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You never know when the right person is sitting in a room at the right time. That’s what happened when the Lempster Conservation Commission met with the Taking Action for Wildlife Team to discuss starting a Natural Resources Inventory (NRI). Joining the group at that first meeting was a graduate student from Antioch University in Keene, NH, eager to learn more about the conservation commission’s work. The group’s discussion about an NRI piqued his interest, and he later approached Lempster to propose conducting their NRI as part of his Master’s project – it was a perfect match! “This meeting discussion truly turned out to be a "win-win" for all concerned”, remarked Lempster Conservation Commission Chair, Jim Beard. The results were impressive, including a...

As the sea level changes, coastal dynamics and ecosystems change with it. Natural resource managers and community conservation commissions will need to consider how different habitats will be impacted by sea level rise and extreme weather events as they consider what to protect and how.  Salt marshes, one of the most important habitat types in coastal New Hampshire, pose unique challenges in the future. Salt marshes are critical habitat for commercially and recreational important fisheries, they filter runoff to lessen the impact of non-point pollution on our waterbodies, sequester more carbon than mature forests, and they act as sponges to absorb water in flood conditions; protecting adjacent property and adjacent habitats.

Salt marshes are naturally resilient to changes in temperature, salinity, and water level but are limited by elevation and sediment supply.  As sea levels rise, the marsh at the water edge will be drowned. But under the right conditions, salt marshes...

With the amount of snow we’ve had on the ground this winter, it’s hard to believe that spring is here, but it is!  The days are getting longer, birds are singing, and tree buds are starting to swell.  Before we know it this snow will melt away – I promise, it really will – more migrating birds will return, filling our early mornings with their eager songs.  Frogs and salamanders will make their way on rainy nights to vernal pools, deep with snowmelt, for their early spring breeding.  And one creature, a little larger than most, will lumber out of their long winter’s sleep.  Black bears will emerge from their dens with one thing on their minds – food! 

Food is one of the main drivers of black bear behavior.  It’s no surprise that it’s also the primary reason for negative bear-human interactions.  In early spring, as bears emerge from their dens, in search of food after a long winter, it’s common to hear reports of bears taking down bird feeders, getting into trash cans,...

It can be hard to break the habits of winter. Some of us spend the season cozy inside by the fireplace, eating plenty of soups and stews, and catching up with our dear friend Netflix. Others of us strap on our show shoes, put on our skis, or follow the subtle footprints of wildlife in the snow, all in a stubborn effort to not let winter get us down. Whichever completely valid side of the winter weather aisle you fall on, there’s no doubt that spring brings about a change in how we spend our time. The (almost) daily dose of sunshine, chirping birds, and tiny flowers fighting their way above the remnant snow all act as definitive signs and signals telling us one thing, and one thing only – Get Outside!

Many of us will spend the next few months doing everything we can to compensate for the cabin fever we experience during the colder months of the year. So, while you’re walking through the woods in your town, taking a much needed paddle down the river, or checking a...

As the daily temperatures slowly creep up to the sunny side of the freezing point, the nip in the New Hampshire air is being replaced by the familiar calls of songbirds. A chorus of buntings, vireos, tanagers, warblers, and more will soon be singing everywhere from backyards in Manchester to Durham’s College Woods to the great White Mountain Wilderness. For many wildlife enthusiasts, this soundtrack is a welcome break from winter’s whipping winds and silent snows.

We made it! High five, everyone! (weather.com)

But perhaps we should be a little more wary of these sirens of spring.

Savvy birders have known for a while that the sounds coming from our feathered friends are not just idle chatter. In fact, those sweet songs you hear on...

Biologist Loren Valliere holds up a lively male Blanding’s turtle caught during surveys. (Photo by NHFG)The stock boy in aisle two looked at me funny the first time I ordered 500 tin cans of sardines. Now, three years later, he sees me coming and says, “Time to catch some turtles?” I nod yes, we exchange some jokes about the life of a wildlife biologist – and I fill my green Fish and Game truck to the roof with sardines. It’s all for the cause.

The cause, of course, is state-endangered Blanding’s turtles – and I’ve been assigned the task of helping to assess their status in New Hampshire. Blanding’s can live 80 years and are found in densely vegetated wetlands in pockets of the northeast. So,...

Invasive plant management is a common focus of restoration projects. (Photo: NH SurfRider)

Invasive plants are changing the face of America and can cause significant ecological and economic harm. They may impact wildlife by choking out natural habitats such as freshwater wetlands, causing loss of available food, or altering habitat structure or function. They are a leading threat to native biodiversity, second only to habitat destruction.

The importance of minimizing the spread of invasive plants means they are a common focus of restoration projects. However, our challenge is the majority...

Taking Action for Wildlife staff Amanda Stone and Emma Carcagno had the opportunity to assist a NH land trust to engage with local communities over the past several months using a new and exciting technology. SELT (previously known as Southeast Land Trus of NH), which currently serves most of Rockingham County and much of Strafford County, completed a new strategic plan earlier this year.  As part of that process, the land trust recognized a need to update their conservation focus areas to help direct their future work.

This type of work is often done at a computer.  You can use existing resources, such as the Wildlife Action Plan maps, water resources maps, maps of existing conservation land, and soils maps (to name just a few) to determine where important resources might overlap, which may help narrow down areas that...

Do you like seeing birds and other wildlife on your property?  Do you feed the birds in the winter? Why not consider planting some native trees and shrubs to enhance the natural wildlife food sources on your property? There are many things you can do to help our birds and other wildlife meet their needs throughout the year, by improving their habitat on your property.  

The first thing to do is to look at what you already have for habitat features, thinking in terms of food, water, shelter and space. Nature provides food for wildlife throughout the seasons. As we develop and alter the landscape with roads, houses and lawns, this natural habitat is diminished. You can take an inventory of what your land is providing and enhance the components that are lacking. ...

Reflections from Southeast Land Trust Properties
Kelliher Property, Brentwood/Fremont

Leaving a busy day behind me, I step onto the trail and head into the woods.  With the snow crunching loudly underfoot, my entrance doesn’t go unnoticed as a pileated woodpecker immediately alerts my arrival to the rest of forest.  I give a quick “hello to you too” back to the bird, and continue on my way. Almost immediately I cross the small tracks of a gray fox.  I decide to follow it, hoping to learn a little more about this little canine that I rarely see in person. 

The gray fox trail follows the hiking trail for a short way before cutting into the woods, taking a straight route.  I follow along, my pace surely much slower than the fox’s, clumsy on my two feet to its four.   Following the story of the tracks, it seems the fox has slowed his pace and diverts from its straight-line route.  I emerge again on the hiking trail where I find the fox has...

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