, as well as an overview of OCCA’s upcoming Citizen Science Monitoring Program. As part of the program, Orzetti will lead a field walk to explore a creek on Mohican Farm.

“The best way to really understand a stream is by getting your feet wet,” Orzetti said.

Orzetti took over as OCCA’s Executive Director in August, 2016. She holds a doctorate in Environmental Science and Policy from George Mason University. She has served as an assistant professor at Northern Virginia Community College and as an adjunct professor at George Mason University. Prior to serving as a professor, Orzetti served as a Fish and Wildlife Biologist in the District of Columbia, as a senior scientist in a Chesapeake Bay-based non-profit, and as a contractor for the Department of Defense, conducting research and restoration on military lands.

“I have always been interested in aquatic ecology, and have been working in streams for much of my professional life,” said Orzetti.

“Up the Creek” is the third program in the Be Informed! lecture series, sponsored by OCCA. Previous topics have included climate smart communities and integrated pest management. The final program in the series for the year will be in November.

“The reception to the program so far has been excellent,” said O’Handley. “We’re getting good attendance, good feedback, and are looking forward to continuing this program in 2018.”

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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Paddle and Pull
August 6—1:00pm – Portlandville Fishing Access Site
Water chestnut continues to threaten our waterways. Join us at Goodyear Lake as we paddle the Stump Lot in our ongoing effort to eliminate this invasive plant. Meet at the State Fishing Access Site on Route 28 in Portlandville, just south of County Road 35A. Reserve space in an OCCA canoe by calling or using our online registration form at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/. If necessary, an additional date may be added later in August—watch our website for details!

A Walk on the Flat Side
August 17 – 6:00pm – Riddell State Park
Join Patricia Riddell Kent and Steve Kent, who donated the land for the state park, on this early evening walk around the northern portion of Robert V. Riddell State Park. Visit historic structures, walk through fields, forests, and along Schenevus Creek, and learn about the interesting history of the land. Meet at 6 p.m. at the Park’s main entrance on State Route 28, just north of I-88 Exit 17. Register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/

Be Informed! Lecture Series
August 23 – 6:00pm – Mohican Farm Workshop
Join OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti as she introduces you to the world of stream ecology with her talk: Up the Creek. Orzetti will teach participants all about water quality, stream habitat and the creatures that live there with a short lecture and then a trip to Mohican Farm’s stream to do some hands-on stream sampling. Be prepared to get wet and have fun! Orzetti will also introduce OCCA’s new Citizen Science Stream Monitoring program where volunteers sign up to adopt-a-stream and monitor water quality helping to ensure clean water in Otsego County. Program is free and open to the public. Register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/

2017 OCCA Annual Picnic
September 10 – 1-5pm – Gilbert Lake State Park (Large Picnic Shelter)
Come join OCCA as we celebrate our 49th year with our first Annual Picnic. We’re shifting gears this year to be able to come together outside and celebrate the natural resources we all work so hard to protect. New this year is a Chinese auction, educational nature hike, face painting and corn hole. Keeping with tradition, we will announce our Conservationist of the Year, and give a recap our all our great accomplishments. All are welcome. Tickets are $25 (10 and up), $15 (5-9), under 5 free. Buy tickets at: https://occainfo.networkforgood.com/events/2944-occa-2017-annual-picnic.

Citizen Monitoring Volunteer Training
September 23 – 9am-1pm – Mohican Farm Workshop
If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity, this training is for you. This four hour training will cover all you need to accomplish on each monthly sampling trip to your adopted stream site. Techniques covered are: in-stream sampling, water chemistry analysis (can be at home or at the site), data entry, and equipment handling. All volunteers are required to attend this training event. If interested call or email Executive Director Leslie Orzetti at 547-4488 or director@occainfo.org.

