Stories

Caring for Francestown's Conservation Lands

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.

Wildlife Corridors in New Hampshire

This fall I’ve been slowing down a lot to allow squirrels and deer to cross the road. On rainy nights next spring I’ll stop to help frogs and salamanders cross and then come June I’ll help turtles. Animals move. For a variety of reasons. Depending on the species and time of year they may be looking for food, a mate, a place for their young, etc. The path they move along may not always be easy. Even fish encounter barriers to their movements. 

State-endangered Blanding’s turtles can be identified by their dome-shaped shell and bright yellow chin and neck. Photo by Loren Valliere.

Teaming Up for Turtles

Big things can happen for wildlife when dedicated volunteers team up with biologists around the state. This is what happened in the town of Newmarket with a critical call-to-action for motorists to be aware of rare turtles attempting to cross roads. In late May and June each year, female turtles of every species must make their way to open, sandy areas to lay their eggs.

A Backyard Haven for Wildlife

You don't need to own hundreds of acres to manage your property for wildlife, and the Ellingwoods have proof. Mark and Susan have lived on their 7 acre property in Hancock for 20 years, and over that time they've taken simple, but thoughtful steps to create a haven for wildlife right in their own backyard.

Landowners and communities are often forced to close trails, roads, and bridges due to beaver activity that prevents use.

Beavers

In comic books and in Hollywood movies, arch-villains are often highly mechanized and possess awesome super powers. We watch battles unfold pitting good versus evil as they unleash their devious plans against each other for control of the earth.

Town and Community Forests Study Revisits an Overlooked and Underused Resource

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.

Managing Land for Wildlife Economically

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”.

Science Needs You!

Are you a citizen scientist? Do you want to be? The activity we call “science” began as citizen science centuries ago, with curious people asking questions about the world around them and looking for answers through observation and experimentation. Today, scientists are rediscovering the benefits of public participation in scientific research.

Volunteers in the town of Campton used maps and data from the Wildlife Action Plan to update existing town documents.

Got Wildlife?

Can you help us figure out how to incorporate wildlife information into our Master Plan Update? What steps should we take to include wildlife in our Natural Resources Inventory? How can we educate our residents about the value of wildlife and habitats? The Taking Action for Wildlife team has been hard at work helping communities answer these questions and use data and maps from the updated 2015 Wildlife Action Plan.

Andover Engages with Local Residents

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.