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November 11, 2013

Pesticides benched at Doubleday Field

What began last year as an effort to reduce reliance on the application of synthetic pesticides at historic Doubleday Field in Cooperstown succeeded this year in eliminating use of the toxic herbicides and pesticides altogether, village Mayor Jeff Katz said Sunday.

“We decided last year we wanted to move away from pesticides and this year we got it all the way down to zero,” said Katz.

Katz said village officials and the head groundskeeper for Doubleday field, Quentin Hasak, were given guidance by Jennifer Grant, co-director of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell University in how to wean the field from herbicide applications.

Grant discussed her work over the weekend to attendees at the Glimmerglass Film Days, a new film festival organized by Otsego 2000.

The village’s accomplishment this year at a playing field widely regarded as a shrine to the national pastime will likely attract national recognition, as the environmental movement has been highlighting its concerns with the health impacts of chemicals to treat lawns and playgrounds, officials said.

Doubleday Field, one of the nation’s most famous baseball diamonds, is owned and managed by the Village of Cooperstown. The field hosts more than 250 events each year. In 2004, it was named Baseball Field of the Year by the Sports Turf Managers Association.

The move to eradicate synthetic pesticides at Doubleday has its genesis in the pressure first applied on the village several years ago by Michael Whaling of Sharon Springs. The stonewall builder and Vietnam veteran argued that the use of toxic herbicides would result in carcinogens getting into Otsego Lake, the supply of drinking water for some 2,000 people.

Whaling said he was thankful to both Katz and village Trustee James Dean, the chairman of the village’s Environmental Committee, for shepherding the goal of eliminating pesticides at the field.

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