BY JIM AUSTIN
THE COOPERSTOWN CRIER
Many people spent Earth Day weekend making the world a greener place by planting the trees and shrubs they ordered from the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual sale.
District Conservation Technician Jordan Clements, who is in charge of the annual tree and shrub sale, said Friday as he helped distribute orders that sales were off a little this year.
According to Clements, in 2011 the district received 240 orders and this year 200 orders were received.
Despite orders being down, the total number of trees and shrubs was fairly consistent, he said. In 2011, the district sold 22,000 trees and shrubs. This year, people placed orders for almost 20,000.
“It’s been a success so far. The numbers are right around the same,” Clements said Friday while he helped fill orders. Clements said they had some help with the sale this year from two inmates from the county jail, who helped sort orders.
“They’ve done very well. They were very good help,” he said. “Sheriff Devlin has been very good about helping us out.”
Clements said he hopes to be able to get some inmates to help with the district’s own tree planting.
The district’s tree list includes many varieties of hardwoods and conifers, ornamental shrubs and fruit trees Clements said the spruces and firs are generally the most popular, but added that “fruit trees have been big this year.” Blueberries are another good seller, he said.
He said many people make tree planting an annual family event that involves everyone from young children to grandparents. Also popular this year are 40-pound bags compost from Schenectady County.
Clements said he had already sold three-and-a-half tons of the bagged compost. The compost ismade entirely of yard waste.
Next year, Clements said he hopes to be selling Otsego County compost.
He recently received the go-ahead from the board of representatives to start up a pilot composting project. His goal is to take yard waste and food waste from the jail, Otsego Manor and Meals on Wheels and in three months turn it into rich, black compost that can be bagged and sold as a soil amendment.
The benefits of composting the waste for the county are two-fold, he said. It will reduce the waste stream and bring in a little extra revenue.