Due to the ongoing situation with coronavirus and COVID-19, Otsego County Conservation Association will be taking the annual Earth Festival online, organizers said. The event, originally scheduled for April 18, will instead be a five-day event taking place online. In its fifteenth year, Earth Festival is an event showcasing environmentally-themed organizations and businesses.

Amy Wyant, Executive Director of OCCA, said, “We wanted to find a way to help people celebrate the earth, learn about new earth-focused groups and products and connect with like-minded people. Since we can’t gather in person, we decided to make Earth Festival 2020 a 5-day Digital Environmentally focused summit.“

The new event will include informational webinars, digital "coffee talks" and demonstrations, and a scavenger hunt. Activities will be focused around Earth Festival’s 2020 theme, ‘Reduce’ and will include tips on reducing home energy use, solid waste, food bills -- even stress.

“In this time of social distancing, it’s important to find ways to connect with one another and with the passions we hold dear to our hearts,” Wyant said. “We hope this format for Earth Festival will help people do that.”

Much as the traditional Earth Festival begins with a bird walk led by Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, DOAS kicks off Digital Earth Festival with a web presentation by local botanist and OCCA board member, Dr. Donna Vogler. Slogs Through Bogs: Beauty, Loss, and Preservation features the beautiful and diverse life found in local bogs. This program will take place online on Friday, April 17 at 7:30 pm. Details on how to participate will be available on www.doas.us.

Energy takes center stage on April 18 at as representatives from Heat Smart Otsego, Delaware River Solar and Community Energy Engagement present a variety of ways to save energy in your home.

April 19 kicks off with a digital Coffee Talk featuring interviews with solid waste professionals and advocates who demonstrate a variety of interesting ways to reduce household solid waste.

Reducing food bills and food waste will be the subject for April 20. We will include presentations on gardening, vermicomposting and digital demonstrations on how to prepare simple homemade delights that will help reduce your food bill and waste.

April 21 is Get Outside Day, an all-day digital scavenger hunt that will help reduce stress through outdoor activities. All activities on the list will allow participants to maintain social distancing but get back in touch with nature. There will be multiple ways to participate, so don’t worry if you do not have a particular social media account.

Finally, on April 22, Earth Day itself is “Earth Day: The Bigger Picture”, an all-day digital event of local, regional, country and world-wide informational sessions to keep people informed of global activities and issues.

Does your environmentally focused group or business want to be part of one of our digital programs? Contact OCCA Director, Amy Wyant at director@occainfo.org or by calling 607-547-4488 for more information.

We hope you join us for one or more of these great events! To pre-register for one or more of these events, please visit our website: occainfo.org/earth-festival

Founded in 1968, Otsego County Conservation Association is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County's natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.