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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




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.