Taking Action for Wildlife banner

A Partnership of UNH Cooperative Extension and NH Fish and Game


Read about a New Hampshire family who lives on their land with an eye towards raising children who know how to play (and work) outdoors. Written by Malin Clyde, UNH Cooperative Extension for Northern Woodlands Magazine, March 2008.


Don’t say you haven’t been warned. When you visit Dave and Tanya Tellman, landowners in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, you will be meeting the sort of forest enthusiasts that will make you want to go out and buy a big chunk of land, whether or not you have the time, the energy, or the means. Their passion for forestry, for plants, for wildlife, for working in the woods, for tilling the soil and harvesting fruits and vegetables from their land is deeply inspiring. I’ve spent the weeks since visiting them this summer quietly scheming about how

I, too, might get a hold of a piece of land, start building trails, plant a giant garden, create some wildlife openings…Unfortunately, at the moment, I have trouble taking down the laundry when it rains, so large-scale landownership may not be an option for my family right now. But I’m warning you. You...

I sat at my desk, eyes glued to my computer screen, flipping slowly through photos. I’m giddy with excitement, enjoying the scenes unfolding, snapshot by snapshot, in front of me. A beaver makes its way out of the pond and passes next to the camera, then in the next shot, I see it is pulling a shockingly large log behind it.  I’ve seen the evidence of beaver’s work so many times, it barely catches my attention anymore, but there is something magical about seeing pictures of the animal at work. I love seeing how it maneuvers with such a large branch, observing what time of day or night they are active, how many times they make the trip back and forth.  I continue flipping, photo after photo.  Then suddenly, something unexpected pops into the photo.  I let out an audible squeal.  A bobcat!


When Taking Action for Wildlife came to Andover in the fall of 2012, the six-member conservation commission knew what they wanted to do - find creative ways to engage local residents and raise awareness about the value of wildlife habitats in Andover. They rolled up their sleeves and got to work right away. The group spent the winter months planning a program of public outreach activities to run from spring through fall, 2013. They included a mix of outdoor field trips, indoor slide presentations and a photo exhibit.  The outreach series was very successful, drawing well over 130 people to one or more of these events - each event was attended by 20-70 people and this was all accomplished with a minimal budget! Here’s how they went about it.  

Each conservation commission member took the the lead for...

Fred Ernst owns 670 acres of forestland in Acworth, NH. His interest in managing land for wildlife began during his career in a forest-based industry. As Fred describes it, “We practiced sustainability of forests and encouraging wildlife was a natural part of the process. When I bought the land in Acworth in 2001, the land had been “high graded” [most commercial quality trees removed], which had a lot to do with my ideas for improvement”.

“The NH Coverts Project convinced me to actively manage the land for wildlife.” [Note: NH Coverts Project, administered by UNH Cooperative Extension, trains volunteers to promote wildlife habitat conservation and forest stewardship.]

Fred says he thought carefully about his goals and what to do to realize them and he took time to learn more about forests, forestry and habitats.


This past fall, a brontosaurus made its way through the forests of Epping and Kingston, New Hampshire. But don’t be alarmed! While this beast ate whole trees and shrubs, leaving large forest openings in its path, it was no dinosaur. This “brontosaurus” is actually a large flailing-head mower attached to an excavator, used to grind up shrubs and young trees. The machine, more commonly seen clearing power line corridors, does an excellent job creating shrubland and young forest habitats. These large mowers are especially useful for creating forest openings in areas where the trees aren’t large enough for a commercially viable timber harvest.

Click here to view a video showing a brontosaurus at work!

The Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire (SELTNH), based in Exeter and serving...

featured landowners managing for wildlifeWebster, NH - Mark and Juliana Phillips’ home in Webster is part of 700 acres that has been in Mark’s family for generations. It’s where Mark was “surrounded by nature” as a boy. The land has seen changes since then - pastures grew in and habitats changed. “It was a classic, New England abandoned farm,” Mark says. The result was “less wildlife” than when the land was a mix of farm and forest cover. Juliana’s experience in nature early in life led to her attitudes about land today. “I grew up in a very rural part of New Jersey, where we spent most of the time outdoors. Now the area is one of the most densely developed areas in the northeast. I’ve seen so much natural land disappear.

When they decided to settle in Webster, Juliana and Mark sought learning opportunities. Juliana took...

The Town of Hooksett is restoring conditions to ensure natural water flow in a wetland system on land it recently purchased and conserved. The wetland’s outlet is at a woods road crossing that had a culvert too small to allow unrestricted water flow, and that restricted wildlife movement in the outlet stream. The undersized culvert also threatened to back water up behind it and cause erosion of the road during flood conditions. Restoration will consist of replacing the culvert with a much wider opening - a bridge constructed with relatively inexpensive large modular interlocking concrete blocks that allows free flow of water and improved wildlife passage.

With assistance from the Taking Action for Wildlife Technical Assistance Team, Keene incorporated NH Wildlife Action Plan information into their management plans for city-owned properties. They:

Betsy Hardwick is Chair of the Francestown Conservation Commission and a member of the Select Board. For the past eleven years, in addition to managing her family’s 30 acre property, she has worked to increase conservation land in her town and involve town residents in those lands through education, events and frequent communication. Much of this work has included enhancing and protecting valuable wildlife habitats. Betsy has lived in Francestown all her life, as have generations of family before her. It’s not surprising, then, to hear her say, “I have a very strong connection to the place. I love nature. I’d as soon be in the woods as anywhere.”

Betsy initially got involved in conservation work somewhat by chance, but took the opportunity to do something about a need she’d identified. “In 1998, I...


Subscribe to Stories