What do you get when you give 135 high school sophomores an armload of heavy pointed shovels, pick-axes, and hacksaws, and send them off into the woods?
Well, that’s not a joke, so don’t wait for a punchline.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The town of Brentwood Conservation Commission has been working towards managing some town-owned properties for wildlife habitat. That may sound like an easy task, but there is a lot to consider when making management decisions, especially on town-owned lands. The Commission must balance multiple uses and important natural resources in their decisions: protecting drinking water, keeping forests healthy, maintaining important wildlife habitat, providing a place for people to enjoy the outdoors.
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.