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For Release: Friday, November 9, 2012

Upstate Cerebral Palsy Partners with DEC to Keep State Forests Litter Free

Model Program can be Adopted by Other Non-Profits

Proving that partnerships are the key to successful programs, the Upstate Cerebral Palsy Association is working with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to keep several of the State's forests clean and litter free, DEC announced today. The association, located in Morrisville, Madison County, has been removing litter from Stoney Pond State Forest and Nelson Swamp Unique Area, two popular recreational spots in Madison County, twice a week for more than two years. Working in two groups with six people in each group, clients from Upstate's Morrisville Day Habilitation remove an average of two bags of garbage each week from the two recreational areas that are popular with hikers, bird watchers, cross country skiers, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts.

"This is an outstanding partnership between a local non-profit and DEC," said DEC Regional Director Ken Lynch. "The Upstate Cerebral Palsy Association is providing a valuable service for DEC while the association's clients are learning life skills and enjoying state lands. We are very appreciative of the work the group is undertaking and we commend their staff for working with us on this project."

Karen Lindsay, Director of Madison County Programs, reached out to DEC with the concept for this program. "Being able to enjoy the outdoors has always been important to me," she said. "With state government reducing in size over the last several years, it made me realize that we have come to rely too much on the government instead of participating with them. I also knew how much the individuals at the Morrisville Day Habilitation enjoy being outdoors and contributing to society. Considering these things, I realized how wonderful it would be for the individuals to volunteer for DEC."

Lindsay reached out to DEC staff in Sherburne who quickly realized the benefits of working with Lindsay and her clients. Upstate Cerebral Palsy operates under the DEC's Adopt a Natural Resources Program (AANR) which allows DEC to enter into stewardship agreements with individuals and organizations for activities which help preserve or enhance natural resources on lands under its jurisdiction. Volunteerism is the cornerstone of this program. It is a means for completing work that helps preserve, maintain and enhance natural resources at minimum cost to the state. Such activities may involve remediating vandalism, picking up litter and trash, establishing or maintaining access or nature trails, providing interpretive services for school groups and other citizens, managing fish and wildlife habitats, and otherwise providing positive benefits to the natural resource.

The Morrisville group works with several other non-profits in Madison County including the Cazenovia Art Park, Habitat for Humanity, Oneida Towers, Root Farm, SPCA and local churches. Volunteer activities provide the individuals with the opportunity to learn socialization skills and employment skills.

"Those who work at the state lands are happy to do so. They think it is important to provide the community with a beautiful natural environment for recreational purposes," continued Lindsay.

As volunteer Christopher Kerifien said, "It's nice to pick up the trash because it looks better. People shouldn't be throwing stuff in the woods!"

Upstate Cerebral Palsy is a multi-faceted human service agency that provides programs and services for children and adults who are physically, developmentally or mentally challenged and their families. Founded in 1950 by parents of children with handicapping conditions, the Upstate Cerebral Palsy of today continues the historic vision of its founders and is committed to changing the lives of individuals with differing abilities. As the largest human service provider in central New York, Upstate Cerebral Palsy provides services to over 15,000 children, adults and their families each year. The Association has been in Madison County for 11 years and has four homes and one day program in the County which provides services to 22 people.

For further information on the AANR program and how you or your group can partner with the DEC, go to www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/2568.html or contact either the DEC's Land and Forests offices in either Cortland, 315-753-3095 or Sherburne, 607-674-4017.

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