Ambassadors United! Grassland Bird Advocates Talk Future and Outreach

A cool rainy day was well-spent indoors this weekend at the Grafton County UNH Cooperative Extension office for a discussion on grassland-nesting birds, hosted by myself and other experts on the subject as part of my graduate research.  My research, a partnership with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and New Hampshire Audubon, is an extensive outreach program to maximize quality habitat for grassland birds on privately-owned lands. Continue reading

Community inputs into land conservation


Map of proposed land conservation project in central New Hampshire by The Conservation Fund. Over 5,000 acres of forests and wetlands surrounding the Beebe River will be protected.

I haven’t seen the inside of an elementary school in years until Melanie and I volunteered as scribes for The Conservation Fund (TCF) at the Holderness Central School last Wednesday. The two of us, Melanie and Jamie, along with June from the Center for the Environment volunteered to help TCF in its efforts to assess community interests in a local land conservation project and to learn more about the conservation process. TCF is a national non-profit land trust with over 7 million acres protected in 50 states.  They act as a sort of broker, purchasing tracts of land for protection from development and for multiple-use purposes, then partnering with other organizations who will may hold the conservation easements.  TCF frequently utilizes Community Forums to engage public participation and foster local support for their work.

With staff from the Squam Lakes Conservation Society (SLCS), we helped TCF in its efforts to assess community views regarding the recent purchase of the Beebe River Tract, over 5,000 acres abutting the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) in the Towns of Campton and Sandwich.  SLCS was particularly interested in co-hosting the event because the Tract fills a large gap in protected lands just beyond the Squam Lake watershed.  

As scribes we were responsible for listening to and recording the responses of local residents to questions asked by the Forum’s facilitator, Nancy Bell.  With over 20 years of experience, Nancy is TCF’s Vermont Representative and has helped protect at least 500,000 acres in the Northeast – certainly no small feat!  Each question for the residents was designed to stimulate conversation about the personal connections that each person has or would like to have with the Beebe River Tract, and to gain insight into their ideas for the future management of the property.  For example, the first question poignantly asked, “What do you love about these lands?” Continue reading

Walking across NH lakes

As a first year master’s student at the Center for the Environment, I began this February, with my advisor, Dr. Lisa Doner, the field work for my master’s project. My project involves temperature and water quality monitoring with sediment analyses in two local lakes: Ossipee Lake (Ossipee, NH) and Squam Lake (Holderness, NH). Our goals for field work were to establish a mooring, with temperature monitors and sediment taps, and collect water samples in each lake. The temperature monitors are placed every meter on the rope, recording temperature every 15 minutes, so we will get a full profile of the thermal state of the lake and be able to observe stratification and turnover events. Since lakes in central New Hampshire develop a thick layer of ice, usually in January, it was easiest to set-up our mooring in the winter time because we could work from a flat, solid surface rather than on a rocking boat. So we waited until mid-February when the ice conditions were deemed safe enough to make a trek across the ice to the deepest point in each lake. Continue reading