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Stewart’s gives OCCA funding for children’s programming

(COOPERSTOWN) – The Otsego County Conservation Association has received a $350 grant from Stewart’s Holiday Match program.  Monies from the grant will be applied to our new Get the Kids Out family adventure hike series.

The hikes are being held at various locations around the county to encourage families from every school district to attend.  The first hike was held during winter recess at Robert V. Riddell State Park and was highly successful.  The hikes are a part of our nature hike series, and have been scheduled during school breaks to encourage families to get out into nature, get some exercise, and learn some local ecology.  The next hike, planned for April 19 at 10 a.m. at the Thayer Farm Upland Interpretive Center, will focus on amphibians.  These programs are free and open to the public.

OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti states, “We are proud to be the recipient of the generosity of the Stewart’s Foundation, and are happy to be using the funds to bring free environmental education programming to Otsego County’s children and families.”

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

Otsego County Conservation Association will be the beneficiary of Well Spent Wednesday on March 22 at Alex’s Bistro in Cooperstown.

Well Spent Wednesday is a regular event hosted at Alex’s Bistro. Patrons who mention they are supporting OCCA will have 15% of their bill donated to OCCA, assisting the organization in carrying out its mission of promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources.

“With all the attention being focused on national issues, it’s important for people to remember the local organizations working on their behalf,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director.

OCCA conducts a broad spectrum of environmental programs. New this year is the Be Informed! Lecture Series, Get the Kids Out family adventure hikes series, and a citizen science water quality monitoring program. Past efforts have included halting a project that would have doubled the width of the Marcy South power line, and partnering with several organizations and municipalities to expand invasive species prevention efforts on Canadarago and Otsego lakes.

“We’re very grateful to Alex for hosting us,” Orzetti said. “We’ll have staff and board members on hand throughout the day to talk about our programs and activities. We hope to see a lot of people!”

Well Spent Wednesday to benefit OCCA will take place on Wednesday, March 22 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Alex’s Bistro is located at 149 Main Street, Cooperstown.

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

Identifying trees in winter will be the subject of a nature walk led by Otsego County Conservation Association. The program will take place at the Upland Interpretive Center at Thayer Farm on Saturday, March 25, at 9:30 a.m.

Most of the program will be spent on woodland trails at Thayer Farm, a 256-acre farm donated to the Biological Field Station by Rufus Thayer for the purpose of research and education. The walk will focus on common tree and shrub species found in Otsego County, and is suitable for children and adults.

Thayer Farm is located at 7027 State Highway 80, Springfield. It approximately seven miles north of the Village of Cooperstown, and three miles south of Springfield Center. Once at the farm, follow the signs to the UIC. The program is free and takes place rain or shine.

The Winter Tree ID hike is part of a series of nature walks and programs offered throughout the year by OCCA. Upcoming programs include a highway cleanup in Springfield on April 8, Morning Birding at Mohican Farm on May 13, and a hike at Glimmerglass State Park on June 11, as part of Otsego Lakes Festival. For information about upcoming programs, visitwww.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, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org

COOPERSTOWN, NY-Theresa Swenson and Kate Kornak will provide a joint presentation on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Wetland Programs, with a particular emphasis on how the regulations relate to water quality and lakeside residences at the Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee (WQCC) public meeting on Wednesday, February 22 at 1 p.m.

Swenson, an Ecologist with the DEC’s Region 4 Office in Stamford, will discuss the agency’s Article 24 Freshwater Wetlands Program, the functions and benefits of wetlands, status and trends in New York State, and common threats and concerns. Kornak, an Environmental Analyst in the DEC Region 4 Schenectady Office, will provide a general overview of the wetland permitting process, with relevant contact information, and other tools available for landowners.

According to the DEC, freshwater wetlands are lands and submerged lands, commonly called marshes, swamps, sloughs, bogs, and flats, supporting aquatic or semi aquatic vegetation. Wetlands provide protection against floods, habitat for wildlife, open space, and water resources. The Article 24 Freshwater Wetlands Program was designed to prevent the destruction of New York State’s freshwater wetlands while allowing for the responsible economic and social development of the state.

“Wetlands act as a sponge to filter runoff from the land and protect our waterways,” said Leslie Orzetti, the Executive Director of the Otsego County Conservation Association. “Permitting is important to protect wetland areas that would otherwise be compromised due to development,” she added.

