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.
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.
When the request for proposals came from the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP) in 2015, the Somersworth Conservation Commission knew what they wanted to do. They saw an opportunity to get their Natural Resources Inventory done with the help of Strafford Regional Planning Commission (SRPC). The proposal they submitted together with SRPC was funded and they got to work.
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.
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.
Winter may seem like a lousy time to identify trees and shrubs. Without leaves to look at, things definitely get a little difficult, but with a few tricks (and maybe a good book) in hand you can up your botany game and learn to identify trees and shrubs without leaves! And why, you might ask, would we even bother to identify trees and shrubs in the winter? Besides honing a skill to impress your friends and neighbors, a lot of management decisions are made in winter.
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.
"Take a walk along one of Gerry Langdon’s carefully constructed woods roads - through stands of hemlock, past the clearing with the small pond, through well- spaced hardwoods, carefully weeded and thinned - and you almost forget that you’re just minutes from the high- way..." Read more