Dear OCCA partners and friends,
As a local organization, we know that how we present ourselves to the world matters and the increased violence targeting Asian communities have compelled us to reiterate our organizational beliefs:
We, the Otsego County Conservation Association, believe in a United States of America that is free from discrimination in regard to race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation or ability, and where everyone is entitled to live without prejudice. We remain committed to confronting issues of discrimination when they arise. We also believe that any actions of discrimination of any kind are wrong. We are guided by and uphold these beliefs in all we do.
The question becomes how do we confront this?
Earth Festival 2021
This year’s Earth Festival will be held over three days, featuring a mix of online and in-person events. returning, once again in modified format. This year will feature online educational programs and webinars, trivia night, woodland walks, a special recycling event. More details below, and at www.occainfo.org/Earth-Festival. Check back often for new programs and updates!
Earth Festival Webinar: Many Happy Returns
April 22, 1-2:30pm
Instead of talking about things we’re trying to get rid of, let’s talk about things that are coming back! This talk will focus on the restoration efforts surrounding the American eel, pearly mussels, and the eastern hellbender. Speakers include Lt. Col. Paul H. Lord and Sarah E. Coney, SUNY Oneonta; and Michelle Herman, The Wetland Trust. Free, but pre-registration is required. Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kPZv9cHLSJSZzWjFRhaNNg
Earth Festival Webinar: Glyphosate
April 22, 7-8pm
Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the United States, is subject to considerable debate about its impact on humans, non-target organisms, and the environment in general. In this presentation, “Assessing Pesticide Hazard vs. Risk: Glyphosate, a Case Study”, Dan Wixted, of the Pesticide Management Education Program at Cornell University examines the difference between hazard and risk and how that impacts the discussion surrounding glyphosate. Dan will also examine how the EPA assesses hazards and risks as it applies to glyphosate residues in food. Additional speaker TBD. Program is free, but registration is required. Visit https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kAPvzaIBRFefxA5qcaoSAw to sign up.
Earth Festival “Drive Through, Drop Off” Recycling Event
Saturday, April 24 from 11am to 2pm, Meadows office complex, Cooperstown.
Drop off many “hard to recycle” items including Expanded Polystyrene Foam (“Styrofoam”) packaging; household document shredding by Empire Recycling’s Confidata service; pens and writing implements; tennis balls; and more. Open only to Otsego County residents. Please see www.occainfo.org/earth-festival for a full list of acceptable items and instructions on how to sign up.
Partner organizations: During Earth Festival, our partner organizations will be opening their virtual doors to talk about who they are, what they do, and how you can get involved. Drop in to hear what they’re up to and ask questions. Otsego Land Trust, April 22 at 3pm; Otsego County Soil & Water Conservation District, April 23 at 10am; Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, April 24 at 10am. Check the Earth Festival page for updates and schedule!
Sponsorships available: Please help keep Earth Festival going! Your donation will help cover costs, including paper shredding, equipment rental, advertising and more. Sponsors will be listed on our website, in advertisements, and at all online programming. Visit occainfo.org/Earth-Festival for details.
Volunteers needed: OCCA is recruiting volunteers to help with the Drive Through, Drop Off recycling event. Volunteers are needed to help unload recyclables from cars, direct traffic and sort and pack recyclables for shipping. Volunteers must be willing to follow COVID-19 protocols.
Webinar: NYSERDA Energy Services for P-12 Buildings
April 7, 1-2pm, Zoom.
NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority) funds a host of energy savings programs specifically for Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade schools. NYSERDA Program Manager, Hannah Morgan will highlight these services, which include free energy benchmarking, low cost/no cost energy audits, free clean heating and cooling screenings, and detailed energy design services for net-zero energy retrofits. Program is free but pre-registration is required. Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_yi-W0FU-Rmi0ZMBs3UgjZA
Volunteer Opportunity: Tick Blitz!
New York State IPM Program and the Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases are collaborating on a project this summer to track the northern spread of the invasive Asian longhorned tick and the lonestar tick in 17 New York counties including Delaware, Sullivan, Ulster and Greene. Volunteers must attend an online training on either April 12 or April 16. For more information or to register, visit http://bit.ly/TICKBLITZ.
Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful Regional Clean & Green Kick-Off Event
April 24, 10am-2pm
Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful, a six-county NYS affiliate of the national Keep America Beautiful (KAB) program, will be hosting a kick-off event to celebrate the 2021 Regional Clean & Green Effort in a “Quaran-TEAM” Way. As part of the kick-off, individuals and families who are quarantined together to break up their day by taking a walk outside alone or as a family to clean up litter along their property/streets and surrounding areas. Businesses, organizations, and community groups can also register cleanup or beautification events in the Mohawk Valley region through the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority website (http://www.ohswa.org/). Registered cleanup groups will be able to pick up free materials at the Kick-Off, which will be held at Hanna Park, Utica from 10 AM – 2 PM.For more information, visit www.ohswa.org or contact Jamie Tuttle at (315) 733-1224 ext. 2300.
Incentives for Cleaner and Greener Heating and Cooling
April 26, 7:00pm
Heat pumps are often cheaper and safer to operate, require less maintenance, and add comfort (both heating and cooling) to your home. And they are essential for dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions! Come learn about all the incentives available to help make these technologies affordable. Sponsored by the Climate Crisis Working Group of Indivisible Mohawk Valley with presentations from Heat Smart Mohawk Valley and HeatSmart CNY. https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_O2DHx7NmRxuQEAGoVGvREw
Chesapeake Bay Headwaters Educational Ecosystem
If you’re a teacher looking to bring quality watershed education to your classroom, join the Chesapeake Bay Headwaters Educational Ecosystem! This new program launched by OCCA in a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aims to increase student understanding of local watersheds, ecosystem functions, and issues that impact them through implementation of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). OCCA will be running a special institute for teachers in the New York portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed this summer. For more information on this exciting program, visit https://www.occainfo.org/BWET.
Otsego Octet Winter Challenge
The calendar may say spring, but the weather is not so sure, so the Otsego Octet Winter Challenge continues! Complete eight winter activities, such as hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, etc., in designated state parks and forests, as well as county forests and Otsego Land Trust properties by April 30 and be eligible to receive a commemorative patch. For details on how to participate, visit www.otsegooutdoors.org.
Climate Action Grants Opportunity
Our friends at the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society (DOAS) seek to identify and help fund local projects that address climate change through the Audubon in Action 2021 Community Climate Action grant program. Funding is available for projects that address climate change on a local level. Individuals and community members, schools, colleges and college groups, non-profit organizations, and municipalities within DOAS’s chapter region may apply. Applications are due by 5pm on May 14, 2021. For more information, visit https://www.doas.us.
Be on the Listen!
Damp spring nights is the time for frogs and toads to sing. Take a few minutes each night over the next few weeks and see if you can identify some our native amphibians by their calls. Listen for the quacking call of the wood frog and the very-loud-for-its-size bird-like peep of the spring peeper. These are our earliest amphibian singers and can be heard already. Pickerel frogs will join the chorus next, though the snoring sound they make is not nearly as pleasing as the trill of the American toad, who will start singing in late April or early May. For good samples of these and other frogs found in our area, check out https://musicofnature.com/calls-of-frogs-and-toads-of-the-northeast/.