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30th Annual Winter Environmental Conference a Great Success

February 15th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Over 130 members of the River community came together at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel on Saturday, February 2, 2019, for Save The River’s 30th annual Winter Environmental Conference. Conference attendees had the opportunity to hear from and engage with a diverse group of speakers discussing a variety of topics related to the environmental health of the St. Lawrence River.

Peter Annin, author, and director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College, kicked off the conference with an in-depth look at the long history of political maneuvers and water diversions that have proposed sending the resource of Great Lakes freshwater everywhere from Akron to Arizona. Annin discussed the history of the Great Lakes Compact, the legal document that went into effect in 2008, and explored several diversions that already exist and potential future diversions including the controversial Foxconn project that continues to make international headlines. At the lunch hour, Annin hosted an author meet and greet, providing attendees with the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of his recently revised and re-released book, The Great Lakes Water Wars.

Evie Brahmstedt, an Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. student at Clarkson University’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment, presented the findings of her ongoing research of mercury in St. Lawrence River wetlands. Working in Dr. Michael Twiss’ Limnology lab, Brahmstedt is studying the amount of mercury present in St. Lawrence River wetlands, where it is going, in what form, and how quickly; as her research continues, Brahmstedt will keep Save The River updated on her findings.

Elaine Tack, a film producer and director and Save The River volunteer, was unable to make the trip to Clayton due to the winter storm but used her filmmaking skills to record and submit her presentation electronically. Tack introduced how she approaches the task of creating a documentary film, allowing the story to reveal itself in the process, and how serendipitous moments sometimes lead to key elements like the film’s title. Following Tack’s introduction video, the audience enjoyed the North Country premiere of “It’s Hard to be a Tern,” her short documentary following the work of Save The River, under the guidance of Dr. Lee Harper, to restore the population of common terns on the St. Lawrence River.

Following the lunch break, Rick Gregware, Save The River Board Director, presented the Friend of the River Award™ posthumously honoring Kenneth Deedy for his longtime contributions to protect the St. Lawrence River. Deedy served on Save The River’s Board of Directors from the mid-1980s to 1990s at a pivotal time in the organization’s history. Shortly before Deedy’s passing in August 2018, one of his final acts of generosity was creating the “Kenneth Deedy Environmental Internship Fund” to benefit the work of Save The River, Thousand Islands Land Trust, and Minna Anthony Common Nature Center and ensuring that these organizations will continue to work together for the common good of the River.

Dr. John Casselman, an adjunct professor in the Biology Department at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, provided a fascinating exploration of the elusive American eel, a species of great historical importance to the region that has faced a catastrophic decline in population. Once representing one half of the inshore fish biomass of the St. Lawrence River system, the American eel is now classified as an Endangered by Ontario and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Chad Lord, policy director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lake Coalition, discussed one of the greatest threats to the health of the Great Lakes, Asian carp. Lord provided a historical exploration of why Asian carp were brought to the United States, how they escaped to open water systems, and the characteristics of the four Asian carp species. Lord discussed the components of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) proposed plan to block Asian carp at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River southwest of Chicago, Illinois. The USACE plan is currently open to public comment and Save The River encouraged audience members to sign petitions at their tables in support of the plan.

Despite the sobering findings that she discussed, Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason, Ph.D., Sustainability Coordinator at Penn State Behrend, brought great energy to her afternoon presentation “The Perils of Plastics.” Mason discussed some of her recent studies that showed the presence of micro and nano-plastics in beer, tap water, and bottled water and discussed the emerging studies of microplastic that is shed from fabrics. Previous research by Dr. Mason led to the federal ban of microbeads in consumer goods like toothpaste and face wash. Mason concluded her presentation with a rallying cry that when it comes to plastic in our environment, “Although we are the problem…that also means, we are the solution.”

The day concluded with an overview of two new sustainability initiatives gaining momentum in River communities. Robin Lucas, Save The River Board Director, discussed the goals of Save The River’s Replace Single-Use Plastics program, including educating community members and businesses about the harm caused by single-use plastic items like bags, utensils, straws, and take out containers while seeking environmentally-friendly, affordable, reusable alternatives. Liz Price-Kellogg and Monica Behan introduced All In the Same Boat, a new sustainability movement that encourages conversation and education to transform our communities. Following the conference, All In the Same Boat hosted a free community event at the Clayton Opera House where attendees screened a short film and brought their own cup in order to enjoy complimentary beverages.

