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.
Volunteering in nature is a great way to learn about natural resources and the environment while giving back to the places you care about. Nature Groupie - a project of UNH Cooperative Extension - makes it easy to volunteer outdoors. Over 200 organizations in New England post their outdoor volunteer opportunities the Nature Groupie Calendar, and you can register to volunteer online.
Many potentially useful observations of wildlife are made by landowners, recreationists, birders, hunters and fishermen, foresters, and general wildlife enthusiasts. Through NH Wildlife Sightings, professionals and other citizens can report their wildlife observations.
Citizen Science is a process by which both professional and volunteer scientists collaborate to investigate the world around them. Anyone can become a citizen scientist by engaging in scientific research, usually in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions.
Climate change is throwing a number of curveballs at NH's wildlife. While rising temperatures often get the most attention, we're also seeing wackier, less predictable weather in general.
While there has been a regional focus on the lack of and need to create young, early-successional habitat in recent years, there is also recognition and consensus from wildlife biologists about the importance of older, late-successional forests for wildlife. Many of the components of these mature forests - large living and dead trees and downed woody material, for example - are important to a variety of wildlife species.
While most people who feed deer in the winter are well-intentioned, there are a number of negative consequences to their actions. White-tailed deer, like many other widlife species, have natural adaptations that help them sruvive the winter. One of these adaptations involves the storage of fat in fall for use later during the winter. Supplemental feeding interferes with how deer use these fat reserves, process food, and expend energy in winter. Feeding deer also makes them more vulnerable to aggressive interactions, predation, disease, and vehicle collisions.
Invasive plants pose a serious threat to our native habitats and wildlife. One of the best things you can do to help stop the spread of invasive plants is to learn how to tell them apart from other plants.
Ultimately, the best way to protect wildlife and habitats in the face of climate change is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are contributing to the problem. The first step is to understand our individual and organizational/community contributions to climate change, also known as our "carbon footprint" - i.e. how much greenhouse gas emissions do our activities and behaviors contribute to the atmosphere. Check out this Carbon Footprint Calculator from The Nature Conservancy. From there, we can identify opportunities to reduce these emissions by making changes to our behaviors.
Vegetated buffers next to rivers and wetlands provide important habitat for wildlife, along with many other benefits, such as protecting water quality, absorbing flood waters, filtering stormwater runoff, providing shade, and reducing erosion. Protecting buffers is important for both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, especially coldwater-associated fish like brook trout, amphibians such as wood frogs, and many reptiles. Some birds and mammals also use buffer habitat for foraging, denning/nesting, hiding, and traveling.