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Speaker Series

2015 Speakers

It IS Getting Hot in Here

We’re seeing our lakes warming based on real data gathered by CSLAP volunteers. That was the message in Scott Kishbaugh’s presentation at the Kettle Lakes Speaker Series on Monday evening.

As a consequence, we have to expect a changing environment including different plants, different pests, and maybe impacts to our daily water quality.

While Kishbaugh was conservative in his statements, the crowd of nearly 50 residents were engaged, pressing him to clarify the causes and impacts of these changes. At one point, Preble town supervisor Jim Doring asked if there was scientific consensus on humans causing global warming. Kishbaugh noted that he was not an expert but that, in his opinion, the evidence seems clear.

In fact, scientific consensus is pretty clear. Here’s a Wikipedia article that summarizes and explains the view: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change . And here’s a link to the UN consensus report which provides more scientific background and is the ultimate source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change.

The takeaway from the talk is that we need to recognize that our lakes and rivers will change as the climate changes and we need to adjust management practices to accommodate these changes.  We can also take steps, both individually and as a community, to reduce global warming and preserve our environment.

Next up in our Speaker Series is Dr. Gregory Boyer on May 23 speaking on the effects of warming waters on algal blooms. Be sure to register now for this important event.

Is it Getting Hot in Here?

Drought, pests and impacts on our drinking water: these are some of the possible consequences of global warming on our watersheds according to Scott Kishbaugh, Chief, DOW Lake Monitoring and Assessment Section at DEC. He will present his data and explore these and other implications in his talk on Monday, April 18th at 7pm at Tully HS. Register here for your free tickets to this event.

“19 out of the 20 hottest years on record have occurred since 1980,” he noted. “More importantly, thanks to our C-SLAP program and the great work by our local lake volunteers, we have data showing the impact on New York State lakes and we can already see changes occurring.”

Join us as we explore the changes and potential impacts to our everyday lives. Engage in the community discussion on what we can all do to help maintain our environment and our quality of life.

Beginning at 6pm students from the SUNY-ESF Limnology program will be on hand to present their most recent research on our local lakes.

C-OFOKLA is dedicated to the preservation of the kettle lakes, surrounding waters and watershed regions in Cortland and Onondaga counties. Members include associations from, Crooked Lake, Little York Lake, Song Lake and Tully Lake; Watershed Partner – The Central New York Land Trust;  Corporate Partners – AXI Digital & CH2M. All events are free and open to the public. Donations to defray costs are accepted at the door or online.

SUNY ESF Limnology Students in Tully on 4/18

C-OFOKLA ha s a long-running partnership with Dr. Kim Schultz and her limnology program at SUNY-ESF. Each year students meet with representatives from member lakes and discuss areas of research that would be helpful. Following successful projects, the students present their results in a fall poster session at the school.

We have invited several of the students to join us at 6pm on April 18th at Tully High School to present their posters and discuss their research with members of the community. Here is a link to abstracts of their posters from the fall posters session.

This annual event is a great opportunity to find out what is going on with some key issues on our lakes as well as to hear first hand from the students about their findings. As we continue to deal with issues such as weeds and algal blooms, the more we know the better we can fight. Be sure to pre-register for the event here. Registration is free and helps us with facility planning.

The first of our Speakers Series events will immediately follow the poster session at 7 pm. Featuring Scott Kishbaugh from DEC, the talk will focus on the effects of warming waters on our lakes.

C-OFOKLA 2016 Speakers Series Unveiled: Our Warming Waters

C-OFOKLA is pleased to announce its 2016 Speakers Series with three important and timely topics for residents of the Kettle Lake region and beyond. This series builds on the successful 2015 series which attracted 50-75 attendees each.

“We’re focusing in on our lakes and watershed in this series,” noted Tarki Heath, president of C-OFOKLA. “In particular, we’re looking at what effects external factors such as global warming and changes in our food production have and what we can do.”

All events are free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged to ensure your seat. Please visit cofokla.org/events to register.

Details of the events follow:

Effects of Warming Waters on Fish, Plants and Animals in New York Lakes

Monday, April 18th, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Tully High School

Scott Kishbaugh, NYS Dep. of Conservation, Chief of the Lakes Monitoring and Assessment Section for Water Assessment Management.

Our lakes are warming, but what will the likely impacts be for the fish, plants and others that inhabit our lakes? Find out from the expert. Understanding and studying the lakes of NY has been Scott Kishbaugh’s life work. His presentations are clear, clever and packed with important information for all those who understand the uniqueness and importance of our NYS lakes.
Join us at 6:00 PM with Dr. Kimberly Schulz and several SUNY-ESF Limnology students to view and discuss their work on our lakes.

Effects of Warming Waters on Harmful and Toxic Algae

Monday, May 23rd, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Tully High School

Dr. Gregory Boyer, Chair of the Environmental Chemistry Department at SUNY- ESF and Director of the Great
Lakes Research Consortium

Pictures of Lake Erie and other NYS waterways, covered with green algae have been prominent in the media. How bad is the algae and what can we expect as our waters warm? Find out from the internationally recognized, leading expert on this issue. Whether you are concerned about recreational swimming, fishing and aesthetics, or the impacts to our drinking water, this presentation will be enlightening and inform.