Swenson formerly worked with the DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife as a Technician concentrating on the monitoring and research of rare bird species. She graduated from SUNY Cobleskill with a Bachelor’s of Technology in Wildlife Management. Kornak recently transferred from DEC region 7, where her territory included large waterbodies such as the Finger Lakes. In region 4, Kate works with the Towns of Springfield, Otsego, and Middlefield. She also operates in Schenectady County.

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. The event is free and open to the public; pre-registration is required by Tuesday, February, 21. Those interested in attending should email WQCC Secretary Danny Lapin at planner@occainfo.org or call (607)547-4488.

The Otsego County WQCC 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: http://www.otsegosoilandwater.com/waterqualitycc.html.

 

COOPERSTOWN—Otsego County Conservation Association begins its “Be Informed!” lecture series on February 15, 2017 with a talk by Dan Sullivan, of the Mohawk Valley Regional Development District. Sullivan’s talk, “How You Can Make an Impact Using Clean Energy,” covers clean energy, how citizens and municipalities can get involved in clean energy programs, and the positive impact this can have on our changing climate.

 

“We’re really excited to start off this lecture series. I hope Otsego County residents take advantage of this resource and we can give people the opportunity to learn about new and exciting ways to help conserve our natural resources,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director.

 

Sullivan is currently the Outreach Coordinator for the Mohawk Valley region’s Clean Energy Communities Program, a NYSERDA-funded initiative that seeks to provide local governments with funding for Clean Energy projects. He has been involved with energy efficiency advocacy since 2007, when as Sustainability Coordinator for the North Rockland Schools (NY), he launched a program to reduce the District’s carbon footprint. Sullivan has edited the Climate Smart Communities Pledge to be applicable to school districts, and in 2014, he secured passage of the Pledge in the Town of Richfield. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Otsego Land Trust and Otsego 2000, and is the Chairman of the Town of Richfield Comprehensive Plan Committee. Dan and his wife Teresa live on a 70-acre organic farm in Richfield.

 

“The turn towards clean, sustainable energy for the Mohawk Valley is a key factor in both the preservation of our natural beauty and environmental quality, and our economic revival,” Sullivan said.

 

“This is the first of four lectures in the series,” said Orzetti. “Future topics will include hand-on forest management, stream ecology, and native organisms of Otsego County.”

 

The talk will take place in the workshop at Mohican Farm, 7195 State Highway 80, Cooperstown. The program is free and open to the public, though pre-registration is highly suggested. To sign up for the program, visit http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/.

 

 

About OCCA

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

COOPERSTOWN – 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 coming summer through a countywide competitive essay contest.

Otsego County students ages 11-13 are invited to compete for camperships via the essay contest (campers must be 11 by December 16, 2017). This year’s contest question is “What would you tell President-elect Donald Trump is the most important environmental issue facing the United States today?” Contest winners will receive a week-long stay at 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.

“It’s very important for kids to get outside and connect with nature,” said OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti. “I’m thrilled that OCCA can continue to offer our children this great opportunity. Our past winners have loved the experience they had at DEC camps.” In 2016, OCCA provided camperships for nine students.

Winning essays will be chosen from participating Otsego County schools and Otsego County applicants at large. The deadline for essay submissions is January 27, 2017. Winning essays will be chosen by February 1 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 the essay contest into their classroom lessons, but recognize there’s a quick turnaround,” Orzetti said. “Camp registration opens on January 25 and we know they fill up fast.”
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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PRESS RELEASE–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

November 1, 2016

 

Contact: Martha Clarvoe, (607) 293-6654; martha.clarvoe@occainfo.org

 

Volunteers, bags needed for special project

 

COOPERSTOWN–The Recycling Committee of Otsego County Conservation Association is currently seeking volunteers to help make tote bags from used plastic pet and animal food bags. The newly-made tote bags will be distributed to 200 Otsego County families along with Thanksgiving dinner supplies by the Family Services Association this November.

 

“Family Services needs 200 tote bags by November 14,” said Martha Clarvoe, chair of OCCA’s recycling committee. “Making the bags isn’t difficult. All it takes is a pair of scissors, some thread, and a sewing machine. The finished tote bags are attractive and durable, and can be used as shopping bags.”

 

Finished tote bags can be delivered directly to Family Services Association, located at 277 Chestnut Street, Oneonta, or at the offices of Otsego County Conservation Association, 7207 State Highway 80, Cooperstown. Other drop off sites can be arranged by calling Martha Clarvoe at 293-6654, or by e-mailing Martha at martha.clarvoe@gmail.com. Bags need to be delivered to Family Services Association by November 14.

