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Otsego County Conservation Association is seeking volunteers to help hand pull water chestnut plants at Silver Lake Sanctuary in New Berlin, on Friday, June 22 from 10am to 1pm.

“We’ll be working with volunteers who are developing Silver Lake Sanctuary along with members of the Silver Lake Swimming Club to remove the water chestnut,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “We’re trying to help restore this lake and to keep water chestnut from spreading to other water bodies.”

An invasive aquatic plant from eastern Europe introduced into the United States in the mid-1800s, water chestnut forms rosettes of leaves that float on the water’s surface. Left uncontrolled, the rosettes block sunlight and crowd out native vegetation. In late summer, the plant develops spiny nuts that fall to the bottom and can potentially cause injury to swimmers.

Canoes and kayaks will be provided by OCCA, the lake’s owners and local residents. No other outside watercraft will be allowed.

“Invasive species are frequently transported by improperly cleaned watercraft,” O’Handley said. “The lake owners are trying to prevent invasive species from coming in to or going out of the lake.”

The plants will be pulled out of the lake by hand, then dried and composted. Lunch will be provided.

“We have a limited amount of space in our canoes, so anyone interested in volunteering should sign up soon,” O’Handley said. “This also lets us know how many to expect for lunch.”

Silver Lake Sanctuary is a 40-acre lake, wetland and riparian forest on the western edge of Otsego County. Volunteers are developing a trail system and seeking to improve the property for wildlife.

Volunteers can sign up at occainfo.org or by calling OCCA at (607) 282-4087.

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

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(COOPERSTOWN)—Otsego County Conservation Association has released its schedule of public programs and volunteer opportunities for the month of June:

Saturday, June 9, 8am: Highway cleanup, Springfield. OCCA adopted a 2-mile portion of State Highway 80 as part of New York State’s Adopt-A-Highway program. Meet at OCCA at 8am, have an enjoyable walk, and help keep our road clean! After, enjoy a free coffee and a muffin at Sunflower Café. Wear long pants and sturdy shoes. Safety equipment, bags and gloves provided.

Friday, June 22, 10am: Water chestnut control at Silver Lake. Water chestnut is a highly-invasive plant that can take over shallow lakes and ponds. Volunteers are needed to help pull water chestnut at Silver Lake in New Berlin. Canoes and lunch will be provided.

Wednesday, June 27, 10am-11:30am: Get the Kids Out, Nature Identification. Kids of all ages are welcome to this program in Wilber Park, Oneonta. Explore different habitats in the park, learn about the plants and animals that live there, and use a journal to record observations. Meet at the lower parking lot at the Spruce Street entrance.

Saturday, June 30, 10am: Butternut Creek paddle. Join OCCA and the Butternut Valley Alliance for a relaxing and informative paddle through forests and valleys. This 4+mile paddle departs at the Bailey Road Bridge in Morris and ends at County Road 8 in Gilbertsville. Bring your own canoe or kayak, or reserve space in an OCCA canoe. Bring lunch and water.

All programs are free. Pre-registration is required for water based programs. Visit occainfo.org or call (607) 547-4488 for 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, visitwww.occainfo.org.

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Local business leaders are invited to a stakeholder meeting on Thursday, May 17, 2018 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Schenevus VFW, 16 Main Street, Schenevus. The Town of Maryland Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee is seeking input on important issues facing the business community.

The Town of Maryland is currently updating its 2008 Comprehensive Plan. When complete, the Comprehensive Plan will outline a vision for the Town’s future as well as a set of specific goals and objectives. As part of this planning process, the Town is working with its Steering Committee and planning consultant, the Otsego County Conservation Association.

“Obtaining input from the public is a critical component of the Comprehensive Planning process; the more information we receive from the business community, the better,” said Danny Lapin, environmental planner with the Otsego County Conservation Association.

“The information we receive from town business owners will provide the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee with useful information as we begin to develop the plan and develop a list of objectives,” said Stephen Barton, chairman of the Town of Maryland’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. The Plan, which is scheduled to be completed in early 2019, will help identify challenges and opportunities facing the Town of Maryland, shape the its growth, and enhance the quality of life in the Town.

The Stakeholder Meeting will include a brief presentation on the current status of the Plan Update, a discussion on how the Comprehensive Plan could benefit the business community, and an opportunity for additional discussion.

For more information, please visit the Town of Maryland’s website http://www.marylandny.org or contact the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee via email at sbarton312@gmail.com. The Committee’s outreach process will continue this fall with a third Public Workshop, details of which will be announced on Facebook and the Town’s website, in the coming weeks.