“Preparations for the winter conference begin in July and August, so for months, we have been excited to bring these speakers to the River to share their vast knowledge. Throughout the day we heard positive feedback about the quality of the outstanding speakers and their presentations,” said John Peach, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Save The River executive director. “We’re proud to put together this important event and showcase an array of River-related topics from protecting our freshwater resource, to studying contaminants like mercury and plastics in our water, to the status of endangered and threatened species, and what we can do about the of invasive species.”

For the first time, Save The River was able to offer a live stream feed of the entire conference. Working with Steve Weed Productions, the speakers were able to reach an even wider audience with one person tuning in all the way from the Dominican Republic. The video of the conference will be made available to all, both in its entirety and broken down into separate clips of each speaker; links will be shared on Save The River’s social media pages, website, and through their eNewsletter.

The Winter Environmental Conference was made possible through the support of business sponsors including Uncle Sam Boat Tours, Antique Boat America, Wellesley Island Building Supply, Horizon Marina, Converse Laboratories, Inc., The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, Sotheby’s International Realty, Bach & Co., and Ed Huck Marine and many individual sponsors.

Next year’s Winter Environmental Conference will be held on February 1, 2020.

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Now Accepting Applications for 2019 Seasonal Interns

February 11th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Save The River is now accepting applications for two seasonal (mid-May through Labor Day) paid internship positions. Save The River interns have the opportunity to work closely with staff and volunteers while gaining invaluable experience at the region’s leading environmental advocacy nonprofit organization. Click here to read the complete position description.

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 15, 2019. 

Save The River interns manage a diverse workload with primary responsibilities that include working in the storefront managing merchandise sales and encouraging visitors to become members, promoting public education, representing Save The River at community events including bass fishing tournaments, and implementing fieldwork projects including Beach Watch, Common Tern Monitoring, Shoreline Cleanups, and Catch and Release programs.

Ideal candidates will be enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate environmental or related program, have familiarity with the St. Lawrence River and community, and flexibility to work weekends and some nights.

To apply: send resume, cover letter, and contact information for at least one professional and one personal reference to Save The River, 409 Riverside Drive, Clayton, New York 13624, or email full application package to info@savetheriver.orgIn order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process, please write your name (Last, First) and Summer Internship as the subject line of your email.

 

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Calling All Photographers!

February 4th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

We are now accepting submissions of St. Lawrence River photos for our annual calendar photo contest. All photos will be considered, including film prints and digital images, and pictures from all seasons on the River are encouraged. Over 90 images will be included in the calendar.

Photographers whose submissions are chosen as one of the 14 featured images (cover and 13 months) will receive a complimentary 2019-2020 calendar. Calendars will be available for sale in May 2019 with all proceeds directly supporting Save The River’s river protection programs.

The deadline for submission is March 4, 2019.

Information on submitting photos:

  • Submissions should include contact information including first and last name, mailing address, and email address.
  • Digital images must be high resolution and greater than 300 dpi. (Hint: The file size will be approximately 3 MB or larger).
  • Photographers submitting photos grant Save The River a non-exclusive right to use the image(s) for any purpose in perpetuity. Ownership of the image will remain the property of the photographer.
  • Photos can be submitted to Save The River via email to margaret@savetheriver.org with ‘Calendar Photo Contest’ in the subject or via postal mail to Save The River, Attention Calendar Photo Contest, 409 Riverside Drive, Clayton, NY, 13624.

Caption: The cover image of the 2018-2019 Save The River calendar was a unique submerged shot of the River bottom, taken by Anthony Ingerson. 

