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Susquehanna Group

SUSQUEHANNA SIERRAN NEWSLETTER

January/February 2008

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
Susquehanna Group


Contents
Activities
Thank you Cindy
Helping a Greene Wetland
Zero Waste Talk
Collection for AED
Local Energy Costs
LYNDA SPICKARD AWARD
'Green' Reading
Getting Informed
Sierra Club Websites
Sierra Club 2008 Calendars
Group Elections
Officers
Membership Application


Activities
Everyone interested is welcome at all Sierra Club activities, whether or not a member (except for Executive Committee meetings).
General Meetings: These
are held at 7:30 pm on the third Tuesday of each month, except July and August. They are held at Central United Methodist Church, 17 Nanticoke Ave., Endicott, NY (it is on Route 26 - from Route 17, follow 26 n. to Endicott, w. on E. Main, n. on Nanticoke). The public is welcome and refreshments are served following the meeting. Call Jack Davis, 570-553-2081, or Scott Lauffer, 341-3746 or
lauffer@frontiernet.net for further information.


Tuesday, Jan. 15
Lynda Spickard Environmental Award presented to Alan and Barbara Jones for Saving the Glen!

6:30 pm: Potluck Dinner: Bring a dish to pass (include ingredient list) and own place setting. We ask participants to try to bring locally grown and/or organic food. Coffee and tea will be provided.

7:30 pm: Program: A plaque will be presented with the inscription:
Alan and Barbara, the organizers, spearhead, protectors and heart of the Glen. For seven years you gave selflessly and because of your efforts the Glen is now protected and open to the public. Your dedication in providing this wonderful gift will be remembered always.

This will be followed by a presentation by Alan and Barb about the Glen, with additional pictures shown by Julian Shepherd and Scott Lauffer of some other local natural areas, time permitting.


Tuesday, Feb. 19
Recycling in Broome County
Learn about Broome County's innovative recycling program as you are taken on a recycling journey from curbside to store shelves. Along the way we will look at both traditional and non-traditional recycled materials, the benefits/challenges of recycling and some little known facts about the world of recycling.
Debra Smith, Materials Recovery Manager
Broome County Division of Solid Waste Management


Sierra Events: These are held several times per year (see Activities note above). "In order to participate on one of the Sierra Club's outings, you will need to sign a liability waiver. If you would like to read a copy of the waiver prior to the outing, please see http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/chapter/forms or call 415-977-5630. In the interests of facilitating the logistics of some outings, it is customary that participants make carpooling arrangements. The Sierra Club does not have insurance for carpooling arrangements and assumes no liability for them. Carpooling, ride sharing or anything similar is strictly a private arrangement among the participants. Participants assume the risks associated with this travel."


Executive Committee Meetings are (usually) held on the Tuesday before each General Meeting at 7:30 pm (0212, 0311).


Thank you Cindy
Thanks to Cindy Westerman. Cindy is stepping down, after serving many years on the executive committee, to devote more time to her own interests, which are many. She will continue as Wetlands chair and will remain a valuable resource due to her vast experience and understanding of many environmental issues. We thank her for contributing many years of her time, knowledge and energy and wish her well.


Helping a Greene Wetland
A prime, state-protected wetland in Greene township, an oxbow lake/swamp formed by the Chenango River, has been threatened repeatedly by a gravel- and sand-mining operation adjacent to it.

After hearings, which included input from Susquehanna Group members, the DEC has issued a permit for a major expansion at the mine. The permit does include fairly stringent requirements for monitoring the water table throughout the year and prohibiting mining below 5 feet above the seasonally high water table. However, an independent hydrologist recommended mining be limited to 13 feet above the water table. The DEC declined to do this and also provided no limits on destruction of a bank bordering the wetland, although no mining activity is permitted within 100 feet of the wetland. The Susquehanna Group is officially asking DEC officials in Cortland to modify the permit and provide better protection to the sensitive areas around the mine.
Julian Shepherd, Conservation


Zero Waste Talk
This was in Elmira – Dec. 12, sponsored by Finger Lakes Group with guest speaker Lynne Pledger, Sierra Club National Zero Waste Committee
“Humans are the only species that create waste. Waste is a resource in disguise. It represents a failure of our processes and products and a loss of money.” The Zero Waste Alliance “recommends that the entire concept of waste should be eliminated from our thinking and the word resource be substituted.” (See www.zerowaste.org).

The Zero Waste Forum is meant to show Sierrans, local government officials and policy makers, and all interested citizens why we can no longer wait for the one-person-at-a-time approach to the waste crisis facing this country. Organizers of the forum hope to educate the public about Zero Waste initiatives with the result that citizens and leaders will join the movement to implement Zero Waste in every community.


