ECO-BULLETIN Vol. 14, No. 8 – Aug 1, 2020

Announcements

This months Eco-Bulletin is jam packed full of great opportunities to join the OCCA Community out and about in a safe, social distance manner or from the comfort and safety of your own home with one of our many online learning sessions.  We hope you enjoy and looking forward to seeing you soon!-Amy and the rest of the OCCA Team

Paddle and Pull: Goodyear Lake 
Saturday, August 1, 9-11:30am; 12:30-2pm & Sunday, August 9, 1-4pm 

Join us as we continue our efforts to eliminate invasive water chestnut at Goodyear Lake. Two shifts available (9-11:30am, 12:30-3:00pm). You may bring your own canoe or kayak. Due to the situation with COVID-19, we require that you register with a member of your household if you need an OCCA-supplied canoe. Please use this form to register; include the names of people who will be joining you and select your time slot. Bring water, sunscreen and a hat, and dress to get wet and/or muddy. Cloth face coverings are required. Meet at the Portlandville Fishing Access Site on State Highway 28, just south of County Route 35A in Portlandville.  

Heat Pump Stories 
Wednesday, August 12, 12-12:45pm 

“Heat pumps don’t work here,” some say. That’s not true. What didn’t work was 40-year old technology and/or poorly designed ground loops. Join Heat Smart Otsego Campaign Director, Bennett Sandler, for this lunch-time webinar showcasing real world data from heat pumps installed in Otsego County. Learn how cold climate Air Source Heat Pumps and Ground Source Heat Pumps (aka, Geothermal) save you money, add comfort and safety to your home, and trade imported fossil fuels for local energy. Email Bennett at campaigndirector@occainfo.org to register for this free program. 

Spotlight on Invasives: Knot Your Typical Weed 
Wednesday, August 12, 2-3pm 

Japanese knotweed is one of the most invasive plants in our area, capable of quickly taking over roadsides, streambanks, backyards—even piles of bare dirt. Learn about this plant’s natural history and why it seems so well-suited to grow seemingly everywhere, and then we’ll examine some of the methods we can use to control it. Register for this free Zoom program by following this link.

Paddle and Pull: Silver Lake 
Sunday, August 16, 1-4pm 

Join us for a pleasant (but socially-distanced) day of controlling high priority invasive species at a 40-acre lake in western Otsego County. 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 by Friday, August 14. Use the form at https://occainfo.org/calendar/paddle-and-pull-silver-lake-4/ to register. 

Heat Pump Incentives Explained 
Wednesday, August 19, 12-12:45pm 

Utility rebates, federal tax credits, Assisted Home Performance grants, NYSERDA loans: There are some of the ways to help reduce the cost of a heat pump installation in your home. Don’t be discouraged by the upfront costs for a heat pump without looking at all the incentives and without understanding how much money they save over fossil fuel systems (while adding cooling). To register for this free, online program, email Bennett Sandler at campaigndirector@occainfo.org . 

The Comprehensive Plan: Laying the Groundwork for a Vibrant Future 
Wednesday, August 19, 1pm 

Comprehensive Plans are living, breathing documents which can reflect on a town’s past while helping shape its future. Join OCCA Environmental Planner, Danny Lapin, AICP, to learn what a Comprehensive Plan is and how it can be used to create a strong town. Sign up for this free Zoom program here. 

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.

 

Going Solar… without the cost!  
Wednesday, August 26, 6-7 pm 

Jackie Burke from Delaware River Solar will present the benefits of joining a Community Shared Solar Farm that locally produces clean, renewable energy.  The average residence annually spews tons of global warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Utility companies generate approximately 81% of their power from fossil fuels or nuclear power. Fracked natural gas which introduces toxic chemicals into the earth, releases global warming methane, and pollutes both air and groundwater is the largest component used to generate the utility’s electricity. Community Solar puts Clean, Renewable electricity directly into the grid that benefits the community.  Come learn more about this free program that will save you money, help you go greener and earn you a $100 VISA Gift Card for enrolling.  Sign up for this Free program here. 

Upper Susquehanna Virtual Forum is still going strong for the month of August and into September!

