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Gems of Distinction Six County Regional S​​​​howcase

Gems Along the Mohawk, Herkimer, NY - The Genesis Group is pleased to announce that F.X. Matt Brewing Company, Utica College, Nirvana Natural Spring Water, Bassett healthcare Network, Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA Resort, and Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation, have been chosen to be recognized as "Gems of Distinction - in a Six County Regional Showcase."
The program is designed to promote those businesses and organizations that believe in "the Future Begins Today" philosophy.
This recognition embodies the future of New York State, and in particular, the Mohawk Valley region in Upstate New York. The Gems of distinction initiative highlights businesses and organizations that exhibit criteria as being future oriented; creating unique sustainable efforts; developing team creativity and collaboration; displaying exceptional leadership; advancing regional commitment and is unequivocally an economic generator.
The actual Gems of Distinction Showcase is on display in the new "Genesis Group - East Room" which was recently dedicated at Gems Along the Mohawk.
Each business and organization is featured in a new 3D Profile that will remain on display for (1) year for visitors and community members to see. After (1) year, the business or organization, will remain on permanent display at Gems Along the Mohawk. Each year the Genesis Group will select (6) new businesses and organizations with-in the six county Regional Economic Development Council district - Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie counties.

Eager Excavators Attend Home Schooling Conference At Herkier Diamond Mines

June 4, 2013
Contact: Cait Gannon
Herkimer, NY- This past Monday at the Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA Resort the heat wasn’t the only thing breaking throughout the day! Over 50 student participated from all over the Northeast could be found breaking rocks and learning all about the Herkimer quartz crystal as the Mines hosted the sixth annual Home School Outing. Students were able to participate in a variety of activities while also learning about the science behind each task.

The day started off with a brief introduction to geology, which was facilitated by the owner, Dr. Renee Scialdo Shevat. Following a morning spent prospecting in the mines, participants reenergized themselves during a lunch break and jumped right into many of the educational events planned for the balance of the day.

Students were able to get involved with some hands on learning in the new Activity Center while being instructed about Geology, Paleontology, and Gemology. After analyzing their geologic finds the participants learned jewelry making, cabachoning, faceting, and crystal formation. Participants then learned about sustainability, astronomy, and solar energy by touring the organic gardens, solar and astronomy lodges, and cray fishing in the West Canada Creek at the KOA Park.

The day came to a close with an awards ceremony in the Diamond Mines Museum where participants were given various award such as Unique Creator, Future Astrophysicist, Role Model, and the Minecraft Miner.

“We strongly believe in the use of interdisciplinary science based modules, which are included in all of the educational programs,” said Dr. Shevat. “Diamonds are valuable, and the Herkimer Diamond has been increasing in economic value for the past 32 years. However, as valuable as these diamonds are, I place the highest value on education. It is always a pleasure to have home schooled children come together to team approach science.”

Students had a fun filled day and many are eager to return again next year, with some planning on returning even sooner!

Birthday girl Rachel Drillings of Woodburn, NY was excited to come back for the second time. “I want to go into the Mines!” she said when asked what her favorite part was, “Last year I went sluicing and found artifacts!” Rachel was just one of many children to walk away with another hand full of fossils, Herkimer Diamonds, drusy, jewelry, and head filled with an increased understanding of science.

For more information contact Renee Shevat or Caitlin Gannon at 

Pictured below are parents and children from Vermont, New Jersey, Maine, New York, Maryland, and New Hampshire at the 6th annual Home Schooling Conference. –H.D.M. Inc

Campgrounds Cater To Stargazers

Ben Abramson, USA TODAY
10:43 a.m. EDT May 24, 2013
click here for full article
One of the greatest joys of camping is emerging from your tent to find the night skies ablaze with stars and planets. But some travelers have a thing about sleeping on the cold, hard ground encased in vinyl. This summer, would-be stargazers who don't want to rough it will find an intriguing new option.

Unleash your inner Galileo at Kampgrounds of America's (KOA) "Astronomy Deluxe Cabin." This new model, which opened this week at KOA's location in Herkimer, N.Y., is equipped with a tabletop telescope, high-power binoculars and a viewing platform for guests' use. But if that's not enough optical power, the campground has also added a powerful commercial telescope, which sits atop a special swiveling observation deck. During the week, guests renting the astronomy cabin have exclusive use of the deck and telescope, with the campground hosting special viewing programs and lectures each Friday.
The cabin, which sleeps 6 and features a full-size kitchen and queen bed, is part of an upscaling trend as campgrounds evolve from safe places to pitch a tent to mini-resorts with cabins and cottages (often prefab units called park models). In a fun astronomical twist, the Herkimer location also features solar-powered cabins for rent. You'll also find retro-cool Airstream trailers at some KOA campgrounds and other lodging sites across the country. Prices can run as high as hotels, $150 a night or more in prime locations, but you can fit a whole family in one and save a bundle by not being hostage to restaurants for every meal. The astronomy cabin starts at $170/night, find more info here.
KOA says business is booming this year, with a 3.8% increase in visitors expected for Memorial Day weekend, and a 14% boost in advance reservations around the Independence Day holiday. For the year, it says reservations at its almost 500 campgrounds nationwide are up 4.2%. calls out more resorts catering to astronomy enthusiasts, including The Springs at Borrego in Borrego Springs, Calif., an International Dark Sky Community renowned for dazzling stars, and Lazy River in Granville, Ohio, where NASA and a local university assisted in developing a stargazing program.