 

Anyone interested in making tote bags, or donating empty, clean pet food bags to donate, should contact Clarvoe.

 

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

PRESS RELEASE—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 Tuesday, October 25, 2016                                                             

 

Contact: Leslie Orzetti, (607) 547-4488, director@occainfo.org

 Salo named OCCA Conservationist of the Year

tom-salo-coy-photo

COOPERSTOWN—The Otsego County Conservation Association will present its 2016 “Conservationist of the Year” award to Tom Salo of Burlington. Salo will receive the award at OCCA’s Annual Dinner on Tuesday, November 15.

“I am delighted that Tom Salo is receiving the OCCA Conservationist of the Year Award,” said OCCA President Vicky Lentz. “He deserves recognition for the many wonderful environmental projects he has worked on throughout the years.”

Salo has been involved in environmental issues and politics since the first Earth Day in 1970. A long-time member of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society (DOAS), he joined the DOAS board in the 1980s and has served the organization as president, secretary, education chair and field trip chair. Currently, Salo is co-chair of the Franklin Mountain Hawkwatch, and is the New York State coordinator of the Appalachian Eagle Project, which uses baited wildlife cameras to define the winter distribution of scavengers, especially golden eagles. He has written articles for The Conservationist and several ornithological journals. He lives in Burlington with his wife, Jo, in a passive solar house they built in 1982.

For the past decade, Salo has focused on understanding and conserving raptors in New York, particularly golden eagles. He is currently spearheading a DOAS effort to reduce accidental lead poisoning in bald eagles by promoting the use of non-lead ammunition for deer hunting.

“Ever since I was a teen, I felt compelled to leave the world a better place,” said Salo. “I’m one of seven billion now, and still trying to do my tiny part.”

OCCA has been awarding the Conservationist of the Year since 1989. The award is given to an individual, citizens’ group or grassroots organization, governmental body, non-profit organization or business that has made a positive difference in environmental protection, preservation or education in Otsego County.

Salo will be honored at OCCA’s Annual Dinner and Meeting, which will be held at Templeton Hall in Cooperstown. The event includes a silent auction fundraiser, an overview of OCCA’s activities for the year, and a member vote of OCCA Board of Directors. Doors open at 6 p.m. with cocktail hour and silent auction preview. Dinner will be served at 7, with awards presentation to follow. For information on the dinner, contact OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti at (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, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org

COOPERSTOWN–Farmers will have two opportunities to drop off their used agricultural plastic for recycling this November through a special program arranged by the Otsego County Department of Solid Waste, Otsego County Conservation Association, Casella Resource Solutions, Otsego County Soil & Water Conservation District, and the New York State Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program (RAPP). The collections are scheduled for Saturday, November 5 at the Southern Transfer Station in Oneonta, and Thursday, November 10 at the Northern Transfer Station in Cooperstown. Collections on both days will run from 8-11 a.m. Participation is free, though pre-registration is required.

Agricultural film plastics are used to prevent spoilage of feed, and as covers for hoop houses and greenhouses. These plastics have long been ignored by traditional recyclers; over the last several years, however, markets have developed that use them as raw materials to create a variety of products including plastic lumber, plywood and sidewalk pavers.

Seasonal collections are held in Oneonta and Cooperstown twice per year. Once collected, the plastic is compacted into bales weighing between 800 and 1,000 pounds using a mobile baling machine before being shipped to a recycler. More than ten tons of plastic have been collected this way since the first collection in March, 2015.

Plastic being accepted this fall includes bale wrap, silage bags, bunker silo cover and greenhouse covers. In addition, farmers and homeowners can bring in empty wood pellet bags. For information on participating or to sign up for a time slot, contact OCCA at (607) 282-4087.

About OCCA

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 will be holding a highway cleanup along State Route 80 on Saturday, October 22 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The cleanup is part of New York State’s Adopt-A-Highway program. OCCA adopted this portion of the road in 2013. Volunteers will meet at OCCA’s office at Mohican Farm, at the corner of Route 80 and Allen Lake Road, and will collect trash along a two-mile stretch of the road.

Bags, water, and safety equipment are provided. Participants should wear long pants and sturdy shoes, and dress appropriately for the weather.

If interested in participating, contact Jeff O’Handley at (607) 547-4488, or at programdirector@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, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org