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Clinton Community College Hosts Environmental Trade Fair

Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh hosted an Environmental Trade Fair Wednesday to show students how businesses impact the environment — and how they could offer potential clean and green jobs.
This is the second year the college has hosted the environmental trade fair.  Presenters represented business, agricultural, advocacy, agency, engineering and management sectors.  Clinton Community College Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Technology Gary Henry organized the event.   “The purpose is to expose the students to a wide range of businesses, agencies non-profit groups that work with the environment. So on one hand you’ve got companies here that hire people to work in the environmental industry, environmental related industries, agriculture, environmental engineering, all sorts of things like that. And then you’ve got students who may not be interested in working in that field but might be interested in getting involved in environmental advocacy of one kind of another: so Lake Champlain Committee, Champlain Area Trails, so things like that. So we have a diverse representation of environmental related groups.”

Along one wall: displays and posters from water and waste treatment facilities.  Casella Waste Systems General Manager Bill Meyers says this allows them to showcase career opportunities for students and let the public know about the company’s environmental stewardship.   “A lot of times it’s put at the curb it disappears and that’s all we kind of think about. We don’t realize the impact that for every pound of trash has adds to our air quality or potentially to our water quality. Where does it go? It goes to a local landfill. And then that’s a finite resource. Those eventually won’t exist. So how can we prolong that? Or how can we be creative in figuring out different solutions to either reduce it or minimize it or the goal of completely eliminating it.”

The exhibit for the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge drew crowds as handlers showcased live owls. Hope Nicyter-Meryman held Oz, a barn owl, on her arm as she explained how they illustrate what’s occurring in the environment.    “One really great way to tell how healthy an environment is to understand species that are there. An animal that can live in a natural environment will look healthy. So something that is very common to this area is a barred owl.  Barred owls have a huge plight right now. Because a lot of what they eat are rodents, and rodents get attracted to roads where people throw their food, they’re getting hit by vehicles. So what we’re asking people to do instead of throwing food out of their window: save it in a little bag and compost it later.  We also want people to understand how important these animals are to our environment and our health. These guys are major mousers.  Barn owls can eat 12,000 mice in their lifetime, saving farmers roughly 13 metric tons of grain.”

Other groups that participated in the trade fair included the Lake Champlain Basin Program, Clinton County Soil & Water Conservation District, Cornell Cooperative Extension,  Lake Champlain International, Champlain Area Trails, and the Lake Champlain Committee.