ECO-BULLETIN Vol. 14, No. 9 – September 1, 2020

Whats included in this months bulletin:

  • Heat Smart Otsego is expanding!
  • Spotlight on Invasives: Summer Summary
  • Naked Eye Astronomy
  • Butternut Creek Paddle 
  • Household Hazardous Waste: POSTPONED
  • Leatherstocking Golf Course
  • We are Hiring!
  • Civic Engagement as an environmental advocacy tool 
  • For Business Owners: Please lend your voice
  • And more!

-Amy and the rest of the OCCA Team

Official Launch of HeatSmart Mohawk Valley

Heat Smart Otsego is officially expanding! A collaborative project between OCCA and the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District (MVEDD), Heat Smart Mohawk Valley is a new combined community-based clean heating and cooling initiative to help residents and business owners in the Mohawk Valley lower their energy bills, improve comfort and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This grassroots program is designed to educate building owners about clean heating and cooling options, connect them with free and low-cost energy audit programs for their homes and businesses as well as no-cost community solar opportunities to both save money on their electric bill and procure clean, renewable energy.  We will be bringing all the great information of Heatsmart Otsego to the entire region!

Heat Smart Mohawk Valley will be holding a digital kickoff event on Wednesday, September 23, at 6pm. The event will include an appearance by Congressman Paul Tonko (Dist. 20) and Donovan Gordon, Program Director of Clean Heating and Cooling at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and an introduction to Heat Smart Mohawk Valley by Bennett Sandler, Campaign Director for HSMV. The program is free and open to the public and will take place via Zoom (Sign up here) Please share this information with your friends and neighbors.

Spotlight on Invasives: Summer Summary 

Wednesday, September 9, 12-12:45pm 

From monitoring to managing; surveying lakes to shooting video; on land, on water and in water, OCCA has very busy dealing with invasive species. This program will take us through OCCA’s year of invasive species projects, featuring key species such as European frog-bit, water chestnut, Japanese angelica tree and emerald ash borer. We’ll talk about what we’ve done and what we’ve learned, and what we hope to do going forward. Register here for this free Zoom program.  

Naked Eye Astronomy: The Autumn Sky 

Saturday, September 19, 8:30-9:30pm 

Can you find the North Star? How about Arcturus? Can you find constellations, like Cygnus the swan, Ursa Major, Draco, Pegasus or Andromeda? What about Jupiter and Saturn? All these celestial objects will be in the evening sky this autumn, and you can learn how to find them! Join OCCA Vice President, Jim Hill for a beginner’s guide to the autumn sky at Mohican Farm in Springfield. Bring blankets or a chair and dress warmly, as we will spend time outside, and the best viewing is often while lying on your back or sitting in a lawn chair. No telescopes; binoculars are optional but not necessary, this is naked eye astronomy, after all! PLEASE NOTE: This program is free, but pre-registration is required, as we are capping enrollment at 30. Cloth face coverings are required and social distancing will be observed. Restrooms will not be available at this program. Email programdirector@occainfo.org to register today!

Butternut Creek Paddle 

Sunday, September, 27, 1-4pm 

Join OCCA and our friends at the Butternut Valley Alliance for an easy-going, 4-mile paddle down the Butternut Creek. Take in the sights and sounds of one of our most beautiful waterways and learn about the plants, animals and history of this diverse region on this family friend event. You may bring your own canoe or kayak (please be sure to clean, drain and treat your watercraft prior to the event). OCCA has a limited number of canoes available for use, but we request you register with a member of your household. Use the registration form at https://occainfo.org/calendar/6844/. Bring water, a snack, sunscreen, insect repellent, and dress appropriately. SPACE IS LIMITED!  

Household Hazardous Waste Day—POSTPONED 

Sadly, Otsego County Solid Waste Department has had to postpone Otsego County’s Household Hazardous Waste Day until 2021. If you have questions, please contact the Solid Waste Department at (607) 547-4225. For possible alternative disposal options for some materials, visit our ‘Item-specific Recycling Resources’ on our website, or the ‘How Do I Get Rid Of…?’ guide at the County Solid Waste Department website. 

Looking Ahead: Hitting the Links: Leatherstocking Golf Course  

Friday, October 16, 8-9:30am 

Stretching out along Otsego Lake just outside the Village of Cooperstown, Leatherstocking Golf Course is a scenic gem and one of the top courses in New York. Course Superintendent, Mike O’Neill will lead this walk on the course, which will highlight many of the practices he employs to minimize the course’s environmental impact while keeping it an attractive and desirable place to play. These practices include managing runoff, conserving water, and minimizing pesticide and fertilizer use.  More details coming in the next Eco-bulletin. 

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 Channel. We’ll be adding more content, as well. Subscribe to get notifications of new postings.

Currently Seeking Part- Time NYS Curriculum Specialists

The Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) is currently has two (2) positions open for Part Time K-12 Environmental Curriculum Specialists for our Chesapeake Bay Educational Ecosystem.  This program builds capacity for environmental literacy and stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by building support at the district and school level for the creation and implementation of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) in schools across the New York portion of the watershed.  For more information on the positions, please check our our website: https://occainfo.org/part-time-curriculum-specialist/ 

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/garage-sale-items/ to see what we currently have! 

Think Different: Looking from someone else’s viewpoint.

Civic Engagement as an everyday tool to keep our move our mission forward:

As a conservation organization, some may feel that our place does not lie in civic engagement, but we disagree.

Civic engagement includes showing up at the polls and voting for candidates who will support our policy to conserve and protect our natural resources.

But true engagement is not something that happens only on Election Day.

We encourage our OCCA community to engage our lawmakers, keeping them up-to-date on the issues that concern us and we wanted to let you know about some tools that can put that power to connect in the palm of your hand.

The Powerful Voices App, built and designed by Leika Hill, a local citizen advocate, helps connect citizens to their federal, state and local elected officials.  The app also has Voting information for NYS not only can you use it to advocate and share your voice, but it allows you to engage others in your life, such as younger or new potential voters, to register or connect to other important voting information.

We are excited to share this app in the hopes it will help our community members connect, engage, and inform our leaders about the issues that face rural New York and how decisions, laws, and funding help or hinder us as constituents.

Find out more
Download the Powerful Voices app: Google Play Store or the 
Apple App Store

For Business Owners: 
Lend your voice!

The Otsego County Board of Representatives created the Otsego County Energy Taskforce (OCET) comprised of citizens, organizations, and the business community to craft an Energy Roadmap for the County.   OCET hopes to develop strategies that balance the sustainability of the environment including climate, the needs of the business community, and the health of its citizens.

As part of this process the OCET developed a survey for all businesses to provide input on the Energy Roadmap.  The Chamber in partnership with the OCET will host a webinar on Tuesday, September 8 at 9:00a.m. about the process and survey, and businesses of all sizes are encouraged to participate.  It takes 10 minutes and can be taken before or after the webinar. To begin survey please click on link here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/73GDGK2

To Register for the Webinar on September 8 please click on registration link below.

When: Sep 8, 2020 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZApduGrpzgtE92lgdTFMPIwx2sARH53xzvX

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Thank you for joining meeting.

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 based on current state guidelines, 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 may bring your own watercraft (canoe, kayak, paddleboard) and personal flotation device. If OCCA canoes are available, you must pre-register with a member of your household in order to share a canoe. 

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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© 2020  Otsego County Conservation Association
7207 State Highway 80, PO Box 931 • Cooperstown, NY  13326
(607) 547-4488