Ontario Bays Initiative - News & Events

A brief introduction...

Julie Covey

The Ontario Bays Initiative, Inc. Board of Directors is pleased to announce the creation of a part-time Executive Director position for the organization. Julie K. Covey, long time newsletter editor and consultant, has agreed to fill the contracted position.

Julie’s position may be new, but working closely with the OBI Board is something that she has been involved with for many years. She has been the editor for this newsletter since its inception in 2004, as well as also working on several other graphics-related projects for the organization. In addition, Julie has worked with our former land steward Lee Russell on diverse projects, including field work for easements, as well as the yearly inspections of properties, enabling her to better understand what makes up OBI.

Julie is a north country native, having grown up in the village of Dexter and graduated from General Brown. She attained her Bachelors of Science from SUNY Oswego, majoring in Zoology with a minor in Geology. Her work in the field in Northern NY is extensive, including seasonal work as a dune and alvar steward for The Nature Conservancy, and fisheries work with the Department of Environmental Conservation. Julie has also edited several newsletters, including those for The North Country Bird Club and the Onondaga Audubon Society, Inc.

Julie professional and personal interests in nature meld in many areas. Photographing nature, whether it be wildflowers in the woods behind her family’s house, or trying to get a picture of the latest hawk her children have spotted flying over, is a common occurrence.

We are proud to welcome Julie as our new Executive Director. Her appointment will provide enhanced cohesion for OBI and many other benefits to our organization.


First of all, I want to wish you a meaningful and Happy Holiday Season! It is hard to believe that 2013 is coming to an end. Time really does fly when you are having fun!

First of all, MAJOR NEWS from OBI/ELOC! We have an agreement with Julie Covey for her to become our contracted Executive Director! This is a BIG DEAL!

As you know, I have been telling you again and again in these reports that OBI/ELOC is working to attain a “higher level!” This growth is a major step along the way. You will read about this and Julie elsewhere in the newsletter but let it be known that I am very PLEASED with this key development for our organization!

Those of you who know Julie will agree that she will contribute much! (She already has during her stint with us as consultant).

Without your support, it would not have been possible to accomplish this, so I want to Say THANKS for your support over the last year and previous years as well! Our all-volunteer board truly appreciates the FRIENDS OF OBI, as well as all of our supporters! THANKS!!

As with every organization, there are TRANSITIONS! We are somewhat sad to announce the departure of Ruth Uhlig, Lee Russell and Kevin Smith from our board! All have contributed much in their own way! Lee has been a member of the board (and served as Land Steward) for many years, and as I have mentioned before, has been the heart and soul of OBI/ELOC in many ways. Ruth Uhlig also has been a long time board member, and her contributions include organizing our annual “FriendRraiser” for the last 5 or so years! Kevin has contributed much with his insight into relations with community and local governments and his professional approach!!

OBI Friend Raiser
Just some of the people who attended the OBI “Friend Raiser” on August 14, 2013.

We will miss these board members and say THANKS 2 much for your service!

We are PLEASED to announce that we are adding two new board members to the organization! Carla Malmgren and Michelle Bouchard are joining our board!

Read more about them elsewhere in the newsletter!

Lastly, as we move to attain excellence, we continue to need your help and support!

I would like 2014 to be a record year for our FRIENDS program, so PLEASE become A FRIEND OF OBI/ELOC in 2014 and beyond! Even if you cannot be a friend, your contributions are important to us.

We need your help to sustain our existing properties, move toward accreditation, as well as protecting land in our area! As I have mentioned, Land Conservation is an expensive proposition, and we need your help! PLEASE!!


Jim LaPlante

We invite you to join us at The Crescent Yacht Club, Chaumont, NY to benefit the conservation efforts of Ontario Bays Initiative, Inc.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013 5:00 – 8:00 PM

40.00 per person. Reservations requested by August 7.
Comfortable clothing and shoes recommended. Families Welcome!
For more information, please call Tracy Valentine, OBI’s Secretary at 767-4330.
The Crescent Yacht Club is located at 27300 Independence Point Road, Chaumont, NY.
Please note, many Friends levels include admission to this Fundraiser

We look forward to seeing you!

Doe with fawnsWow! Did this year go by fast! Certainly for me! It seems like just yesterday I was writing the 2011 year end  message!

I would like to take this opportunity to first let you know what OBI accomplished in 2012, and also give you some “sneak peeks” into what will be going on in 2013!

A successful Pt. Peninsula educational event for large landowners was held in July of 2012. This event was an extension of our overall Pt. Peninsula assessment, which has been a 2+ year project! Among the attendees were several large landowners as well as Lyme town board members. This event was an “outreach” event, and introduced OBI to the various attendees. Thanks to Jacquie Keating for doing a fine job of organizing! Also thanks to Gerry Smith for his continuing effort on this project. The complete project culminating in the above mentioned event should be beneficial in a number of ways to OBI (and the Pt. Peninsula area) over the “long run!”

We also completed the grant work on Downybrook, and are working on the replacement of several walkways on the property funded by donations from the Eldretts, as well as from our supporters! Thanks to Julie Covey for organizing and volunteers Lee Russell, Chris and Alta Watkins and Mark Wiggins for working on this project!

