Our Environment.
Our Home.
OUR CHALLENGE.

  • 1

COOPERSTOWN–Reducing our solid waste footprint will be the subject of the next Otsego County Conservation Association/Mohican Farm Be Informed! Lecture Series on Tuesday, November 15 at Mohican Farm.

“The What, Why and How of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” will feature speakers Karey Foster of Casella Resource Solutions; Karen Sullivan, Director of Otsego County’s Department of Solid Waste and Recycling; and Bob Sutherland, Mohican Farm Manager. In addition to covering what can and can’t be recycled, the program will include tips on how to reduce solid waste overall through practices such as composting and reuse.

“Despite all the attention given to recycling, only about thirty-four percent of solid waste is recycled nationwide,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director. “We’re doing what we can to help improve that rate.”

“The What, Why and How of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” takes place on Wednesday, November 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the workshop at Mohican Farm, 7207 State Highway 80, Cooperstown. The program is free, though pre-registration is requested. Contact OCCA at (607) 547-4488 or via programdirector@occainfo.org for details.

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.

###

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.

###

 

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.

###

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.

###

 

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.

###

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.

###

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.