Contacting your county extension forester is a good first step in discovering the resources on your land. Your county forester can walk the land with you and help you understand what wildlife resources you have. They can talk with you about the hopes and dreams you have for your land and help you develop goals and objectives. They can talk with you about alternative actions you can take to achieve wildlife enhancement goals.
Conservation and education organizations throughout New Hampshire offer a variety of workshops and trainings focused on wildlife habitats, forest management, and good stewardship. Attending one of these workshops can provide a great learning experience and often involves a chance to go in the field to observe the natural resources or management being discussed, interaction with professionals, and learning from the experiences of others. Workshops can range from short indoor presentations to day-long outdoor field trips.
Pesticides have received significant attention for their potential role in pollinator population declines. Individuals and communities who are looking to help conserve pollinators can plant habitat that supports their populations, including a diversity of flowering plants. However, some seeds and plants sold at garden centers have been previously treated with systemic pesticides, including neonicotinoids. This can threaten bees and other pollinators as they pollinate or forage on treated plants.
There are many opportunities for municipalities to include climate impacts and wildlife protection in plans, policies, and regulations. It's important for local residents, interested citizens, and municipal board members advocate for the incorporation of these topics into relevant documents, so that the municipal staff and boards responsible for these documents know there is local support.
Land conservation needs funding! There are costs involved in purchasing the land or purchasing a conservation easement. Even if the easement or the land is donated, there are still costs associated with a land conservation project, e.g. appraisal and survey costs, legal fees, land trust costs, etc. Partnering with a land trust that has an interest in the land being conserved is recommended, especially since they can help locate and apply for funding sources when they work in partnership with a community.
Some habitats require disturbances to maintain their unique characteristics. Sometimes these disturbances occur naturally, but sometimes we can manage habitat to mimic natural disturbances in places where disturbance has been eliminated or diminished. Habitat management can restore habitats and wildlife in decline.
Many people are not aware of invasive species or the potential problems they create. Helping to educate others about invasives increases the number of people aware of and working to control them. There are many ways to reach your neighbors, community members, or landowners that you work with. For example,
Hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, horseback riding, snowmobiling -- these are just some of the ways we get outside to enjoy nature and unwind from our day-to-day activities. However, even these seeming harmless activities can have impacts on wildlife including reduced abundance, reproduction, and survival. Thoughtful trail location allows us to get outside to enjoy nature and also minimize disturbance to wildlife.
Have you seen a new invasive plant in New Hampshire? Are you planning a stewardship or invasive plant control project in New Hampshire? You can use a program called EDDMapS (Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System) on your computer, smartphone or tablet to map invasive plants and record your control efforts. EDDMapS also has information about invasive plant species, distribution, and identification tips.
Invasive plants often take over places where soils or existing plants have been disturbed – sites like field edges, abondoned farms, roadsides, or at trailheads. One of the best things you can do to minimize the spread of invasive plants is to leave soils and areas of native plants alone, especially in places where invasive plants are nearby.