Uptate New York Campgound Installs Nation's First Solar Powered Rental Lodges

HERKIMER, N.Y. June 13, 2011 – On May 3, 2010 the Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA Kampground & Resort became the worlds first Kampground to offer a Solar kamping lodge that is 100% off-the-power-grid loaded with “green” technologies and products.

Solar 1” has solar panels on its roof harnessing energy and a prototype propane backup generator. The generator “kicks in” to recharge power batteries during cloudy weather. The lodge was able to run completely independent of outside energy sources. Solar 1, also received the designation of an Emerald rating, which is the highest rating for green building.
On May 22, 2011 the Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA Kampground & Resort offered the first “Solar Kolony” with an expanded battery capacity in which Solar 1 now powers Solar 2 and Solar 3.
Many consumers will be enticed by the novelty of spending the night in the nation’s first Solar Kolony, Dr. Shevat stated. “We are eager to study the Kolony’s energy production and consumption data.”
Beyond this, she said, “Guests who spend the night in the Solar Kolony will also have a chance to learn about other green building and living practices.”
The 400-square foot units, each of which sleep six, are all unique, but still have one thing in common, “green technologies”. Some of the features you may find in one or in all of these units are: bamboo flooring, LED lighting, recycled axels and tires, recycled lumber composite decking, on-demand water heating, energy efficient heating and air-conditioning as well as a complete assortment of eco-friendly cleaning and bathroom products, including coreless toilet paper that leaves no cardboard core at the end of the roll. Even the unit’s Amish-style furniture has been manufactured from recycled milk jugs and recycled hickory wood. Other distinctions among the lodges include:
Solar 1 has storage tanks to capture rainwater that falls on the units so that it can be used to irrigate an organic vegetable and herb garden. Guests will be encouraged to pick vegetables and herbs from the garden during the summer and fall months for use in their cooking while they stay at the park.
Solar 2 has its own apple orchard on its sizeable acreage.
Solar 3 is being developed as a multi disciplinary science lodge with an Astrology, Biology, Gemology and Geology based atmosphere.
“Our guests will not only have an opportunity for a great camping experience, but the dwelling themselves become an educational tool,” Dr. Shevat said, “My hope is that our guests not only come to enjoy our park and our Solar Kolony with friends and family, but come away inspired to live a greener lifestyle.”

Star Catcher Opens at the Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA Resort

Science is made fun, again, at the Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA Resort. A new lodge will be unveiled with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony at 9:00 AM, Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

Mr. Craig Fox, Mayor of Middleville; Mr. John Scarano, Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director; Mr. Dominick Frank, Town of Newport Supervisor; and Dr. Renee' Scialdo Shevat, owner, will do the honors with the assistance of some of the participants from the County wide sponsored 6th Grade Conservation Day which is held at the same location that day.
The main feature of the Sun Catcher Lodge is an exterior raised deck holding a shed pod with a high powered celestron telescope. This telescope ushers in the next generation of computer
automated telescopes. The scope uses GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to take the
guesswork and effort out of aligning and finding celestial objects. "It is so advanced," said Dr.
Shevat, "that once you turn it on the integrated GPS automatically pinpoints the exact coordinates in the Route 28 sky". Shevat further states that "observing the moon, planets, sun and other deep sky objects will be fun and will unfold the wonders of the universe for our customers." The telescope is actually housed in an eight foot wide octagon shaped lunar pod dome.
Ecomate insulated wall panels with hardened spray foam insulation adds incredible strength to the
already strong wall panels.
The lodge sleeps six and enjoys interior unusual amenities as well. The two bedroom ceilings have a relaxing celestial diagram. There is also a glow in the dark star finder, a star theatre planetarium in case of rain, as well as a smaller more compact portable telescope ideal for terrestrial observations. Celestron binoculars with a built in tripod adapter fitting is also available for visitors.
Intended to add an additional venue for educational use, the lodge is adjacent to the existing grid tied Solar Kolony of lodges. Educational programing, "Dancing with the Stars", will be offered on Friday and Saturday evenings for schools, scouts, families, and campers. The Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA Resort has evolved with multi-disciplinary science programing over the years. "We engage in geology, gemology, ecology on the West Canada Creek, paleontology, sustainable environmental sciences, and now astronomy. Our goal is to make science fun and interactive," expressed Christine Quattro, Director of Science Activities. A number of interns from various colleges and universities have been hired for the summer to utilize their skills in imparting science themed knowledge.
Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA Resort worked closely with Phoenix based Cavco Industries to design a special, park model lodge that will be used as the special astronomy educational tool.

Herkimer Diamond KOA Receives 30-Year Award

From: Mike Gast
Vice President of Communications
Kampgrounds of America Inc.
550 N. 31st Street
Billings, MT 59101

BILLINGS, MT (November 29, 2012) – The Herkimer Diamond, New York KOA Campground received an award recently for 30 years of faithful service to the Kampgrounds of America system.
The award was presented to members of the Scialdo and Shevat Families during KOA’s 50th Annual International Convention held recently at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The Herkimer Diamond KOA is located at 4626 State Route 28 North in Herkimer.
Kampgrounds of America is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2012. KOA, the world’s largest network of family-friendly campgrounds, was born on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana in 1962.

Video from The Travel Channel feature on the World Famous Herkimer Diamond Mines

Video of Solar One at the Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA Resort

Roadside Attractions with Kevin Smith featuring Herkimer Diamond Mines

Foretravel Motorcade Club visits the Herkimer Diamond Mine KOA Resort