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 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:  
For more information about the upcoming sessions visit: http://www.uppersusquehanna.org/usc/watershed-wednesdays/

To join the Wednesday 9:30 sessions, just click on the link below:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87453133125

Save the Date! Butternut Creek Paddle 
Sunday, September 27, 1-4pm 

Led by OCCA and the Butternut Valley Alliance, this 4-mile trek follows the twists and turns of one of our most scenic waterways! You may bring your own canoe, kayak or standup paddleboard, or register with a member of your household to borrow on of OCCA’s canoes. Space is limited, sign up for this free program at by emailing our program director, Jeff O’Handley at programdirector@occainfo.org.

Watch Your Pool for Invasive Species! 

Late summer is the time of year when the adult Asian longhorned beetles (ALB) are most active. These large beetles are capable of causing severe damage to a number of native tree species, including elms, maples and… The Department of Environmental Conservation asks pool owners to periodically check their filters for ALB. For details on what to look for and how to report ALB, visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/110851.html. The good news? In New York, ALB has not been found outside of the Long Island/New York City region—let’s hope it stays that way! 

In Case You Missed It 

While we haven’t been able to meet or provide programs the way we prefer to, face-to-face, OCCA has been busy! For web-based programs on Invasive Species, Heat Smart Otsego, and the SEQR process, visit our YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7nPlzDtvc3fxBTKBxV-MUg. We’ll be adding more content, as well. Subscribe to get notifications of new postings. 

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 http://occainfo.org/2018-garage-sale-items/ to see what we currently have! 

Think Different: Looking from someone else’s viewpoint.

Addressing Discriminatory Housing Policies  

Continuing in our efforts to educate ourselves and our extended OCCA family about the importance of diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice in the work we do, we wanted to take a moment to share a great article from Strong Towns regarding discriminatory housing policies such as redlining.  

In the 1930s government surveyors graded neighborhoods in over 200 cities coloring neighborhoods blue for “desirable,” yellow for “somewhat desirable,” and red for undesirable. Neighborhoods with the “red” designation were largely populated by minority and/or immigrant populations. People living in these neighborhoods found it nearly impossible to obtain housing loans thus setting the stage for the persistent racial wealth gap we face today.  

The article from Strong Towns “How the Government Segregated America’s Cities by Design” highlights the work of author Richard Rothstein and his book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of how our Government Segregated America. Rothstein provides an in-depth explanation of how discriminatory housing policies shaped many of our American cities.  

The article also includes an interview Rothstein performed titled “Segregated by Design” which distills many of the concepts described in the “Color of Law.” Please follow this link to learn more: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2019/9/26/how-the-government-segregated-americas-cities-by-design 
Also our partner organization, the Choose Clean Water Coalition is hosting an interesting webinar on current effects of redlining:  

Redlining’s Intensifying Harm: Rising Temperatures, Hotter Neighborhoods, and How Trees Can Help 
Wednesday, August 12, 2020 | 1:00 – 2:15pm ET    

Many are now well aware of the inequitable distribution of trees in our urban areas. Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities often face the greatest burden of heat, air pollution, and flooding – all of which urban greening can help to mitigate. These inequitable patterns and the related persistent disparities in human health are an enduring legacy of various forms of housing segregation, which were officially legal through the late 1960s. In this presentation, Dr. Vivek Shandas will provide a summary of one pernicious and federally-sponsored urban planning policy officially begun in the 1930s — redlining — and the current day implications on the distribution of tree canopy, extreme urban heat, and the quality of life for those historically underserved communities. Cate Mingoya will discuss the Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership and how residents are working to intervene in municipal planning systems to ensure a more equitable distribution of climate mitigation resources.  

Please use the information below to connect to the webinar: 

1. FIRST TIME USERS: MAKE SURE YOU CAN CONNECT 
If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before, test your connection before the webinar. Go to:https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm  

2.  CONNECT TO THE WEBINAR ON YOUR SYSTEM 
 Go to:  https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/ucf/  

3. AUDIO 
Broadcast audio through your computer or use the information below to connect via telephone conferencing:    
Toll-free: 1-888-251-2949 or 1-215-861-0694 
Participant code:2419034## 

OCCA 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