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Stopping Asian Carp: Past, Present, and Future

February 1st, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Asian carp are one of the biggest threats facing the Great Lakes today. The damage caused by this invasive fish could devastate the world’s largest surface freshwater resource. At tomorrow’s 30th Annual Winter Environmental Conference Chad Lord will look at this threat, examine what has already been done to keep these fish out and provide insights into where the region can go to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

Chad Lord serves as the Policy Director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, where he develops and guides the implementation of the Coalition’s legislative and policy agenda in Washington, D.C. Before joining the HOW Coalition, Chad served for five years as senior legislative assistant for U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN). Chad’s portfolio included energy, environment, transportation, international trade and budget and appropriations. Chad lives with his husband and 5-year old daughter in Washington, D.C. Chad was raised in southwest Minnesota and lived in there before moving to the District of Columbia. He attended St. Olaf College where he majored in political science and received his Bachelor of Arts in 1995.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Peter Annin will analyze the future of Great Lakes water diversion management.
  • Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason will discuss the realities of plastic pollution right here, right now in the Great Lakes region.
  • Evie Brahmstedt will describe her ongoing research about mercury in St. Lawrence wetlands.
  • Elaine Tack will present It’s Hard to be a Tern, her short film exploring Save The River’s common tern restoration program.
  • Dr. John Casselman will discuss the catastrophic decline of the American eel in the St. Lawrence River system.

Hear Chad speak tomorrow, February 2 at the WEC, hosted at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Call (315) 686-2010 to register; $50 conference fee includes morning coffee and pastries, lunch, afternoon snack, and light appetizers during cocktail hour (cash bar).

 New this year: for those unable to make the trip to Clayton, we will be hosting a professional live stream of the WEC. In order to support this exciting new offering, there is a suggested donation of $25. The hyperlink for the live stream will be shared later today.

 

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Will Plan 2014 Create a Risk for Mercury Contamination?

January 30th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

St. Lawrence River wetlands contain a legacy of mercury content from past and present atmospheric deposition. Wetlands are considered areas of active mercury transformation and cycling, particularly those experiencing water level fluctuations. At this Saturday’s Winter Environmental Conference, Evie Brahmstedt will describe her current research of mercury in St. Lawrence River wetlands examining how much mercury is present, where it is going, in what form, and how quickly.

Brahmstedt is an Environmental and Engineering Ph.D. student at Clarkson University’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment. Working in Dr. Michael Twiss’ Limnology lab, she is studying mercury cycling in freshwater riparian wetlands with a focus on the St. Lawrence River. Upon earning her Ph.D., Brahmstedt hopes to become a professor at an institution where she can further her research of freshwater wetland systems, teach and inspire future scientists, and be involved with environmental management through organizations that function at the interface of science and policy. In her spare time, Brahmstedt enjoys running marathon races.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Peter Annin will analyze the future of Great Lakes water diversion management.
  • Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason will discuss the realities of plastic pollution right here, right now in the Great Lakes region.
  • Dr. John Casselman will explore the American eel, an elusive and highly migratory species whose population has faced a catastrophic decline in recent years.
  • Elaine Tack will present It’s Hard to be a Tern, her short film exploring Save The River’s common tern restoration program.
  • Chad Lord will explore the threat of Asian carp and what can be done to keep these invasive fish out of the Great Lakes.

Hear Evie Brahmstedt speak Saturday, February 2 at the WEC, hosted at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Call (315) 686-2010 to register; $50 conference fee includes morning coffee and pastries, lunch, afternoon snack, and light appetizers during cocktail hour (cash bar). Click here for the registration form.  

New this year: for those unable to make the trip to Clayton, we will be hosting a professional live stream of the WEC. In order to support this exciting new offering, there is a suggested donation of $25. The hyperlink for the live stream will be emailed the week of the conference.

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American Eels in the St. Lawrence River System – Going, Going, Gone?

January 29th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

At this Saturday’s 30th Annual Winter Environmental Conference, Dr. John Casselman will speak about the American eel, a species that was once very abundant in the St. Lawrence River system, making up half of the inshore fish biomass and was of great importance to First Nations communities. Learn about the American eel, an elusive and highly migratory species that spawns in the Sargasso Sea and matures in the continental waters of North America but whose population has catastrophically declined in recent years. What is unique about this important indicator species and are they going, going, gone?

