By Eric Malanoski (Townsquare Media News)

The Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) is pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. Leslie Orzetti as the new Executive Director. Dr. Orzetti comes with a wealth of experience in natural resource conservation, having working in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for over 20 years. Joining OCCA will allow Leslie to continue her work in water resources and add to her list of accomplishments.

Dr. Orzetti comes to OCCA after ten years in education, where she served as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Northern Virginia Community College and as an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University. She taught graduate and undergraduate courses in biology, applied ecology, and watershed management, and developed an undergraduate-level environmental law course. Prior to serving as a professor, Dr. Orzetti served as a Fish and Wildlife Biologist and the Senior Scientist at Ecosystem Solutions, Inc., a small non-profit in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that focused on restoration, conservation and education. Orzetti said, “I am excited to start a new challenge with OCCA. I hope my background in water resource conservation will prove beneficial, and that we’ll be able to continue doing the great work that OCCA is known for.”

Dr. Bill Harman, OCCA vice president and Biological Field Station Director, said, “Leslie brings the right combination of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm needed to lead OCCA into our fiftieth year.”

OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley "We're thrilled to have Leslie joining us. Her background and experience will be a great asset to OCCA as we continue moving forward with our mission of protecting Otsego County's natural environment."

Orzetti and her family moved into Cooperstown from Northern Virginia in early June and love the area already. In her spare time she loves spending time with her family taking advantage of all the wonderful outdoor adventures that Otsego County has to offer.