(SPRINGFIELD) – Becky Gretton, co-president of Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, will lead a bird walk at Mohican Farm in Springfield on Saturday, May 12 at 7 a.m. The program is part of Otsego County Conservation Association’s 2018 Nature Walk Series.

“A lot of birds have been returning to the area over the last few weeks,” said OCCA Program Director, Jeff O’Handley. “This is an exciting time of year to go birding.”

The 135-acre property, owned and managed by The Clark Foundation, includes cultivated fields, woods, wetlands, gardens, and shoreline.

“Becky is a skilled birder and an excellent trip leader,” O’Handley said. “We’re looking forward to a great morning.”

Participants should bring their own binoculars and field guide. The program is free, but space is limited and pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, visit http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form or call OCCA at (607) 547-4488.

Founded in 1968, Otsego County Conservation Association 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—Farmers will have two opportunities to drop off used agricultural film 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. Collection dates are Thursday, May 10, at the Northern Transfer Station in Cooperstown, and Saturday, May 12, at the Southern Transfer Station in Oneonta. Plastic may be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. both days. Acceptable material includes 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, or visit http://occainfo.org/recycling-agricultural-plastics/.

Otsego County Conservation Association’s annual Earth Festival returns this Saturday with vendors and exhibitors, recycling opportunities, Spring Garden Day, yoga, a bird walk, clothing swap, pre-Festival movie night and more. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Milford Central School.

Now in its thirteenth year, Earth Festival is an environmentally-focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, activities, vendors and entertainment. This year includes three pre-festival events. Earth Festival Movie Night, sponsored by Otsego 2000 and Glimmerglass Film Days, features Landfill Harmonic, an inspiring, family-friendly film that follows “The Recycled Orchestra” of Paraguay, who create all their instruments from trash. The movie will be shown on Friday, April 20, at 7 p.m. at the Herbert B. Garman, Jr. Performing Arts Center at Milford Central School, and is free.

On Saturday, April 21, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society leads a pre-festival bird walk. Meet at the main school parking lot at 9 a.m. and carpool to a nearby area in search of birds. Participants will return to the school in time for the official 11a.m. opening of the Earth Festival exhibitor and vendor fair. In addition to the bird walk, the Otsego Regional Cycling Advocates (ORCA) is hosting a bicycle safety class from 9am to 1pm.  If interested, visit the Otsego 2000 website to register.

“We have a really great combination of returning favorites and new exhibitors this year,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director.

Confirmed exhibitors and vendors include OCCA, the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market, Ideuma Creek Alpacas, Casella Waste Systems, Ariginal Art and the Leather Stocking Bee Keepers Association. A full list can be found at www.occainfo.org/earth-festival. Food vendors include Origins Café and Tickled Pink Barbecue.

The Master Gardener Volunteers of Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties will be hosting Spring Garden Day in conjunction with Earth Festival. Spring Garden Day is a day devoted to gardening and growing environments, with workshops on a variety of gardening topics built around the theme of “Try Something New.” Workshop topics include gardening with native plants, growing shiitake mushrooms, and herb gardens. Pre-registration and a $10 fee are required for Spring Garden Day workshops. Contact Cornell Cooperative Extension at (607) 547-2536, extension 0 for information or to register.

Recycling is always an important part of Earth Festival. The OCCA Recycling Committee is again offering special recycling opportunities for Styrofoam (clean and white only, including rigid foam, egg cartons, and clean takeout food containers, but not meat trays); tennis balls; inkjet cartridges and small, handheld electronics such as cellphones; pens and markers; dental care items (used toothpaste tubes, dental floss and dental tape containers and packaging, used toothbrushes and packaging); natural wine corks; monofilament fishing line. In addition, the Lions Club of Cooperstown will be collecting eyeglasses, and Hopeful Hearts will be collecting used tubes from toilet paper and paper towel rolls, windowed envelopes, and Wal-Mart bags. Empire Recycling’s Confidata Shredding Truck will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide free document shredding to individuals (5 boxes, maximum).

New this year is the Earth Festival Community Clothing Swap. Lightly-worn clothing and shoes for all ages and genders will be on display in the school cafeteria. Anyone can take what they need, whether they donate to the swap or not.

“The clothing swap enables us to help people find new homes for their gently-used goods, and to find good quality clothes for themselves and their families,” said volunteer Angelica Palmer, who is running the swap.