Dr. John Casselman is an adjunct professor in the Biology Department at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Casselman is a fisheries ecologist and environmental physiologist who has numerous publications in the primary literature, reports, and book chapters on numerous aspects of fisheries science. He has published and presented widely on eels, climate change, fish and fisheries and has received numerous awards, including, in 2008, the American Fisheries Society prestigious Award of Excellence.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Peter Annin will analyze the future of Great Lakes water diversion management.
  • Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason will discuss the realities of plastic pollution right here, right now in the Great Lakes region.
  • Evie Brahmstedt will describe her ongoing research about mercury in St. Lawrence wetlands.
  • Elaine Tack will present It’s Hard to be a Tern, her short film exploring Save The River’s common tern restoration program.
  • Chad Lord will explore the threat of Asian carp and what can be done to keep these invasive fish out of the Great Lakes.

Hear Dr. Casselman speak Saturday, February 2 at the WEC, hosted at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Call (315) 686-2010 to register; $50 conference fee includes morning coffee and pastries, lunch, afternoon snack, and light appetizers during cocktail hour (cash bar). Click here for the registration form. 

New this year: for those unable to make the trip to Clayton, we will be hosting a professional live stream of the WEC. In order to support this exciting new offering, there is a suggested donation of $25. The hyperlink for the live stream will be emailed the week of the conference.

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Dr. Sherri Mason, Groundbreaking Researcher in Plastics Pollution, to Speak at Winter Environmental Conference

January 28th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

‘Single-Use’ plastic was named the word of the year by Collins Dictionary highlighting the wave of news stories, social media hits, and policies that have become increasingly common over the last few years. Why? What is the problem with plastic?

At this year’s Winter Environmental Conference, Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason will present a basic primer on what plastic is and the realities of plastic pollution right here, right now in the Great Lakes region.

Dr. Mason earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and completed her doctorate in Chemistry at the University of Montana as a NASA Earth System Science scholar. While a Professor of Chemistry at SUNY Fredonia, her research group was among the first to study the prevalence and impact of plastic pollution within freshwater ecosystems. Among her accolades Dr. Mason was named an EPA Environmental Champion in 2016, was awarded for her Excellence in Environmental Research by the Earth Month Network in 2017 and was selected to receive a Heinz Award in Public Policy in 2018. She has recently moved into a new role as Sustainability Coordinator at Penn State Behrend.

Watch Dr. Mason’s Tedx Talk Beads of Destruction.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Peter Annin will analyze the future of Great Lakes water diversion management.
  • Evie Brahmstedt will describe her ongoing research about mercury in St. Lawrence wetlands.
  • Elaine Tack will present It’s Hard to be a Tern, her short film exploring Save The River’s common tern restoration program.
  • John Casselman will discuss the catastrophic decline of the American eel in the St. Lawrence River system.
  • Chad Lord will explore the threat of Asian carp and what can be done to keep these invasive fish out of the Great Lakes.

Hear Dr. Mason speak Saturday, February 2 at the WEC, hosted at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Call (315) 686-2010 to register; $50 conference fee includes morning coffee and pastries, lunch, afternoon snack, and light appetizers during cocktail hour (cash bar). Click here for the registration form. 

New this year: for those unable to make the trip to Clayton, we will be hosting a professional live stream of the WEC. In order to support this exciting new offering, there is a suggested donation of $25. The hyperlink for the live stream will be emailed the week of the conference.

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Peter Annin, Leading Expert on Water Diversions, to Speak at the Winter Environmental Conference

January 28th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Peter Annin, author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, will be our featured speaker at this year’s Winter Environmental Conference (WEC). Learn about the long history of political maneuvers and water diversion schemes that have proposed sending Great Lakes water everywhere from Akron to Arizona. Through the prism of the past, this talk analyzes the future of the Great Lakes water diversion management, currently controlled by the Great Lakes Compact, a legal document that went into effect in 2008. Learn about several noteworthy Great Lakes diversions that already exist, along with potential water diversions of the future, including the controversial Foxconn water diversion that has been proposed south of Milwaukee, WI.

Peter Annin is the director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College in Ashland, WI. Before coming to Northland College in 2015, Peter served as a reporter at Newsweek, the associate director of the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources, and the managing director of the University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Change Initiative. He continues to report on the Great Lakes water diversion issue and published a second edition of The Great Lakes Water Wars in the fall of 2018.

In addition to hearing Peter speak at the WEC, you’ll be able to purchase a copy of his recently released, revised version of The Great Lakes Water Wars ($30) and have your copy signed during an author meet and greet (hosted during the 12 – 1 pm lunch hour of WEC).

