ECO-BULLETIN Vol 14, No 7 – July 1, 2020

Spotlight on Invasives: Not so Wild about Parsnip

Wednesday, July 8, 12-1pm 
Wild parsnip has been taking over our roadsides and fields, where it crowds out native plants and poses a threat to our health and safety. Join OCCA Program Director, Jeff O’Handley, for this look at parsnip: where it comes from, why it’s a threat, and methods you can use to try and get rid of it. Register here for this Zoom program. You will receive an email confirming your registration, along with details on how to join the call. 

Paddle and Pull: Silver Lake 

Saturday, July 18, 10am-1pm 

A lovely, 40-acre lake in western Otsego County, Silver Lake has a robust population of water chestnut (Trapa natans) and a growing amount of European frog-bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae), two high priority invasive species that need to be controlled. Join us for a socially-distanced day on the lake removing these invasives. OCCA will provide canoes–outside watercraft are not permitted. We ask that you register with a member of your household to reserve a place. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please use the form below to register. Include contact information and the names of people who will be joining with you. Upon registration, you will receive confirmation on our meeting location and what you need to bring. Registration deadline is Friday, July 17. Please sign up using the form at https://occainfo.org/calendar/paddle-and-pull-silver-lake-2-2020-07-18/2020-07-18/ 

Volunteers Needed! 

European frog-bit is a highly invasive aquatic plant that can disrupt our local ecosystems. Last year, a small population was discovered on Clarke Pond in Springfield. We’re seeking some hardy volunteers who don’t mind getting wet, muddy, and possibly a few leech bites to search for and remove this plant before it can spread to Otsego Lake or other water bodies. Training provided. Contact Jeff O’Handley at programdirector@occainfo.org for details or to volunteer.

Chop and Say, “Cheese” 

Though COVID-19 may be keeping us apart, the battle against invasive species must go on. Last year, we introduced ‘Chop and Cheese’, in which we spent some time chopping Japanese knotweed at Mohican Farm, then spent time enjoying cheese, crackers and other refreshments in the garden. This year, since we can’t share space or tools, we’re asking you to take pictures of yourself controlling invasive species on your property, then say “Cheese” and post a picture Facebook and tag us with #chopnsaycheese 

IMPORTANT: Please read and follow the guidelines for disposal of invasive species found here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/disposinginvasiveplantfs.pdf 

Cleanup on Highway 80!

Saturday, July 25, 9am-11am 

Want to get some exercise AND help the environment? Join us as we conduct a highway cleanup along a 2-mile section of State Route 80.  Safety gear (hardhat, vest, gloves) provided by New York State Department of Transportation. Pre-register by Wednesday, July 22 at https://occainfo.org/signup/

OCCA Online Garage Sale Ongoing 

If you’re in the midst of spring cleaning and you find yourself with good condition items that you no longer need, why not get them into the hands of someone who could use them? Donate them to the OCCA online garage sale and help support our efforts to protect Otsego County’s environment! Items should have a minimum value of $10. Please send photos and a description and dimension of the item(s) to occagaragesale@gmail.com. If you’re looking to buy, visit https://occainfo.org/2018-garage-sale-items/ to see what we currently have! 

Paid Internship Opportunity 

The Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) is seeking a qualified individual to serve as the organization’s NYSERDA Clean Energy Intern. The Intern would assist OCCA with the preparation and development of the Otsego County Community Energy Plan and with the marketing of the Heat Smart Otsego Campaign.  Qualified candidates must have an interest in Clean Energy, energy Planning, data management, digital marketing and outreach. The Internship is currently funded for a six-month period, 20 hours per week.  Please direct questions to OCCA Executive Director Amy Wyant at (607)547-4488 or director@occainfo.org.
See eligibility information and FAQ here 

Get Outside—Join the Great Otsego Outdoor Challenge! 

Otsego Outdoors, a collaborative effort amongst OCCA, Otsego2000, and the Otsego Land Trust, has partnered with LEAF to promote the Great Otsego Outdoor Challenge. Each week, a hiking or biking trail will be posted at https://www.facebook.com/OtsegoOutdoorChallenge/. Your mission: head out there with some family or friends, find the designated spot, and post a selfie. What a great way to explore our beautiful county! 

Something a little Different: Upper Susquehanna Virtual Forum

This year, OCCA and the Upper Susquehanna Coalition are excited to be offering a different take on the Upper Susquehanna Forum.  While many of us may have had our fill of video calls and lengthy sessions sitting in front of our computers, we decided that the forum would take the form of a series of micro-session series called “Watershed Wednesdays”.  Each Wednesday, starting July 8th, we will be collaboratively hosting a 9:30am presentation that highlights projects throughout the Susquehanna watershed, and includes open discussion and a chance to connect with others in the watershed. Best of all? Micro-sessions will be 30 minutes or less!  We know many of you need to be out in the field, join us in checking out this new program here:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87453133125?pwd=aE9KOGEzUEExTjJkRG5McGloZ2NCUT09

NEW: Think Different: Looking from someone else’s viewpoint.

New York City Audubon board member, Christian Cooper became a household name after experiencing a racist incident while birding in Central Park in May. Earlier this week, he discussed his passion for birds and birding, the incident in Central Park, and some of the difficulties that Black people face when trying to enjoy the outdoors. Please view the 40-minute interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfUeYx9L13Q. Cooper is asked specifically about the Central Park incident at 15:30, and the impact of Black Birders Week and the importance of inclusion for the future of conservation at 27:00. 

 

COVID19 Policy 

The staff and board of directors of Otsego County Conservation Association offer our heartfelt condolences to the members of our Otsego County family who have lost loved ones to or suffered from COVID-19. Though our region has been fortunate to see a small number of cases relative to other parts of the world, we take this disease seriously. The safety and health of our staff and all of our program participants is our top priority. Therefore, as we move forward with in-person programs in the coming weeks, we will adhere to current guidelines put forth by New York State. As of this publication, these are: 

*Program size will be limited to 10 people, staff included; 

*All participants must wear a mask during the program; 

*Participants must follow social distancing guidelines at all times; should a program be expected to require close contact among participants, this will be made clear in the program description 

*Participants must pre-register in order to attend; 

*All participants must provide OCCA with contact information (name, phone number, email) in order to participate.  

*For programs that take place on the water, you must bring your own watercraft (canoe, kayak, paddleboard) and personal flotation device. OCCA will not be providing canoes at this time. 

We apologize for any inconvenience these rules may cause; please understand this is in the interests of protecting all of us. Please note these guidelines will change as the situation here changes. We will post these guidelines at occainfo.org and update them regularly. Thank you for respecting each other, and for being part of the OCCA family.  

How You Can Help Protect Our Local Environment

Donations provide the foundation for our work throughout Otsego County. By becoming a supporter of OCCA, you become a part of a unique countywide environmental organization whose mission is to protect local natural resources for the benefit of all. 

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7207 State Highway 80, PO Box 931 • Cooperstown, NY  13326
(607) 547-4488