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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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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.

(COOPERSTOWN)—Water chestnut and Japanese knotweed are being targeted by the Otsego County Conservation Association in two separate events as part of the fourth annual New York State Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW).

On July 9, OCCA will host a “Paddle and Pull” on Goodyear Lake in search of water chestnut (Trapa natans), an invasive plant from eastern Europe. Participants will meet at the New York State Fishing Access Site on Route 28 in Portlandville and head out into the ‘Stump Lot,’ the northernmost portion of the Lake. Any water chestnut plants found will be pulled by hand and composted. The event takes place from 1 to 3 p.m.

“Ten years ago, water chestnut covered several acres of the Stump Lot,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “Through the diligence of many volunteers, we’ve been able to reduce its population significantly.”

The plant forms floating mats of vegetation that shades out native plants. In late summer, it produces a nut with sharp spines that can cause injury if stepped on.

“If you want a guaranteed spot in one of our canoes, we need to hear from you in advance,” O’Handley said. “You could also meet us there with your own canoe or kayak.”

On July 11, OCCA will be “Digging Knotweed” from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Mohican Farm in Springfield. Japanese knotweed grows in dense clumps and spreads rapidly, crowding out native vegetation.

“We’re hoping to find ways to control and eradicate this plant that doesn’t require herbicide,” said O’Handley.

Volunteers will spend the time cutting down knotweed plants, and digging roots out of the soil. All plant parts will be bagged and dried prior to disposal. Volunteers should bring their own gardening gloves and hand shovels or grubbing tools. Participants will meet at OCCA’s Mohican Farm office at 7207 State Highway 80 (corner of Allen Lake Road and Route 80) and walk across the street to the project site.

The mission of Invasive Species Awareness Week 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 help stop the spread.

Invasive species are organisms that are not native to an area and cause or are likely to cause harm to the environment, the economy, or human health. It is estimated that invasive species cost the United States more than $120 billion in damage each year.

Participation in either event is free, but pre-registration is requested. To sign up for either event, either call O’Handley at (607) 282-4087, or use OCCA’s online program registration page (http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/).

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.

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Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee
967 County Highway 33, Cooperstown, NY 13326
(607) 547-8778

For Immediate Release

Lakes Festival to be held at Glimmerglass State Park

COOPERSTOWN– The 9th Otsego Lakes Festival will be held in Glimmerglass State Park in Springfield onSaturday, June 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s event is being coordinated with the Clark Sports Center’s 4th Annual “Race the Lake” marathon and half-marathon around Otsego Lake, which ends in the park.

Organized under the umbrella of the Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee, the Otsego Lakes Festival celebrates the value of our lakes, rivers, streams and ponds, and is an opportunity for visitors to learn about the many organizations in Otsego County working to protect these important resources. WQCC members will be on hand to distribute information and literature, discuss water quality issues one on one, and provide an overview of the various programs offered to help ensure the continued well-being of our water resources.

Activities this year include free paddle board demonstrations and lessons by Canoe & Kayak Rentals and Sales of Portlandville, “touch tanks” featuring live fish, plants and aquatic invertebrates found in Otsego Lake, offered by SUNY-Oneonta Biological Field Station and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, adventure activities by the Clark Sports Center, and a guided nature walk in the park. A DJ will provide music throughout the day, and there will be food and beer sampling from local vendors. Admission to Otsego Lakes Festival is free; a special event parking pass for the festival is available on the OCCA website.

Exhibitors, vendors, and sponsors are still needed. Confirmed exhibitors and vendors at the Otsego Lakes Festival thus far include Otsego County Conservation Association, Otsego Soil and Water Conservation District, Otsego Lake Association, Otsego Land Trust, SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station, Canoe & Kayak Rentals and Sales, and the Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited. For information on how to sponsor or exhibit/vend at the event, visit http://occainfo.org/otsego-lakes-festival/.

For more about the Otsego Lakes Festival, or for further details on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti at (607) 547-4488.

For information on Race the Lake, including how to register, contact Event Director Doug McCoy at the Clark Sports Center, (607) 547-2800, ext. 111.

The Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee 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. The Otsego Lakes Festival is designed to educate the public on the importance of water resource protection.

The Clark Sports Center opened in 1891 as the Alfred Corning Clark Gymnasium. In 1983, The Clark Foundation announced its intention to build a larger facility. The community’s growth and the need for modernized facilities dictated a much larger building. With the dedication on October 5, 1986, the new ACG Gymnasium opened on Susquehanna Avenue. In June of 1994, the ACG Gymnasium was renamed The Clark Sports Center. In 2015, the Sports Center began a renovation and expansion project adding 56,000 square feet to the existing building. The new facility will open on June 17, 2017.

It is the primary mission of The Clark Sports Center to take an active role in the health, fitness, recreational and educational life of the Village of Cooperstown and its surrounding area. Specific objectives include safe, high quality youth, adult, and family programming as well as outreach programs aimed at addressing the needs of the underserved local populations.