Clothing can be dropped off at the school from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 20, or between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. during Earth Festival. The Community Clothing Swap will be open for browsing throughout the event.

Returning after a short hiatus is the Recycled Fashion Show at 2 p.m. Open to all, the Fashion Show seeks to incorporate used items into articles of clothing. To enter, bring your recycled fashion to the auditorium at 1:30 p.m. Recycled fashions can also be entered into the EcoArt display and contest. This popular feature challenges participants to find new life for old items. Entries can be artistic, useful, or both.

Yoga Big and Small will be held in the small gym at 1:30 p.m. Led by local, certified instructors Katherine Walters, of Love Your Life Yoga & Community in Milford, and Karla Andela, the session will be for children and adults, no experience necessary. Mats will be provided. Yoga is free, though pre-registration is appreciated. Pre-register using the form at http://occainfo.org/calendar/earth-festival-2017/.

For a full schedule of activities, vendors, and recycling list, visit http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/.

Earth Festival 2018 is presented by Otsego County Conservation Association, with support from Five Star Subaru, Central New York Tent Rentals, Otsego 2000 and Cooperstown Natural Foods. For further information, visit www.occainfo.org, call (607) 547-4488, or e-mail director@occainfo.org.

Founded in 1968, Otsego County Conservation Association is dedicated to promoting the 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’s annual Earth Festival will feature a variety of activities for all ages, event organizers said.

“We’ve always tried to provide valuable, interactive learning experiences as part of Earth Festival,” said Jeff O’Handley, program director for Otsego County Conservation Association, who has been part of the event since its inception in 2006. “In addition to the vendor and exhibitor fair, the workshops put on as part of Spring Garden Day add tremendous value to the event.”

Organized by the Master Gardener Volunteers Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, Spring Garden Day is a day devoted to gardening and growing environments. Four workshops are offered in two concurrent sessions; in between, attendees will be free to walk around the exhibit area and learn about the many environmental products and services that are offered in the Otsego County region. There is a $10 registration fee for Spring Garden Day, due by April 16. Please visit http://cceschoharie-otsego.org/events/2018/04/21/spring-garden-day-2018 for specific information on Spring Garden Day.

Earth Festival will also feature a number of other activities. Back for its second year, Earth Festival movie night features the family friendly film, Landfill Harmonic, the inspiring story of a children’s orchestra using homemade instruments made from trash. Sponsored by Otsego 2000 and Glimmerglass Film Days, the movie is Friday, April 20 at 7pm, at Milford Central School, and is free.

On the day of Earth Festival, the traditional pre-Festival bird walk, led by Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, departs from the school parking lot at 9am sharp. Participants will carpool a short distance to a good birding location, to be determined that morning. Bring binoculars and dress for the weather. Birders will be back at the school in time for the start of Earth Festival at 11am.

Other planned activities include a presentation on solid waste and recycling by OCCA at 12:15 in the auditorium; a demonstration of stream monitoring techniques employed by Milford Central School students as part of OCCA’s Citizen Science Monitoring program; Bicycling Skills 123, a special class sponsored by New York Central Mutual Insurance and requiring pre-registration; yoga for kids and adults; and a mattress deconstruction demonstration. And there is the exhibitor and vendor fair, recycling activities, EcoArt Challenge, and, returning again, the Going Green Fashion Show.

“It’s going to be a full day,” O’Handley said. “Be ready to have fun, and learn a lot.”

Earth Festival is an environmentally focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist. Earth Festival will take place onSaturday, April 21, 2018, from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School. Sponsorship and exhibitor/vendor opportunities are still available. Visit http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/ for details, or 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, planning, and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.

The 14th Annual Earth Festival is fast approaching. In keeping with this year’s theme of recycling, organizers are once again providing opportunities for attendees to recycle hard to get rid of items.

“Recycling has been a part of Earth Festival since the very beginning,” said Martha Clarvoe, chair of OCCA’s recycling committee and a member of the Earth Festival planning committee. “Otsego County has a very good recycling program, but we’re happy to provide alternatives for items that aren’t part of the regular program.”

The following items will be accepted for recycling: clean, white expanded polystyrene foam (Styrofoam), including rigid packing material, egg cartons, coolers, peanuts and takeout food containers. Only white Styrofoam is accepted, and all material must be clean and dry, with all leftover food, tape, and adhesive labels removed.