Clean Water Campaign Fundraiser!
Did you know that Otsego County has over 1000 miles of streams? Over 20 designated trout streams? And our streams are the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed? This year our summer fundraising campaign is all about clean water. We have a goal of $5000 to help us protect Otsego County’s streams. Your donation will help us not only raise awareness about Otsego County’s streams and what you can do to protect them, but also help us set up our brand new Citizen Science Stream Monitoring Program. Check out our fundraising webpage at https://occainfo.networkforgood.com/projects/30827-water-an-essential-element-what-is-it-worth to make your donation today!

OCCA Citizen Science Stream Monitoring Program Seeking Volunteers
OCCA in partnership with the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring and a stakeholder team of the Otsego Land Trust, Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station, Trout Unlimited and SUNY Oneonta Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences are setting up a Citizen Science Stream Monitoring Program and we are looking for volunteers to help us monitor our waterways. Volunteers can expect to monitor sites once a month throughout the year as conditions allow. An introductory program to stream ecology and citizen monitoring will be August 23 and a volunteer training on September 23. A time commitment of approximately 3-4 hours a month is required. Interested in being a Stream Team member, call Leslie Orzetti at 547-4488 to sign up!

Household Hazardous Waste Day
The twentieth annual Household Hazardous Waste Day will be held on Friday, September 8, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Unadilla, and Saturday, September 9 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Cooperstown. This free event allows County residents to dispose of hazardous wastes, including pesticides, paints, antifreeze, batteries, electronics, and more. Check http://www.otsegocounty.com/depts/sw/HHW.htm for details. Volunteer Opportunity: On September 9, volunteers are needed to help with the annual latex paint recycling collection at Household Hazardous Waste Day. Volunteers will sort, open cans, and mix paint, and will also help direct traffic, flatten cardboard, and other tasks. Contact Jeff O’Handley programdirector@occainfo.org, to sign up.

Work Commences at Basswood
If you enjoy Basswood Pond State Forest in Burlington, you may face some detours on your next visit. The Department of Environmental Conservation is doing substantial work in the forest, which will result in better access and improved facilities. Heavy equipment may be on the scene, and some of the trails may be diverted temporarily. Thanks for your patience!

Look Out for the ALB!
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is once again asking pool owners to be on the lookout for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive wood boring insect that feeds on a variety of hardwoods including maple, birch, elm and other species. The beetle is about 1.5 inches long, black, shiny, and has white spots on its wing covers. In New York, ALB has only been found around New York City and Long Island, but DEC is concerned that it may spread. Pool owners are asked to check their skimmers and filters and send a photo of suspected to ALB to foresthealth@dec.ny.gov. For more information, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7255.html.

Did You Know?
There is a total solar eclipse coming to a neighborhood near you! On August 21 we earthlings will be treated to a solar eclipse. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes directly between us and the sun, blocking out the sun from our view for a short time. Upstate New York isn’t in the “path of totality”, but you don’t need to travel too far to see it. Check out NASA’s website for where to go https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/ (just don’t expect to find many hotel rooms left in Nashville!). Here in Otsego County, we’ll have a partial eclipse that will block 50-75% of the sun, which is nothing to scoff at. Should you look directly at the sun to view this great natural phenomenon? NO! There are several SAFE ways to view the eclipse, including special eclipse glasses and various homemade methods. To get more facts on this year’s eclipse, where and when the best viewing is, and safe ways to see the eclipse, check out NASA’s website. Happy viewing and blessed eclipse!

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. OCCA will present the award at their Annual Picnic on September 10th at Gilbert Lake State Park.

OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti says “The Conservationist of the Year award is a wonderful way to recognize citizens and organizations that do so much not only for the environment itself, but also in educating our citizens on the importance of natural resource conservation.” In 2016, Tom Salo of Burlington was named Conservationist of the Year for his work with DOAS on reducing accidental lead poisoning of bald eagles.”  OCCA is now seeking nominations for the 2017 awardee(s). Nominations must be submitted by August 18.

Preference will be given to nominees residing in Otsego County. Environmental professionals and businesses are not eligible to be nominated based on achievements accomplished for their compensated employment or profit making enterprise. Nominations may be made by individuals, citizens’ groups or grassroots organizations, governmental bodies, non-profit organizations with 501 (c)(3) standing or businesses. The OCCA Board of Directors will review nominations and designate the Conservationist of the Year.