Collection for AED
We collected $105 at the December meeting towards the purchase of an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) by the Central United Methodist Church. Thanks to all who contributed, and more contributions can be earmarked for this by sending them to the church. It’s good that we can participate in this, because as users of the church facilities, we also benefit from having an AED on site. Questions can be directed to Jack or Judy Davis, 570-553-2081.


Local Energy Costs
Rising – With the price of crude oil hitting $100 per barrel, here are some of the current local energy costs:
Gasoline - $3.199 per gallon and up
Heating Oil - around $3.35 per gallon give or take
Natural Gas - around $.80/ccf (or therm).
Electricity - around $.07/kwh. Not as affected by rising oil process, but still largely generated in our country by fossil fuel, and demand remains high.

"Natural gas and electricity" are supply charge (net) values from NYSEG bills. Include the details and the total (gross) figures from Sept/Oct 07, heating with gas, are scarier:
$93.32 for 57.3 therms ($1.63/therm gross)
$132.88 for 885 kwh ($.15/kwh gross).

As to "supply charge", this is a major item in the dizzying formula NYSEG uses to bill for natural gas, is done by calendar month, requires guessing since meters are read in the middle of calendar months, and more guessing since meters are read every two months but bills are calculated every month:
Dec: $.8703
Nov: $.908
earlier 15 months: often <$.80

These prices should motivate us more than ever to conserve. Turn the heat down another degree or two, car pool whenever possible and combine trips, walk or take the bus, turn off the lights and computer when not in use, use energy saving bulbs, buy local produce or products whenever possible. If everyone in this country did these things, the impact would be enormous.

Want to take it to the next level? Install solar panels or buy alternate energy from your electric supplier, buy a hybrid or electric car, plant a garden this spring or frequent farmers markets, replace that old furnace with an efficient one, take vacations closer to home or buy carbon credits when you fly. If enough people in this country did these things, we could transform ourselves into an energy efficient society and eliminate the need for foreign oil. Government and industry have to play a major role also, but there is some encouraging movement on that front.


LYNDA SPICKARD AWARD
The Susquehanna Group presents the 2008 Lynda Spickard award to Barbara and Alan Jones for their work in preserving The Glen. The Glen (formerly called the “IBM Glen” and currently officially known as “IBM Glen: Educational Preserve of the Fred L. Waterman Center”) is located in Endwell. It has long been an important natural site enjoyed by local hikers, skiers, bird watchers, educators and others who appreciate the outdoors. For seven years, Barb and Alan physically have worked tirelessly as caretakers of the Glen property. Also due to their efforts, the site and public access to it now have legal protection “forever”.

The Susquehanna Group established the Spickard award 4 years ago to be presented to a person or persons who have made a significant contribution to local environmental protection. 2008 is the first year the award has been given for a specific achievement. Previous winners were honored for a body of conservation work over a number of years.

The Glen is located on property formerly owned by IBM in the area of its Country Club and Homestead facilities. Although not officially open to the public, the company never complained when local people parked at the Homestead and walked up the trails to admire the beautiful gorge and mature forest. In fact, historical records show that the public had used this area for Sunday picnics and other activities for a long time.
In 2000, IBM had the glen forest surveyed for possible logging. Alan Jones, who used the glen paths every day for running, noticed that some large trees were marked for cutting. Other users noticed the markings and feared the character of the preserve was about to change.

Investigation proved that the Endicott facility of IBM was indeed considering allowing selective logging of the area. In fact, a contract with a logging company had already been drawn up. Alan and Barb sprang into action to try to protect this valuable area loved by so many. Soon a group of activists, consisting of Sierrians, local hiking club members, certain BU professors, students, and birders were all protesting the logging. It took an appeal to IBM corporate offices but the tree cutting was put on hold and eventually stopped for good.

This decision, although welcome, did not permanently stop threats to the Glen nor did it assure the public would always enjoy the same access to it as they had in the past. Here again Alan and Barb stepped forward and formed an ad hoc committee called “Friends of the Glen”. Realizing that IBM was severely downsizing its local operations and eager to sell excess properties-particularly non revenue producing ones such as the Country Club and Homestead, this group worked diligently to get permanent protection for the Glen. Many meetings were held to discuss methods by which the property could be protected. Friends of the Glen consulted outside experts from experienced organizations such as The Nature Conservancy.

They manned booths at local events such as Earth Fest to inform the public and get financial support. A couple of members took beautiful photographs of the Glen and its waterfalls. Alan and Barb were the primary authors of a multi-media presentation which they hoped to present to the New York State Open Space Committee in an attempt to get State protection for the property. Although all the work just described was officially a “Friends” effort, it would never have been sustained without the leadership of the Jones.

