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.
Over the past few months, I have been noticing an abundance of white pine cones in the trees around Carroll county. Rather than producing consistent crops of seeds every year, white pine has good seed years every three to five years, with fewer seeds produced in the intervening years.
In the early hours of a Saturday morning in spring, a group of Fremont citizens armed with binoculars and field guides were alert and quiet, listening intently to the chorus of birds and scribbling on their notepads. “Hermit thrush. Scarlet Tanager. Chickadee. Wait! Was that a pileated woodpecker?”. A short distance away another group huddled over a small flower, riffling through a field guide to identify it. A third group was on the hunt for reptiles, amphibians, mammals and insects.
Over the last year and a half, the Lee Conservation Commission (LCC) has partnered with wildlife specialists from UNH Cooperative Extension and students from the Thompson School of Applied Science to improve habitat for American Woodcock. Mills Reserve borders Little River Park in Lee, NH, tucked between the playing fields and the Little River. The town owned parcel is a reclaimed gravel pit.
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.
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.
The strangely unique horseshoe crab is one of five marine species that are considered Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in New Hampshire. Particularly if you are a birder or a fisherman, you may already know the important ecological role that the horseshoe crab serves.
The Town of Easton, in northern Grafton County, has a way with coming up with catchy names. Their “Pastry and Preservation” conservation events have drawn local residents to enjoy good food and learn about the town’s natural resources. So no big surprise that they came up with “Got Wildlife?”, a creative activity to engage residents in recording wildlife sightings in town. They hung a map of town right outside the town clerk’s office (with permission, of course!) where there are often residents standing in line.
Amherst has few grasslands, and they are mostly small and scattered. There are no 25-acre abandoned airport fields here, but grassland habitats in Amherst may support around 70 species of wildlife. In New Hampshire, grasslands are largely man-made and require periodic management to be maintained. The vision of the Amherst Conservation Commission (ACC) is to maintain grasslands in Amherst as a vital component of the larger mosaic of wildlife habitats in our landscape.
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.