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 picnic and will be publically recognized at this event. A press release will be issued announcing the recipient, and an announcement will appear in first annual OCCA Annual Report at the end of the year.

To obtain a nomination form, contact OCCA at 547-4488 or e-mail director@occainfo.org.  Forms may also be downloaded from the OCCA website at: http://occainfo.org/coy/.

Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit 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 donate, visit www.occainfo.org.

 

SAVE THE DATE

 

Invasive Species Awareness Week

July 9-15 is the fourth annual New York Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW). The mission of ISAW is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species and the harm they can cause by engaging citizens in a wide range of activities across the state, and empowering them to take action to stop the invasion! OCCA is hosting two events for ISAW:

 

Sunday, July 91-3 p.m., Paddle and Pull – Goodyear Lake

OCCA has been working with the Goodyear Lake Association to control water chestnut, a highly invasive aquatic plant, in the Stump Lot. We’ll meet at the fishing access site on Route 28 in Portlandville and set forth. Bring your own canoe or kayak, or borrow one of ours. Space is limited—register today (no charge).

 

Wednesday, July 116:30-8:00 p.m. – Mohican Farm

Digging Knotweed. Japanese knotweed is one of our most persistent and aggressive terrestrial invaders. Learn to recognize knotweed, and get your hands dirty as we try to control a patch of it here at Mohican Farm. Bring hand pruners and hand tools useful for root grubbing. Meet at OCCA’s office at Mohican Farm, 7207 State Highway 80, Cooperstown.

Both programs are free, though pre-registration is appreciated (and required, if you want a guaranteed space in our canoe!). Use the sign up form at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/ to register. For more information about Invasive Species Awareness Week, or for a listing of statewide events, visit https://stoptheinvasionny.com/.

 

Get the Kids Out!

July 19 – 10-11:30am – Gilbert Lake State Park

With virtual reality playing a bigger role in our everyday lives, we often lose sight of the beautiful real world that surrounds us. In this program, we will open our eyes, ears, noses and fingertips to gain a greater appreciation for nature. Dress to play in the woods! Program is free, though park admission fees may apply.  Register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/

 

Canadarago Lake Day Ecology Paddle

July 22 – 1:30pm – Baker’s Beach

Come paddle with us at Canadarago Lake for a paddle along the shores and a talk about lake ecology.  We’ll be joining the Canadarago Lake Improvement Association picnic and Deowongo Island Day to help celebrate the lake and all it has to offer.  We will have some canoe’s available, but if you have your own canoe or kayak, please feel free to bring it and join us!

 

Nature Walk: Amazing Insects All Around Us

Saturday, July 22 — 10:00 a.m. – SUNY Oneonta College Camp (Hoffman Road)

Join Dr. Jeffrey Heilveil, Chair of the Biology Department at SUNY Oneonta and resident entomologist, for an exciting program. Catch, observe, and learn about many of the late summer insects that reside in Otsego County. Dr. Heilveil will talk about the distinguishing characteristics of different groups of insects, where to find different species, and some of their astounding life histories. College Camp/Hoffman Road is located off East Street, roughly opposite the northern intersection of East Street and Lower Reservoir Road. Free.

 

Save The Date

August 17 – A Walk on the Flat Side, Riddell State Park – 6:30pm

August 23 – Be Informed! Lecture Series – Stream Ecology and Citizen Monitoring Introduction – 6pm

September 10 – OCCA Annual Picnic, Gilbert Lake State Park — 1pm

September 23 – Citizen Monitoring Volunteer Training – 9am-1pm

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Clean Water Campaign Fundraiser!

Did you know that Otsego County has over 1000 miles of streams?  Over 20 designated trout streams? And our streams are the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed?  This year our summer fundraising campaign is all about clean water. We have a goal of $5000 to help us protect Otsego County’s streams.  Your donation will help us not only raise awareness about Otsego County’s streams and what you can do to protect them, but also help us set up our brand new Citizen Science Stream Monitoring Program. Check out our fundraising webpage at https://occainfo.networkforgood.com/projects/30827-water-an-essential-element-what-is-it-worth to make your donation today!