The Otsego County Conservation Association will be hosting an early morning bird walk, led by Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society co-president Becky Gretton, at Mohican Farm in Springfield on Saturday, May 13, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

“Mohican Farm has woods, fields, gardens and wetlands,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “As a result, it has a nice variety of birds. And Becky is really good at finding them.”

Participants should bring binoculars, a field guide, and should dress for the weather. The program begins at OCCA’s Mohican Farm office, 7207 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, at 7 a.m. Space is limited. To attend, either call OCCA at (607) 547-4488 or register at http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/.

Founded in 1968, 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

The Otsego County Conservation Association/Mohican Farm Be Informed Lecture Series continues with a talk and demonstration on Integrated Pest Management for homeowners on Wednesday, May 17 at Mohican Farm in Springfield. The program begins at 6:30 p.m.

“Integrated Pest Management for the Home Greenhouse and Garden” focuses on how the casual gardener can reduce damage from a variety of garden pests. The program, led by Bob Sutherland, manager of The Clark Foundation’s Mohican Farm, will include a lecture and Powerpoint presentation, along with a visit to Mohican Farm’s greenhouse to see some of the techniques put into action.

“For many gardeners, pest management is reactive,” said Sutherland. “People see a problem and react, usually with pesticides. Integrated Pest Management is proactive, and relies much more on prevention.”

Prior to joining The Clark Foundation, Sutherland was an instructor at the Plant Science Department at SUNY Cobleskill. Under his management, Mohican Farm has become a leader in The Clark Foundation’s sustainability efforts.

The Be Informed Lecture Series is a partnership between OCCA and Mohican Farm. The series kicked off in February with a presentation on Climate Smart Communities. The program, which takes place in the workshop at Mohican Farm, 7207 State Highway 80, Springfield, is free, but space is limited. Those interested in attending should pre-register by visiting http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/ or by calling (607) 547-4488.

Founded in 1968, 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 public is invited to the dedication of the Carl B. Good Boat Wash Station on Fish Road in Lakefront Park in Cooperstown on Friday, May 12. The dedication will take place at 5 p.m. at the station. Speakers at this brief ceremony and plaque unveiling will include representatives from the Village of Cooperstown, the Otsego Lake Association, and Otsego County Conservation Association.

Good, who passed away in March of 2016, moved to Cooperstown in 2002 with his wife, Pam. He became immediately involved, giving countless hours to the Village he loved by attending public meetings, joining multiple organizations, and serving on many committees and boards.  Good was especially known for his devotion to Otsego Lake. A long-time board member of the Otsego Lake Association, Good was active on many of OLA’s committees over the years, and was especially concerned with the impact of aquatic invasive species, serving as volunteer supervisor for the boat inspection program at the Village boat launch for more than a decade. Good’s oversight and stewardship of Lake Otsego also included service on Village and regional lake committees. In recognition of Good’s many years of dedication to Otsego Lake and its water quality, the station will be named in his honor.

The boat wash station will help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive plants and animals into or out of Otsego Lake. It was completed in late summer of 2016, with funding and support from the Village of Cooperstown, the Otsego Lake Association, OCCA, and by a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Invasive Species Spread Prevention Grants Program through appropriations from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), will be named in honor of Carl for his years of dedication to Otsego Lake.

COOPERSTOWN—Farmers will have two opportunities to drop off their agricultural plastic for recycling under a special program offered by Otsego County Solid Waste Department, the Otsego County Soil & Water Conservation District, Otsego County Conservation Association, and Casella Waste Solutions. Ag plastic will be collected Saturday, May 6, at the Southern Transfer Station in Oneonta, and Thursday, May 11 at the Northern Transfer Station in Cooperstown, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. both days. Acceptable material include bale wrap, silage bags, bunker cover, greenhouse covers, and wood pellet bags. Material must be sorted by type, and should be relatively clean and dry. The collection is free, but pre-registration is requested. For questions or to register, contact Jeff O’Handley at OCCA, (607)282-4087.

The Otsego County Conservation Association’s annual “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” Garage Sale will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30 in the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market building at 101 Main Street (in Pioneer Alley), Cooperstown. Sale hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days. Unsold items will be available for free on Monday, May 1 from10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

OCCA will be accepting donations of items for the garage sale April 26 and 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Friday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Farmers’ Market building. All donations are tax deductible; OCCA will provide a donation voucher upon request.

Now in its 15th year, the OCCA Garage Sale offers hundreds of items for sale at great prices, including clothes, books, sporting goods, housewares, furniture and more. In addition to raising funds for OCCA’s countywide environmental programs and initiatives, the garage sale benefits the environment through source reduction. Those with questions, or who would like more information about donations or volunteering to assist with the event, should call OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti at (607) 547-4488 or e-mail director@occainfo.org for further details.

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.