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.
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 Trust 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.
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.
We have owned a home and land in Wolfeboro since 1994. Soon after our purchase we discovered that we were privileged to own a woodcock singing ground. A singing ground is a place where male woodcock display in the Spring to attract and mate with female woodcock and raise their young. The display is called the "Sky Dance." Our family has derived immense pleasure from watching our harbingers of spring annually.
Every spring, on the first rainy days and nights, a strange quacking sound draws me to the woods. Following the sound, I’ll make my way to a small pond in the woods where what I already know is confirmed – it’s not the sound of ducks, but the sound of wood frogs! Wood frogs are one of a handful of wildlife species that use vernal pools – wetlands that dry up every year, or every couple of years. Vernal pools are unique and important habitats for a variety of wildlife species in New Hampshire and they are a bustling with activity in springtime.
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.
Town-owned conservation lands are for people—places to come together and build community, learn about the stewardship of the natural world, and recreate alone or in groups. Town lands protect valuable natural resources—water and wildlife habitat. They can bring income to the town.
The LeClair Tree Farm: For the past 30 years, Art and Gale LeClair have been putting their dreams into action as they manage their 120 acre woodlot in Farmington, New Hampshire. Much of the LeClair’s home is constructed with wood harvested from their land, and the poorer quality trees that Art removes in thinning operations provide fuel for the wood-fired furnace that heats their home.
New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan identifies 27 unique habitat types across the state. Many of these are easily recognized and definable, like grasslands or rocky ridges. Others require a bit more thought and consideration of how they should be defined, mapped, and managed.
Vernal pools are home to many wildlife species, including those that breed exclusively in this habitat type – fairy shrimp, wood frogs, and spotted salamanders. “These temporary wetlands are often small and dry in late summer, and therefore are easily overlooked during land-use planning,” explains NH Fish and Game wetlands biologist Michael Marchand.