Our Environment. Our Home. OUR CHALLENGE.

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Otsego County Conservation Association is hosting a series of events focused on raising awareness of and controlling invasive species as part of New York State’s sixth annual Invasive Species Awareness week.

Invasive species are organisms that are not native to the region and cause harm to the environment, the economy, and/or human health. Invasive species cost the United States more than $120 billion in damage and control costs each year.

“OCCA has been involved in invasive species management and education for many years,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director. “It’s important for people to have an understanding of the impact these species can have on our environment, and what they can do to help.”

Invasive Species Awareness Week runs from July 7-13. OCCA kicks off the week with a “Paddle and Pull” volunteer event at Goodyear Lake. Volunteers will search the upper portion of the lake, known as the Stump Lot, for water chestnut, an invasive aquatic plant. Any water chestnuts found will be removed by hand and composted.

On Tuesday, July 9, OCCA hosts “Spotting the Lanternfly: Early Detection for our Newest Invader.” Dan Snider, field projects manager for the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP), will provide an overview of the life history of the spotted lanternfly, an insect that has the capacity to cause serious environmental and economic damage, as well as how to help prevent the spread of this pest. The workshop should be of interest to landowners, land managers, and anyone interested in helping prevent the spread of invasive species. It will be held at Mohican Farm from 6 – 8pm.

Japanese knotweed is in the spotlight on Wednesday, July 10 at OCCA’s second “Chop and Cheese” event. Volunteers will help cut down a stand of Japanese knotweed, then enjoy snacks overlooking Otsego Lake. Volunteers can bring work gloves, hand pruners or loppers, and a preferred beverage. This event runs from 6 to 8pm.

OCCA wraps up Invasive Species Awareness Week on Saturday, July 13 with the “Invasive Species Teach-In” at Wilber Park, Oneonta from 11am-3pm. The event will include educational displays, activities and a walk. People can also bring samples of plants for identification. The event runs from 11am-3pm at the large pavilion.

All events are free and open to the public. For the “Paddle and Pull,” a limited number of spaces are available in an OCCA canoe, provided volunteers pre-register at occainfo.org/signup/. Additional information is available at occainfo.org or by calling Jeff O’Handley at (607) 547-4488.

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.

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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