Sutherland named OCCA Conservationist of the Year

OCCA 2017 Conservationist of the Year, Bob Sutherland

The Otsego County Conservation Association will present its 2017 “Conservationist of the Year” award to Bob Sutherland of Springfield. Sutherland will receive the award at OCCA’s Annual Picnic on Sunday, September 10.

OCCA President Vicky Lentz said, “OCCA established the Conservationist of the Year in 1989 to recognize individuals, organizations or businesses that have made a positive difference in environmental protection, conservation or education in Otsego County. We couldn’t think of a more deserving winner than Bob Sutherland for Conservationist of the Year.”

Sutherland has been managing Mohican Farm for The Clark Foundation since 2009. Under his management, the farm has spearheaded The Clark Foundation’s sustainability efforts. He established and oversees a composting operation that has recycled over a million pounds of food scraps and green waste since 2010, manages invasive species, and uses the farm’s greenhouse to support community agriculture. A former instructor in the Plant Science Department at SUNY Cobleskill, Sutherland continues to support education through his involvement on the steering committee of the Farmers’ Museum’s annual Food and Farming Conference, and regularly speaks at round tables, lectures and events. Sutherland has worked closely with OCCA staff on numerous projects, and gave a talk on “Integrated Pest Management for the Home Garden and Greenhouse” as part of OCCA’s Be Informed! lecture series.

“Otsego County has so many individuals and organizations dedicated to the environment,” Sutherland said. “I consider myself fortunate to be able to work with such passionate and knowledgeable people. This is an unexpected honor.”

In addition to his work at Mohican Farm, Sutherland is an active participant in the community. He is a member of the Otsego Lake Association’s Board of Directors, supports Growing Communities and the Kid Garden at Cooperstown Elementary School. Sutherland has also been a key player in an initiative to develop a county-wide composting facility in Oneonta.

Executive Director, Leslie Orzetti said, “Bob has been a steadfast partner and overall great example for those wanting to make a difference in natural resource conservation in Otsego County.”

Sutherland will be honored at OCCA’s Annual Picnic and Meeting on Sunday, September 10 at Gilbert Lake State Park. The picnic, which runs from 1-5 p.m., will be held in the park’s large picnic shelter and includes lunch by L.M. Townsend Catering of Cooperstown, beer from Butternuts Brewery, a guided nature walk, and a Chinese auction fundraiser. OCCA staff and board will provide an overview of OCCA’s activities for the year, and there will be a vote to elect Board members. Cost is $25 per adult, $15 for children ages 5-9. For information on, contact OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti at(607) 547-4488. The picnic is taking the place of OCCA’s Annual Dinner, which has traditionally been held in November.

Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit

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