Hear Peter speak Saturday, February 2 at the WEC, hosted at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Call (315) 686-2010 to register; $50 conference fee includes morning coffee and pastries, lunch, afternoon snack, and light appetizers during cocktail hour (cash bar). Click here for the registration form. 

New this year: for those unable to make the trip to Clayton, we will be hosting a professional live stream of the WEC. In order to support this exciting new offering, there is a suggested donation of $25. The hyperlink for the live stream will be emailed the week of the conference.

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Register for the 30th Winter Environmental Conference

January 3rd, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Click Here for the Winter Environmental Conference Registration Form

Send us your completed registration form either by postal mail (409 Riverside Drive, Clayton, NY, 13624) or by email (kendall@savetheriver.org); we can also process your registration over the phone, call us at (315) 686-2010. 

This year we celebrate the 30th year of this important annual event. Thirty years of gathering to hear from national and regional policymakers, scientists, opinion leaders, students, and teachers about the topics of critical importance to the health of the St. Lawrence River. At this year’s conference, you’ll learn about the diversion of Great Lakes freshwater, research on American eels, the threat of Asian carp, plastics in our water, and research of mercury cycling in St. Lawrence River wetlands. We will also be premiering our short film, It’s Hard to be a Tern. We hope that you will join us in Clayton on the first Saturday of February! Please register by Friday, January 25, 2019.

SPEAKERS

  • Peter Annin Author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, originally published in 2006, revised and updated edition published in 2018. Director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.
  • Dr. John Casselmann Adjunct professor of biology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario whose research focuses on American eels, a species whose population declined so greatly in recent decades that they are classified as an endangered species in Ontario.
  • Chad Lord Policy director of Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, a group of more than 150 environmental, conservation, and outdoor recreation organizations all working toward restoring and protecting the Great Lakes. Chad will discuss the threat of Asian carp and the current work being done to prevent their spread into the Lakes.
  • Dr. Sherri Mason Professor at SUNY Fredonia, pioneered the first-ever survey of plastics pollution in the Great Lakes. Her findings led to the federal ban on plastic microbeads in consumer products like toothpaste, face wash, and more.
  • Elaine Tack spent her 14-year broadcast journalism career reporting in Chicago, Cleveland, and Las Vegas. She is well-known in the 1000 Islands for her generosity in using her time and talent to create films for local organizations.
  • Evie Brahmstedt, Ph.D. Student at Clarkson University, will discuss her research in mercury cycling in wetlands, with a focus on the St. Lawrence River.

SCHEDULE

  • 9:30 am: Registration and morning coffee; 10:00 am – 4:00 pm: Presentations (break for lunch from 12:00 – 1:00 pm); 4:00 pm: Cocktail reception with cash bar. The final schedule with the order of speakers will be released in January.

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS

  • Save The River has reserved a limited block of rooms at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel starting at $119 per night. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at (315) 686-1100. This discount rate is guaranteed through January 9.

*NEW THIS YEAR – LIVE STREAM*

  • For those who are unable to make the trip to Clayton, we will be hosting a professional live stream of the conference. The hyperlink to the live stream will be shared the week of the conference. In order to support this exciting new offering, please consider making an additional contribution of $25.

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How to Make a Gift of Stock

December 18th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Thank you for considering a gift of stock to Save The River. The following instructions will provide you and your broker/financial manager with more information on how to make the gift.

  • Please write a letter to your broker and instruct them that you wish to make a gift of stock to Save The River. Please provide your broker with the following information and specify how many shares of which stock and to which fund you are donating it to. Be sure to have your broker include your name as the donor.
  • RBC Wealth Management – DTC # 0235 Save The River Account # 30951020
  • Please have your broker forward copies of your letter to each of the following so that an appropriate gift acknowledgment can be sent to you:

Mrs. Patti Kittle
RBC Wealth Management
19485 US Route 11
Watertown, NY 13601
Fax: (315) 788-6964

And

Linda Wright
Save The River
409 Riverside Drive
Clayton, NY 13624
Fax: (315) 686-3632

If you need further information on the transaction, please call Patti Kittle at RBC Wealth Management, (315) 788-4200.

Thank you again for supporting Save The River!

Gifts of Stock Instructions – Save The River

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