Effects of Warming Waters on Farms and Farming

Monday, June 20th, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Location TBA

Amanda Barber – Cortland Soil & Water Conservation District
Mike McMahon – EZ Acres Farm
Additional Speakers TBA

Farmers make their living from the land and are connected to it. They were the first stewards of land and water resources and continue to work hard to protect these for the next generation.

Join our distinguished panel as they outline current thinking in farm best management practices to support environmental and economically sustainable agriculture. Learn more about the progress that has been made and the challenges that farmers face in a rapidly evolving environment.

About C-OFOKLA – The Cortland – Onondaga Federation of Kettle Lake Associations, Inc. (C-OFOKLA) is dedicated to the preservation of the kettle lakes, surrounding waters and watershed regions in Cortland and Onondaga counties.

C-OFOKLA does so by advocating awareness of lake resources, educating communities about watersheds and their protection, and promoting stewardship of those waterways.

Art for Our Sake

C-OFOKLA presented a unique event on Sunday, May 17th at the Homer Center for the Arts: part art exhibit, part lecture, part story telling. The result was a delightful afternoon for nearly 50 residents.

Artists Maria Rizzo and Karen Jean Smith had their works on display, each bringing numerous pieces. Author Robin Kimmerer and videographer David O. Brown were there to talk about their work with the intrigued attendees. At 4 p.m. everyone assembled in the Center’s auditorium to hear a short lecture from each of the artists.

David O. Brown kicked it off by recounting his sojourn from CNY around the world’s oceans, first photographing and later filming cetacean species and everything else to do with the water. A few years ago he returned to CNY to raise his family while continuing to pursue his aquatic-oriented video work. He first created a project, Baseline, that established a video record of the state of area lakes and streams. This was in anticipation of the potential damage had fracking been introduced to the region (though there are still significant threats). He has recently begun a new project: Fragile Legacy. Here is a promotional video on the project.

Robin Kimmerer followed by exploring the relationship of the indigenous peoples with nature vs that of the scientific community. Robin is not only Native American (Potawatomi) but a member of the scientific community with a PhD in Botany. She enchanted the audience with a Potawatomi creation story, describing how the earth was made. And she challenged the notion of sustainability which focuses on how we as humans can continue to take from the earth when we should be considering what we can give to the earth. Here is a video of her discussing this topic:


Maria Rizzo recently completed two year-long projects both of which reflected her love of trees. For Trees of Onondaga, she invited residents to send her photographs of trees they loved or which had special impact. She received over 150 submissions and produced 8 paintings, two from each season.  For Community Symbolic Tree she created an
outline of a tree in the shape of Onondaga County and then invited residents to help her paint it. She visited 16 libraries and 45 people got to paint for 20 minutes on the canvas. The result is permanently hung at the Onondaga Free Library.

After retiring from teaching art, Karen Jean Smith was looking for an outlet for her creative energies. She and her husband are avid kayakers and one day while out on a lake they come across some intriguing aquatic “nuts”. They were small, dark colored and very intricate. Karen worked up a prototype ceramic sculpture and became hooked on the shape and appearance of the plant. So she continued on, improving her design.

Invasivious, King of the Trapa Natans

At the same time, she researched the plant and discovered that it is an invasive species, water chestnut, and is very much a nuisance. This lead to an evolution of her work resulting in a series titled Explorations of a Nemisis. It is an aesthetic and imaginative interpretation in ceramic of the water chestnut, not only literally but fancifully.  She has constructed a whole mythology titled The Trapa Natans Dynasty: An Unfortunate Tale Based on the Truth.

This unique event was provided in part through the sponsorship of AXI Digital.

Yes We Can – And We Should

The message was clear and straightforward at C-OFOKLA’s recent Speaker Series event: we must convert from fossil fuels and we can convert. A deeply engaged audience of 75 people ranging from high school students to retirees listened to Dr. Sandra Stiengraber explain the why’s and Dr. Tony Ingraffea explain the how’s.

IMG_2994Dr. Steingraber opened with a personal story of growing up in a polluted region of Illinois and contracting environmentally-induced cancer as a young adult. She observed that we are impacting the health of our children with the pollution from fossil fuels and we are robbing them of their future with climate change. These two important concepts should galvanize any parent into action.

Professor Ingraffea shared research he and his colleagues conducted to determine the optimal energy sources for New York IMG_3000State. While fossil fuels were initially considered, they were quickly eliminated due to high environmental and health costs.  Nuclear power was eliminated because it takes too long to develop and has significant up-front capital costs. The resulting mix of wind, water and solar solutions (WWS) can be implemented in New York to completely transition from fossil fuels by 2050, according to the research.

The research team went on to develop similar plans for all 50 states. These can be viewed at The Solutions Project

After the two briefings, the audience engaged with a panel including Stiengraber, Ingraffea, Joe Heath, Esq., Chris Carrick of Solarize CNY, Melissa Kemp of Solar Tompkins, and Bob Eklund of Solutions Grassroots Project, moderated by Central New York Land Trust, Director, Meredith Perreault. A lively discussion was held for nearly an hour on a variety of renewable energy topics. Most of the audience stayed through the end even though it was 45 minutes longer than scheduled.

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The next Speaker Series event is Art and Ecology: Artists and Their Passions on Sunday, May 17th from 3-6 pm at the Homer Center for the Arts.