Eventually IBM did work out a deal to sell the Homestead and County Club property to a consortium of developers. However, the publicity for saving the Glen had impacted the large international company. IBM put in the sale agreement a requirement that the 205 acres of the property containing the Glen be separated and given to a conservation organization so it would be protected no matter what was done with the rest of the land sold. Again Alan and Barb worked tirelessly to get suitable owners for the Glen and an administrator for a conservation easement on the property containing it.

The Glen is now owned by the highly respected Fred L. Waterman Conservation Education Center in Tioga County. They had had a presence on the “Friends” committee and are well known in this area. The conservation easement is administered by the Chenango Land Trust as there is no land trust in Broome County. Under Barb and Alan's leadership, Waterman Center has made several improvements to the glen property including a new parking lot, additional trails and signage. Due to the stipulations of both IBM in donating the land and the ensuing conservation easement, no action can be taken that will spoil the natural character of the property.

Alan Jones now sits on the Board of Directors of Waterman Center where he has a vote in determining how the Glen is treated . Meanwhile the Jones continue to oversee the maintenance, use, promotion and general well-being of the property. In 2006, The Chenango Land Trust also recognized the Jones and the Friends of the Glen with its Land Steward Award for their efforts in saving the Glen and keeping it a beautiful place.
The Glen is truly unique in the Binghamton area as it provides recreational, scenic and educational opportunities in an area very close to the main urban area. Recreational groups such as the Triple Cities Hiking Club can now be assured they will have access to this beautiful gorge for the foreseeable future. All of us in this area who enjoy its special character of owe Barb and Alan a debt of gratitude for their efforts in saving the property.

Cindy Westerman, Wetlands


'Green' Reading
Request for 'Green' Book Recommendations

It has come to our attention that local library collections are lacking up-to-date information on books about sustainability, permaculture, climate change, energy efficiency, and 'green' literature, in general.

We are looking to improve this void by making recommendations to both the Finger Lakes Library System and the Four County Library System (with our initial recomendations based on what we collect by Feb. 1). Please share information about your favorite resources so that we can help to better educate the public as well as ourselves.

Send your recommendations to Colleen Wolpert at spider99@stny.rr.com or share them at an upcoming Sierra Club meeting.

Thank you in advance,
Colleen Wolpert


Getting Informed
Like to receive your newsletter via email? The executive committee is looking at saving money and trees by mailing to those willing via email rather than post office. More will be said about this in the March/April newsletter, which will still be mailed to all members.
Like to be on our news listserv? It offers announcements about local events, such as sometimes come up on too short notice to usefully appear in the Newsletter. To join, send an email to either Scott Lauffer Lauffer@frontiernet.net or Erin Riddle, erinriddle@verizon.net. Announcements come from ATL-Susquehanna-news@lists.sierraclub.org.


Sierra Club Websites
Each of these provides links to the other two:
National: http://www.sierraclub.org
Atlantic Chapter (NY State): http://newyork.sierraclub.org/
Susquehanna Group (NY Southern Tier - Binghamton - area): http://newyork.sierraclub.org/susquehanna/
Dave Ketchum, Newsletter Editor
Sierra Club 2008 Calendars
(our prices remain tax inc.):
Wilderness - list $12.95, our price $12.00. All the grandeur of the North American Wilderness.
Engagement - List $13.95, our price $13.00. Stunning images of Flora and Fauna.
Call Viv Stevens, 748-9865, to get your calendars, Proceeds support your local Sierra Club group.


Officers (2008)

Group Chair: Jeff Bohner, 772-8304, jbohner@stny.rr.com
Vice Chair: Scott Lauffer, 341-3746, lauffer@frontiernet.net
Secretary: Helena Garan, 797-7108
Treasurer: Vivian Stevens, 748-9865
Chapter ExCom Rep: Scott Lauffer, 341-3746, lauffer@frontiernet.net
Conservation: Julian Shepherd, 722-9327, jshepher@binghamton.edu
Cool Cities Coordinator: Erin Riddle, 372-5503, erinriddle@verizon.net
Education: Harry Barnes, 829-5307
Fundraising: Vivian Stevens, 748-9865
Membership: Jack Davis, 570-553-2081, jkdavis@epix.net
Media/Publicity: Gaynelle Gauvin, 729-8306, GCGAU@aol.com
Newsletter Editor: Dave Ketchum, 687-5026, davek@baka.com
Outing: Kathy Cronin, 757-0736, kcronin@binghamton.edu
Population: Harry Barnes, 829-5307
Wetlands/Clean Water: Cindy Westerman, 748-9792, raindrop@pronetisp.net
(Ex Com member): Fiske D. Hanson,772-1236, fdhanson@webtv.net



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This page last updated January 8, 2008
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