 

You Did It!

On June 17, OCCA staff and volunteers poured beer at The Shins concert at Brewery Ommegang. With your help, we raised over $2000 to help us carry out our mission of protecting Otsego County’s natural environment. According to Ommegang, we did a great job, and are in the running for a concert again next year!  Thanks to all our great volunteers who came out to help! And a great big thanks to Ommegang for having us this year.  We had a ball!

 

OCCA Citizen Science Stream Monitoring Program Seeking Volunteers

OCCA in partnership with the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring and a stakeholder team of the Otsego Land Trust, Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station, Trout Unlimited and SUNY Oneonta Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences are setting up a Citizen Science Stream Monitoring Program and we are looking for volunteers to help us monitor our waterways. Volunteers can expect to monitor sites once a month throughout the year as conditions allow. An introductory program to stream ecology and citizen monitoring will be August 23 and a volunteer training on September 23. A time commitment of approximately 3-4 hours a month is required.  Interested in being a Stream Team member, call Leslie Orzetti at 547-4488 to sign up!

 

Public Comment Deadline for AFPP!

The draft Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan 2017 Update is available for public review! OCCA, working as part of a committee with Otsego County Department of Planning and Solid Waste, the Otsego County Soil & Water Conservation District, and others, completed a draft update of the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan (AFPP). If adopted, the AFPP will help prioritize programs that will encourage development of sustainable agriculture for the forseeable future.  The draft plan is available online at http://occainfo.org/agriculture-farmland-protection-plan/. We encourage anyone with an interest in agriculture to review the plan and submit comments to OCCA or Otsego County Planning Department by July 31.

 

Household Hazardous Waste Day

The twentieth annual Household Hazardous Waste Day will be held on Friday, September 8, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Unadilla, and Saturday, September 9 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Cooperstown. This free event allows County residents to dispose of hazardous wastes, including pesticides, paints, antifreeze, batteries, electronics, and more. Check http://www.otsegocounty.com/depts/sw/HHW.htm for details. Volunteer Opportunity: On September 9, volunteers are needed to help with the annual latex paint recycling collection at Household Hazardous Waste Day. Volunteers will sort, open cans, and mix paint, and will also help direct traffic, flatten cardboard, and other tasks. Contact Jeff O’Handley programdirector@occainfo.org, to sign up.

 

TerraCycle Update.

TerraCycle is a company that specializes in recycling hard-to-recycle waste.  OCCA currently maintains a TerraCycle collection bin outside the Farmers’ Market building at 101 Main Street, Cooperstown. We currently collect natural wine corks, writing implements (pens, mechanical pencils, markers) and oral care products (used toothbrushes and toothbrush packaging, empty toothpaste tubes and dental floss containers. The YMCA in Oneonta also has a TerraCycle collection. They accept the following: Brita water filters; Solo drink cups; energy bar wrappers; cereal bags; Febreze packaging; beauty/personal care containers; and snack bags (w/foil liner ONLY). These items must be separated and deposited in the proper containers at the Y. For information on TerraCycle, visit terracycle.com. For questions about the Oneonta YMCA’s collection program, contact Lynn Bailey @ 432-0010.

 

Did You Know?

That the Town of Springfield has almost 10,000 acres of prime farmland? Did you know some of our county’s most viable farmland is in the Butternut Valley? Identifying and prioritizing agricultural land for protection can be a scary and daunting task. In 2017, OCCA in partnership with SUNY Oneonta, developed a computer model to accomplish this task. The model identified six priority areas for conservation in the County. One may ask: why is this important? To answer this question, every dollar generated in agricultural output distributes an additional 45 cents throughout the community. That’s a 145% return! On top of that, according to an American Farmland Trust study, 92% of farmers in New York State do not have an identified successor. As land changes hands, it will be important to know which pieces of agricultural land are in the direst need of protection.