ECO-BULLETIN Vol. 16, No. 3 – February 15, 2022

OCCA has had a busy start to the month of February! The month isn’t over yet and we’re excited to tell you about some events and opportunities available to you. Read on to learn more about the Winter Walk series, how to participate in local research on the Hemlock woolly adelgid (an invasive species new to New York State), and how to learn more about our environmental planning department. 

Due to scheduled rate changes, a fuel oil shortage at the federal level, and increased demand due to the cold, many Otsego County residents are finding their electric bills higher than they expect. If you need assistance filing for financial assistance to pay for higher electric bills, or if you are interested in energy-efficient technology which can reduce your electric consumption, please reach out to our HeatSmart Mohawk Valley Outreach Specialist, Natalie Reyes, at 607-375-7453, or email her at You can learn more about the bill surges and your options from the Public Utility Law Project.

A Winter Walk
Monday, February 21 
Robert V. Riddell State Park, NY-28, Oneonta 

Enjoy the holiday with a pleasant walk on the mile-and-a-half long Winter Tree ID trail at Robert V. Riddell State Park. This is a great opportunity to stretch your legs, breathe some fresh air, and enjoy the beauty of winter! All ages and skill levels are welcome. Bring water, dress appropriately for the weather. Program is free but pre-registration is required so that we can communicate with you in advance of the program to advise you of trail conditions. This walk is part of the Otsego Outdoors Winter Challenge! Sign up for the free program here.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Field Training 
Monday, February 21
Robert V. Riddell State Park, NY-28, Oneonta 

Whether you want to volunteer to help find hemlock woolly adelgid or are just curious about this destructive creature, this program is for you. We’ll cover everything you need to know to begin searching for hemlock woolly adelgid, including how to recognize hemlock trees and the woolly adelgid, how and when to search, and how to report your findings. This entire program will take place outdoors, please dress appropriately for the weather. We will meet at the Gersoni Road entrance to Riddell Park (south of I-88 exit 17; 42.480498, -74.968796). Register here.

iMapInvasives: an Introduction
Wednesday, February 23


iMapInvasives is a powerful tool that allows land managers, natural resource specialists, citizen scientists, and any interested person to track and report invasive species. In this workshop, SUNY Oneonta Professor and OCCA Board President, Donna Vogler and OCCA Program Director, Jeff O’Handley will cover how to get started with iMapInvasives, including setting up an account, interacting with the program, and how to report observations using both desktop and mobile applications. Register for this free program (required) here.

Keeping Warm with Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pumps, Virtual Heat Pump House Tour
Sunday, February 27, 2022

2:00 – 3:00pm

Join HeatSmart Mohawk Valley coordinator Anna Rutenbeck on a tour of a local home which is heated and cooled entirely by heat pumps. Learn first-hand about John and Maggie Reilly’s path to clean heating and cooling and how they transitioned from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy. The virtual tour will start with a brief introduction about the campaign and available rebates and grants. This is an interactive event, questions are encouraged. Register for the event here

Hemlock woolly adelgid is an invasive insect that feeds exclusively on eastern hemlock trees, causing death of the tree within a decade. OCCA and Mohican Farm/The Clark Foundation are conducting surveys between now and late March to determine the extent of hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) in Otsego County. If you have property with stands of eastern hemlock on it and are interested in participating, contact Jeff O’Handley at or by phone (607) 282-4087. This would involve having a small team of volunteers on your property to examine the trees. For further information on HWA, please check out this pre-recorded presentation by Carri Marschner of the New York State Hemlock Initiative.

Join OCCA’s Environmental Planner Aish Mukund for weekly information sessions on environmental planning starting next Monday, February 21. Each week a new topic will be discussed. 
Register for the webinars here.

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