Otsego Land Trust has been awarded a 2017 Conservation Partnership Program grant through the Land Trust Alliance and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
On April 26th, the Alliance announced 69 Conservation Partnership Program grants, dolling out $1.8 million to 58 land trusts. Otsego Land Trust received a Conservation Catalyst grant. The grant will enable the accredited OLT to continue developing the second year of a pilot project to provide a deeper level of community conservation programming. In partnership with the Schoharie River Center, Butternut Valley Alliance, Otsego County Conservation Association, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Land Trust Alliance, the new initiative will give youth (ages 12-18) at three schools in rural, low-income areas of Otsego County new opportunities to learn about water ecology, water quality monitoring, and the importance of local resource conservation.
With SRC, OCCA, BVA and OLT coming together to serve the youth of Otsego County, the focus lies on healthy activities that create a life-long love of nature and the outdoors. The program will enable students to explore Otsego County in a new capacity. The students will spend time at four of seven Conservation Areas owned and maintained by OLT called the Blueway Trail. The Blueway is open to the public for outdoor recreation and enjoyment, like hiking, paddling and fishing. The students will also have access to private lands in their own communities that have been protected by OLT and the land owners.
The Schoharie River Center is a community based science and arts educational not-for-profit organization that strives to empower people to become actively engaged in the scientific study, monitoring, protection and improvement of their local environment and community. SRC and OLT aim to increase the understanding and knowledge of the environmental issues confronting local communities as well as integrate the skills and knowledge acquired in the classroom with experientially focused environmental research and community service activities. Led by trained environmental educators, the Environmental Study Team (EST) will allow youth to experience education in a new light.
The Conservation Catalyst Grant is awarded to land trusts to allow their investment in enabling innovation, community partnerships and collaborations that connect more people to nature, increase public invovlement, and accelerate the pace of strategic land protection, including resources prioritized in New York State DEC's Open Space Conservation Plan.