A Case for Engagement: Adirondack Ecofest

By Nancy Welch,
Hamilton County Cornell Cooperative Extension

Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation DistrictEven though Hamilton County is the third largest in New York State, it is the least populated.  Having only 5,021 year-round residents, the county is rural with no fast food restaurants, chain hotels, stoplights, or shopping malls.  People depend on locally owned and operated stores for food, gasoline, and commodities.  Hamlets, rivers, streams, and open space constitute 6% of the county; water, including 500 lakes and ponds, contribute to 5%; and the remaining 89% is forested lands.  Sixty-three percent of Hamilton County land falls under state-owned Forest Preserve and remains undeveloped.

Ecofest Poster

A grant from the Community Catalyst Fund assisted the Hamilton County Cornell Cooperative Extension in planning and promoting Adirondack Ecofest, a one-day event to educate residents and visitors about environmental sustainability, resulting in stewardshipCommunity Catalyst Fund through green community actions.  On September 3, Adirondack Ecofest enlightened Hamilton County residents and visitors about environmental sustainability and stewardship at Byron Park, Indian Lake.  During the afternoon forum and panel discussion, Diane Perley (Rural Community Assistance Partnership Solutions) discussed how Hamilton County homeowners can properly maintain their septic systems and Bill Weaver (Lake Pleasant Transfer Station) and Caitlin Stewart (Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, HCSWCD) highlighted recycling dos and don’ts.  Tom Colarusso (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) brought the audience up to date on invasive insects that cause devastating forest damage and the impacts of climate change on the advancement of these invasives, and Jerry Loch (Jefferson County Cornell Cooperative Extension) provided insight on the benefits of household energy and water conservation. 

NYDEC

The people who attended the forum left with great tips on how they can become better stewards to the environment, as well as free grab bags with CFL bulbs and native wildflower seed mixes.  One audience member stated on the survey form that they will “Check often for invasive insects in our area.”  Another participant wrote that they are “More aware of recycling in home.”  Invasive Plant Director of the Indian Lake Garden Club Terry DeArmas stated that, “I, too, learned from listening to the other panel presenters and from the exhibits.” 

Lake George AssociationThe day was also jam packed with exhibits and children’s activities. Hamilton County Cornell Cooperative Extension had people riding an energy bike to discover how much energy it takes to power an incandescent light bulb versus a CFL bulb. Kids collected plankton from Lake Adirondack and viewed the swimming critters under microscopes with Emily DeBolt and Kristen Rohne of the Lake George Association.  Beth Gilles of the Lake Champlain-Lake George Regional Planning Board taught eager children about the water cycle.  Dorean Page and Rebecca Manwaring of Project Action Tobacco-Free Coalition showed a video on the hazards of smoking while Nancy Berkowitz of the Indian Lake Public Library read conservation stories.

The Water Cycle

Typical graph of the water cycle; from the USGS.

Explore posts in the same categories: Advocacy, climate change, climate education, Climate Science, Community Action, Energy Efficiency, environment, Forests, Fundraising, Global Warming, local energy, Planning, Policy, Research and Development

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