It was gratifying to see the Aug. 2 article on improvements in the health of Otsego Lake resulting from the work of the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station and its director, Dr. William Harman. Indeed, Otsego Lake’s well-being is the result of efforts from many people and organizations. As I read the article, one person in particular came to my mind — former executive director of the Otsego County Conservation Association, Teresa Winchester.
I came to know Teresa while I was on the OCCA board of directors in the mid-1990s. After taking a tour of barnyard water management projects in the area, Teresa suggested that OCCA raise funds to help more farmers participate in these types of projects. In so doing, OCCA would be creating a “win-win” situation by protecting the lake and reducing the financial burden of farmers willing to implement water pollution mitigation measures on their farms.
In 1996, we started with projects on three farms, working in partnership with the local USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. By 2006, OCCA had funded more than 40 such projects, having raised $425,000 from grants and leveraged $1.5 million in federal funds to carry out this work.
It was Teresa who drew the dots between the lines, brought the issue to our board and wrote grants to procure funding for a program that became a cornerstone of our organization. This kind of foresight, spirit of cooperation and “can-do” attitude is what Teresa Winchester will bring to the county board if elected. She will add a much-need positive energy, both to District 2 (Butternuts, Morris, Pittsfield) and to the entire county.
I urge voters in her district to take a good look at her qualifications at www.winchestercountyrep.com and vote for her Nov. 5.