Big (Green) Deal: TILT Event Educates Children on Compost

Originally written for the Watertown Daily Times by Amanda Taylor, who covered TILT’s (Com)Post-Halloween event at Zenda Farm Preserve over the weekend.

Christopher A. Nevala, 7, smashes leftover Halloween pumpkins with a mallet during the (Com)Post Halloween event at Zenda Farms in Clayton on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Amanda Morrison for the Watertown Daily Times.

TILT Event Educates Children on Compost

CLAYTON — Creating a manageable compost heap is not as difficult as many may believe.

“It’s quite simple and should not be intimidating to anyone,” Corinne M. Mockler said.

Ms. Mockler is the coordinator of education and outreach for the Thousand Islands Land Trust. The group organized a (Com)post Halloween on Saturday to educate children and their families on maintaining a compost heap.

“A lot of families have gardens, but we’re not sure how much kids are involved in the gardening or if they are aware of the fact that anything can be composted,” Ms. Mockler said.

People were invited to bring their leftover pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns to Zenda Farms at 38973 Zenda Road and smash them up in a wooden box with a shovel. The pumpkin pieces were combined with old leaves to create compost that will be used in the spring on TILT’s Community Garden.

“Who can resist? You get rid of grass, old jack-o’-lanterns and kids get to go around and smash stuff,” she said.

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GRE(v)EN(ts): (Com)Post-Halloween November 10th with TILT


(Com)Post-Halloween is based on an annual event my Permaculture teacher, Claudia Joseph, hosts at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn. This will be my first time hosting it through TILT and in this community, but based on what I’ve heard so far, the buzz is abuzz and I should expect a good turnout. I mean, kids get to smash pumpkins into pulp and parents get rid of the rotting Jack-o-lanterns from their front porches – everybody wins!


What the F: Bisso’s Claims on Land Trusts Come Under Fire


Wow. I don’t read the Watertown Daily Times every day so I’m only hearing about this now, but apparently some misinformed, tea-party affiliated politician from the 115th District named Karen M. Bisso (pictured below) is under fire for attacking land trusts. This attack oddly included TILT, despite not being in (or anywhere near) her district. I’d like to think that she just pulled our name out of the air because we’ve been doing such a good job of getting our name out there! Luckily, the staff at the Times (strong TILT supporters) essentially spanked Bisso in both Thursday’s article below and an editorial that ran on Saturday. Unfortunately, once untrue information like this gets out to the public, even if it’s immediately disproved, the integrity of an organization is already damaged. Time for some positive PR!

Bisso’s Claims on Land Trusts Come Under Fire


The campaign manager for an Assembly candidate who compared land trusts to Ponzi schemes said the claim was “factually based but off the wall.”

115th Assembly District candidate Karen M. Bisso’s political opponents, the state, the land trusts and an Adirondack Park newspaper say that campaign manager Russell Finley’s explanation for the accusation of widespread municipal scam artistry is half right.

“I think it’s safe to say that she does not understand the way the Nature Conservancy works,” said Connie Trickett, a spokeswoman for the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Mrs. Bisso faces off in a Sept. 13 GOP primary against Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru, and David J. Kimmel, a Clinton County resident. The winner will face Plattsburgh City Councilman Timothy R. Carpenter in the Nov. 6 general election. Mrs. Bisso will be on the ballot in the general election regardless of the Sept. 13 outcome, by virtue of her appearance on the Conservative Party ticket. The district spans into the four easternmost St. Lawrence County towns.

Earlier this month, Mrs. Bisso’s campaign sent out a news release that claimed land trusts use state money to buy land, and then sell the rights for the land back to the state at a profit. Land trusts are nonprofit organizations that work to place conservation restrictions on parcels of land — for example, restrictions that say subdivisions can’t be created on the land.

Mrs. Bisso’s release specifically said the Thousand Islands Land Trust, based in Clayton, and the Nature Conservancy, which is involved in more than 100,000 acres of land deals in the Adirondack Park, are participants in the “scam” that represents the “biggest Ponzi scheme in history.” The campaign also claimed that once acquired by the state, the land is taken off the tax rolls.

Neither of the claims checks out.