Also in 2012, the trails on the Eagle Ridge property were cleaned up, marked, and opened to the residents. It is reported that the residents are using the facility, which is EXACTLY what we wanted. A recreation area in the open space (for use by kids, adults and dogs) was also established in an agreement between OBI and Eagle ridge management! Again, Thanks to Julie Covey and her family for assisting in clearing the trail, along with Lee Russell and Mark Wiggins.

I would also like to convey a special “THANK YOU” to Julie Covey (and her family in some cases) for going above and beyond the call of duty to assist OBI in our efforts at both Eagle Ridge and Downybrook!! THANKS JULIE, WILLY, MARIA AND WES!!

Also thanks to Mark Wiggins for his valuable assistance to Lee Russell on several projects! Just a note: there is plenty to do, and we are always looking for VOLUNTEERS for work in the field, office, or however you might want to contribute! You can contact any of the board, or go to www.obilandtrust.org to contact us.

We have also continued our steady march toward accreditation by LTA, our parent organization. We have adopted a number of policies and record keeping functions that move us closer to that goal

Also in 2012 we added a new Board member - Kelly Reinhardt, who should bring our board marketing and community expertise! Expect to hear MUCH MORE from her - and US!

Enough of 2012! Let’s look ahead to 2013. As I mentioned above, you will be hearing more from us this year! A couple things in the works are a strategic evaluation and possibly a name change for OBI! As you can imagine, this will be a major undertaking! STAY TUNED!

Also, we will continue work on the accreditation process as noted above. We also have some plans to improve upon existing easements and in fee properties, as well as keep on looking for new opportunities to protect land in our Service area!

I want to say THANKS much to all of the “Friends of OBI” along with other contributors!

Also a Major THANK YOU to our “all volunteer” Board of Directors and our 2 consultants! All of these people contribute above and beyond the call of duty!

Land Protection and conservation is an expensive proposition, as I have said before, and we cannot do it without your support! I ask that Friends renew their “friendship” for 2013, maybe even at a new level, and if you are not a friend, please become one! There is a form included in the newsletter! We look forward to a GREAT 2013, and again, THANKS MUCH for all of your support!

Ontario Bays Initiative, Inc. was among 53 non-profit land trusts in the state to receive a grant through the Conservation Partnership Program last month. OBI received a $6,500 grant from the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) that will allow the land trust to improve record-keeping, develop policies, and continue conservation efforts on Point Peninsula.

OBI was featured in the Watertown Daily Times on April 24, 2012 in an article about the LTA grants totaling $257,200 that were awarded to organizations in Northern New York.

"The OBI Board thanks the New York State Conservation Partnership Program for the award of this grant as it validates our mission and will allow us to further implement our growth and conservation plans as we move into the future," said Jim LaPlante, chairperson of OBI's Board of Directors. "We appreciate our friends and supporters and are secure in the knowledge that we are progressing in a positive way."

Grants from the LTA have been important to OBI's growth in recent years. A $5,000 grant last year funded an organizational assessment that helped identify OBI's strengths and set priorities.

The latest grant will be used to improve and enhance record-keeping, improve institutional memory, and develop and implement policies regarding LTA standards and practices. The grant will also help OBI to work to ensure that Point Peninsula's ecological assets are a priority. OBI has developed a conservation plan for an 8-square-mile area of state-owned land on the interior of the Point. The interior of the Point is vital to a variety of migrating and wintering birds, and it is also important to waterfowl and grassland birds.

The "Friends of OBI" Program was launched in 2010 as a way to recognize and encourage financial support of our non-profit and trust organization. The Ontario Bays Initiative, Inc. Board of Directors greatly appreciates all of those who have joined our honor roll of donors to support the work of OBI, which is an all-volunteer land trust. Thank you for making a commitment to the conservation efforts of OBI.

We rely upon contributions from the public and grants from foundations to continue our mission to preserve scenic vistas, wildlife habitats, farms and woodlands in and around the Lake Ontario shoreline communities of Jefferson County.

Contributors to the "Friends of OBI" Program are listed below. Join them by filling out the form on this page and mailing it in. An updated "Friends" list will also appear in our newsletter. Donors appear on the list for the calendar year. Please notify us of any omissions or errors and they will be corrected.

As always, donations of any amount are always appreciated.

$1500 Steward of the Land Patron of the Land
Helen & Mary Eldrett, Brownville, New York
Dr. Charles K. & Tanya M. Stone, Verona, Wisconsin

$500 Guardian of the Land
Nancy Young Duncan, Washington, D.C.
Ed & Tracy Valentine Watertown, New York

$250 Patron of the Land
Verna Docteur, Chaumont, New York
Robert D. Hill, Sleepy Hollow, New York
Urban & Sally Hirschey, Cape Vincent, New York
Jim & Rosanne LaPlante, Watertown, New York
Lee. Russell, Evans Mills, New York
Robert & Ruth Uhlig, Cape Vincent , New York
Keith Walker , Cape Vincent , New York
Joan Treadwell Woods, Henderson, New York

$100 Protector of the Land
Maureen A. Barros, Toronto, Ontario Canada
Lake Ontario Realty, Chaumont, New York
Mr. & Mrs. H. Pim Goodbody, Jr., Williamstown, Massachusetts
Deanne Scanlon, Chaumont, New York
Roxanne Pratt, Redwood, New York
Kevin & Mary Ellen Smith, Sackets Harbor, New York

Page 1 of 3
You are here: Home News & Events