Also being accepted this year are non-working Christmas lights; toilet and paper towel tubes; window envelopes; used fishing line (no hooks, sinkers, bobbers or reels, please); natural cork; tennis balls; used writing implements (pens, markers, mechanical pencils) dental care items (used toothbrushes and packaging, empty toothpaste tubes, empty dental floss and dental tape containers and packaging); and inkjet cartridges (No toner cartridges, please; check toner packaging for mail-in recycling options or contact OfficeMax or other supply stores), cell phones and chargers, tablets, and other small, handheld electronics.

The Confidata shredding truck will also provide free shredding of personal documents from 11am to 2pm. There is a five box per person limit.

“People really love this service,” Clarvoe said. “Last year, 4300 pounds was shredded, a new Earth Festival record.”

Collection points will be set up both inside and outside the Earth Festival event, which takes place on Saturday, April 21, from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School. The OCCA Recycling Committee will also have educational displays about recycling, including using “How Do I Get Rid Of…?”, a searchable page on how to dispose of various items once they’re ready to be disposed of, and a display on the bag and film plastic collection program.

“It’s going to be a very busy day,” Clarvoe said. “Anyone who wants to volunteer should contact me at martha.clarvoe@gmail.com.”

Also in keeping with the Recycling theme, back this year at Earth Festival is the EcoArt contest. EcoArt challenges contestants with creating something practical or artistic out of items that have outlived their original purpose. The contest is free to enter.

“The level of creativity displayed by past entrants is amazing,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director. “I can’t wait to see what this year brings.”

EcoArt is being overseen by The Community Arts Network of Oneonta (CANO). There will be three age categories: Child (ages 5-11 years), Youth (12-17), and Adult (17 and up). Entry forms are available at http://occainfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-EcoArt-Entry-Form.pdf. All entries must be original, and can be brought to Earth Festival on Saturday, April 21 between9:30 and 11am. Prizes will be awarded in each age category. Winners will be announced at the end of the event.

An environmentally focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist, Earth Festival will take place on Saturday, April 21, 2018, from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School. Sponsorship and exhibitor/vendor opportunities are still available. Visit http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/ for details, or contact OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti at (607) 547-4488.

Founded in 1968, Otsego County Conservation Association 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 or to donate, visit occainfo.org.

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The Otsego Regional Cycling Advocates (ORCA) is hosting a bicycling skills class, geared mainly for youth, but appropriate for adults as well. The class will be on Saturday, April 21st, 9am – 1pm and will be offered at the Milford Central School, 42 West Main Street in Milford, NY as part of the 14th annual Earth Festival.

The class will follow the “Bicycling Skills 123” curriculum established by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) and will be taught by local League-Certified instructor, David Wells. Both classroom time and time on bikes are included in this course. Snacks will be provided during a scheduled break.

Prior registration is required by April 13th. Cost of the class is a suggested $30 donation per registered participant and the maximum number of participants will be limited to 15. Participants younger than 14 years must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Each participant must provide their own working bicycle and helmet. A rain date make-up class is scheduled for May 11th at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown.

A variety of prizes and giveaways will be provided by our event sponsor NYCM Insurance www.nycm.com.

You may register online at www.otsegooutdoors.org or by mailing the registration form and check to Otsego 2000, PO Box 1130, Cooperstown, NY  13326. For any questions, please contact Martha Clarvoe at 607-293-6654.

Otsego Regional Cycling Advocates, a subcommittee of Otsego 2000, is a bicycling advocacy group that promotes cycling as an enjoyable, healthy, safe, environmentally-friendly activity for people of all ages and abilities in Otsego and surrounding counties

Earth Festival is an environmentally focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earth-friendly twist. Earth Festival will take place onSaturday, April 21, 2018, from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School. Sponsorship and exhibitor/vendor opportunities are still available. Visit http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/ for details, or 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, planning, and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.

Steve Kent leads a snowshoe hike to Mud Lake at Robert V. Riddell State Park on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at noon. Steve and his wife, Patricia Riddell Kent, donated the land for the state park in 2005. The walk is part of a series of hikes in outdoor areas sponsored by Otsego County Conservation Association. Participants should dress for the weather and bring their own snowshoes, water, and a snack. If there isn’t enough snow for snowshoes, the hike will proceed on foot.

Parking is on the east side of Gersoni Road, just south of Interstate 88, exit 17. Walkers will follow the trail up to Mud Lake, a pond and sphagnum bog at the top of South Hill, and return to the starting point. The hike is expected to take 3.5 hours and is free, though pre-registration is requested. Visit http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/ to sign up online, or contact Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director, at (607) 282-4087.