ECO-BULLETIN Vol. 15, No. 1 – January 4, 2021

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Whats included in this months bulletin:

  • Climate Action Panel Discussion
  • Naked Eye Astronomy, Winter Edition- Are You Sirius?
  • Why Zoning Shouldn’t Be Taboo
  • GJGNY Energy Study for Small Business and Not-for-Profit
  • Heat Smart Mohawk Valley Office Hours
  • Chesapeake Bay Headwaters Educational Ecosystem Informational Webinar
  • Salt Smart
  • In Case you Missed it
  • Online Garage Sale Donations Needed

-Amy and the rest of the OCCA Team

Climate Action Panel Discussion

Tuesday, January 5, 7-8:00pm, Zoom

Delaware-Otsego Audubon is hosting an online panel discussion about actions that can be taken to reduce carbon emissions and begin planning for a step-down program. It will provide a snapshot view of what you can do to address electricity, home or business heating, transportation, goods and services and more. Panelists include OCCA’s Executive Director, Amy Wyant and Environmental Planner, Danny Lapin and Heat Smart Mohawk Valley Campaign Director, Bennett Sandler, along with Dr. Chandu Viswesariah, Ellen Pope, Tom Theis, and Shane Digan. The program is free, but pre-registration is required. Register here.

Naked Eye Astronomy, Winter Edition—Are You Sirius?

Friday, January 15, 7:00pm, Mohican Farm

Join OCCA Vice President, Jim Hill for an evening of naked eye astronomy as we tour the spectacular night sky of January. The winter sky provides a wonderful array of zero and first magnitude stars (the lower the magnitude, the brighter the star!). We will explore constellations including Orion, Gemini and Taurus; the magnificent asterism known as the winter circle; and the open star cluster, the Pleiades.  If we’re lucky, we might get a glimpse of the most distant object you can see with the naked eye, Andromeda.

Please note, this program will take place entirely outside, so dress for the weather and bring a chair so that you don’t have to sit on frozen or snowy ground. Binoculars are optional. The program is free, but registration is limited to 30, and all participants are required to use a cloth face covering and observe social distancing guidelines. Register here.  

Why Zoning Shouldn’t Be Taboo

Tuesday, January 19, 5-6:30pm, Zoom

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more critical than ever to thoughtfully plan how communities are designed. Join OCCA Environmental Planner Danny Lapin, AICP to learn how zoning can be utilized to design communities that promote density without compromising public health.  Register Here. Any questions can be directed to Danny Lapin, AICP at  planner@occainfo.org.

GJGNY Energy Study for Small Business and Not-for-Profit

Thursday, January 21, 11am, Zoom

Presenter, Adam Boese, The Daylight Savings Company

Come learn about low cost energy audits for businesses with less than 100 employees and not-for-profits of any size from the folks who do the audits. Learn about the process, see what’s in the report, hear about your options for improving your building. Energy audits identify ways to reduce your energy costs while increasing occupant health and safety as well as building durability. Our presenter is Adam Boese, Professional Engineer and Principal at The Daylight Savings Company. Adam has been working on building energy for 3 decades and has audited thousands of buildings. He brings his deep bench of knowledge to this presentation which includes a 30 minute presentation followed by 15-20 minutes for Q&A. Participation is free but requires registration. Register Here. 

Heat Smart Mohawk Valley Office Hours

Have questions about clean heating and cooling for your home or business? Heat Smart Mohawk Valley Campaign Director, Bennett Sandler has answers! Every Tuesday and Thursday from noon until 2pm, Bennett will have virtual office hours to address your questions. To schedule your free appointment.  Register Here.   

Chesapeake Bay Headwaters Educational Ecosystem Informational Webinar

Wednesday, January 27, 3:30-4:30pm; also Tuesday, February 2, 3:30-4:30pm

The Chesapeake Bay Headwaters Educational Ecosystem is a new program launched by OCCA that aims to increase student understanding of local watersheds, ecosystem functions, and issues that impact them. The program will prepare teachers to develop and implement Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) with their students. School administrators are invited to learn about MWEEs, how their students can benefit from them, and how they can support their teachers who are interested in this special webinar. To join in on Jan 27th  register here. To join the Feb 2nd register here.  

Salt Smart

Winter has truly arrived, and that means it’s time for…salt. Americans use more than 20 billion pounds of salt a year to keep our roads, runways, sidewalks, driveways and reduce ice While salt makes travel—be it a long drive on the highway or a short walk to the mailbox—safer, it can also have a significant, negative impact on both the built and natural environment. Before you start throwing handfuls of salt around your driveway, take some time to consider where you’re spreading, what you’re spreading, and what the weather is and will be like.

Rock salt (sodium chloride) is the most commonly used deicer in the United States. It is inexpensive, easily available, and effective: one study found it can reduce accidents by as much as 88%. Salt works by lowering the freezing point of water (normally 32F), thus either preventing liquid water from freezing, or causing already frozen water to melt.

The downside, however, is that salt is corrosive to metals, including your car, bridge girders, and the bolts that hold your deck together. It can also degrade pavement by increasing freeze/thaw action, causing scaling, pitting, flaking—and potholes. Finally, salt readily migrates into lawns, gardens and waterways, where it can damage plants, disrupt aquatic ecosystems, and reduce drinking water quality. Annual monitoring of Otsego Lake showed substantial increases in chloride concentration in the water over the last hundred years, largely as a result of road salt.

Communities across the country are recognizing the need to balance safety with environmental protection, including alternatives to salt and technology to be more efficient. Property owners can also help. First, shoveling early and often will reduce or prevent ice buildup beneath the snow. Second, know your weather and your deicing products. Rock salt is most effective at temperatures above 15F or so. If the temperature is going to drop below zero, you’ll need an alternative such as Calcium chloride or Magnesium chloride. Third, you can mix in sand with your salt, or just use sand. Finally, remember that more snow does not mean more salt. Read and follow application guidelines on your deicer product. A little salt can go a long way, and we want to keep it from going all the way to our water.

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.

Visit OCCA’s YouTube Channel


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!

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.

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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