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Get Outdoors: A Recap of the 2012 TILT KidsTreks

Now that my first summer with TILT is winding to a close, I thought I would post a quick recap of my favorite part – the KidsTreks! While only part of my job as Coordinator of Education & Outreach, developing, organizing and then experiencing the KidsTreks was a major highlight. The participants’ enthusiasm was infectious and the parents were happy for fun and informative (and free) activities for their kid(s) to do outdoors. All four KidsTreks were booked weeks before they began, which confirmed that there is a major need for this sort of thing along the river. I also got to stretch my graphic design muscles by designing four distinct activity booklets as a keepsake from each trek. I’m not going to show the whole booklets here (stay tuned for the upcoming TILTKids section on the TILT website…), I will show the cover and a sample page. So now, without further ado:

WEEK 1: Art from Nature at the Zenda Farm Preserve

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Get Outdoors! Kayak & Bike Treks with TILT

These outings are part of the TILTreks and Talks series, which encourages living, learning and conserving in the 1000 Islands. For a full schedule, visit

ITEM! My Article in T.I. Life Magazine

I wrote an article for T.I. Life Magazine that was published recently:

Out in the Open

Written by Corinne Mockler posted on June 13, 2012 07:21

Words like “green” and “sustainable” have been ubiquitous in our society for years, and most people are fairly comfortable using these words in daily conversation. Throw in a newer phrase like “open space,” and the exact meaning is not as easy to conjure up. To those who live in an urban environment, open space could mean a man-made park, rooftop deck, or a vacant lot; any quiet place where the mind and body have a moment to rest and regroup from the hectic pace of everyday life. But to those of us in the Thousand Islands region, surrounded by vast areas of natural beauty on a daily basis, open space can be harder to define.

I’m a recent transplant to the North Country. I grew up in rural Maine with “back-to-the-land” parents, so naturally I couldn’t wait to move to the big city the first chance I got! After a number of years living in Brooklyn, working as a graphic designer in a tiny cubicle, I began to long for the great wide open spaces of my childhood.

I took courses in horticulture and permaculture and started planning my escape to greener pastures. My boyfriend at the time (now my husband) had been vacationing in the Thousand Islands since he was young, and thought I would like the region, so in 2008 I made my first trip.

Needless to say, I immediately fell in love with the area and all that it had to offer. Besides the breathtaking scenery, the fact that we could go hiking, fishing, boating and exploring in untouched nature any time we wanted was a major draw. We moved up in March of 2010 and soon after bought a house on Hyde Lake in Theresa.

In March of this year I began working for the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT), as the Coordinator of Education and Outreach. Among other things, this role puts me in charge of the wonderful TILTreks & Talks and KidsTreks programs that TILT offers free-of-charge. Actually, it was volunteering for a TILTrek that got me involved in the organization in the first place; last year I helped to install the nesting grid for the Common Tern on Eagle Wing Shoals. That installation happens every year, along with hiking, biking, birding, kayaking and kid-centric treks that invite people to experience what is really “open space” – the beautiful areas of the Thousand Islands, including land conserved by TILT.

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TILT GRE(v)EN(ts): Twive&Receive Fundraiser & Community Picnic at Zenda Farm

Tomorrow, June 14th, the Thousand Islands Land Trust is participating in a 24-hour online fundraiser called Preserve TILT’s Preserves, which will help raise money towards the continued maintenance of our conserved land and the ongoing TILTreks & Talks and KidsTreks that we annually offer, free-of-charge.

Hundreds of communities like ours across America will compete for 24 hours only (starting at 3:00AM EST) to raise the most money and win a share of $30,000 in awards for local nonprofits. We are the only participating organization from the 1000 Islands, so please show your support in preserving the natural beauty, wildlife habitats and recreational opportunities of our region!

To help TILT be the top non-profit and win $15,000, click here to donate

Thank you for your support of the Thousand Islands Land Trust!

Zenda Farm Preserve

Our annual Celebration of Open Space begins at 5:30 pm and everyone is welcome! Tickets are $12 per person. Kids aged 12 and under are free.

You can buy your raffle tickets at the picnic for three fabulous prizes: a beautiful ceramic pitcher set, a pair of Adirondack chairs, or a gas grill. $5 each, or five for $20.

Reservations appreciated. Make your reservation in advance by calling the TILT office: 315-686-5345, emailing or paying directly on our website.

Games . Exhibits . Live Music . Raffle . Friends . Food . Fun