Monday, December 22, 2008

Dartmouth Places Easement on Corinth Property

Collaboration with Orange County Headwaters Project and Upper Valley Land Trust preserves 700 acres in Vermont

HANOVER, NH ­ Dartmouth is supporting a local conservation initiative by placing an easement on its 700-acre property in Corinth, Vermont, located about 35 miles northwest of campus. Given to the College in the 1920s, the property is in an area with highly productive forest land prioritized for conservation by the non-profit Orange County Headwaters Project (OCHP).

Dartmouth President James Wright completed the transaction on Fri., Dec., 19, 2008, with representatives of the OCHP and the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT).

"Dartmouth welcomed this opportunity to work with the UVLT and the OCHP to support this local effort," says Dartmouth Provost Barry Scherr. "The easement we've placed on this property is consistent with Dartmouth's long-term ownership goals as it will enable our existing forestry-related activities to continue while providing better long-term opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental research."

The UVLT, a regional land conservancy, will hold the conservation easement. UVLT President Jeanie McIntyre says, "Working to preserve this land represents a comprehensive approach and a productive working relationship between the Upper Valley Land Trust, the OCHP, and Dartmouth. Our more than 1,300 members invest in outcomes like this, and healthy, stable forests benefit the entire region."

Timber harvesting activities on the property will continue. "It's a beautiful piece of land, and it's one of our more productive sites," says College Forester Kevin Evans, who notes that due to the elevation the trees are mostly sugar maple, yellow birch, and white ash hardwoods. In the 1990s, white ash logged from the property was used in building the new McLane Family Lodge at the Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme, N.H. Other rights retained by the College include the ability to construct and maintain trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, biking and other recreational activities, to construct a limited number of supporting recreational structures, and to use the property for various research and educational purposes.

"The large, contiguous tracts of undeveloped land here are becoming rarer in the Upper Valley, and are critical to the conservation of the rural working landscape," says Virginia Barlow, a resident of Corinth and the co-coordinator of the OCHP. "The Dartmouth parcel is one of the largest, and it has great value for present and future forestry, wildlife, and recreational uses. We're excited about its permanent protection and very grateful for the College's support."

Located at the headwaters of three rivers ­ the Waits, the White, and the Winooski ­ the Orange County headwaters region is home to a large number of working farms and forests. The area's significant wetlands, miles of streams, and extensive woodlands provide especially diverse habitat for plants and animals. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency determined that the Eastern Small-Footed bat, one of the state's five most endangered mammals, lives in this area.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Community Building Party

WHAT: A Celebration of Community

Motivated by the Presidential Inauguration, Upper Valley nonprofit groups are getting together to organize A Community Celebration. The concept for the event stems from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF)'s response to President-elect Barack Obama's November 4th invitation to:"...join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years: block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand." NEGEF's concept as adapted by local nonprofit groups is to use the occasion of this Presidential Inauguration as a way to focus on the work that Upper Valley groups do for the community
. Let's celebrate community service in our region!

FEATURING: Dr. Burma (music), Large screen viewing of the Presidential Inauguration (taped), table displays by local nonprofit groups, snacks, cash bar, and good company! Sweet Scoops, Lui Lui, Three Tomatoes Trattoria, Cabot Creamery, The Coop Food Store, Boloco, Panera Bread, Shepard's Pie on the Green and The Dirt Cowboy Cafe have all agreed to make generous food contributions for the party.

Suggested donation of $5 per person

Participating organizations include:
Upper Valley Land Trust, Upper Valley Haven, Vital Communities, Upper Valley Educators Institute, Sustainable Food Laboratory, Enfield Shaker Museum, Northern Stage, Puppetree, Inc., Headrest, Connecticut River Joint Commissions, Hannah House, Second Growth, WISE, Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of VT & NH,, Lebanon Opera House, Everybody Wins! VT, VINS and Upper Valley United Way).

Whaleback, 160 Whaleback Mountain Road, Enfield, NH. (Whaleback generously agreed to donated their space in support of the work that local NGOs do.)

5:30-9pm, January 20, 2009

For more information contact Nora Doyle-Burr, UVLT's Programs Coordinator:, (603) 643-6626 ext. 102.

Monday, November 17, 2008

UVLT Volunteers Recognized for their Commitment

Pip Richens of Hanover, NH and Claude Phipps of Newbury, VT were recognized at the Upper Valley Land Trust’s Volunteer Appreciation Open House on November 13th. Both Richens and Phipps received awards from the land trust for their dedication to their work as stewardship volunteers. In addition to giving UVLT the opportunity to recognize standout volunteers, the event gave volunteers, staff and trustees a chance to share a meal of chili and cornbread as they discussed experiences from out in the field. (Photo L-R: Pete Helm, UVLT Vice President Stewardship; Monica Erhart, UVLT Stewardship Coordinator; John Hall, UVLT Volunteer)

The event was motivated by an effort to recognize the organization’s 30+ stewardship volunteers, who assist in activities such as trail maintenance, campsite upkeep, and conservation easement monitoring across the 44 towns that comprise the Upper Valley Land Trust’s region. In addition to the time and energy that stewardship volunteers donate, dozens of volunteers assist UVLT with events, advocacy, various committees, photography and a variety of in-kind donations.

UVLT president Jeanie McIntyre notes, “Our land conservancy has been recognized nationally for its accomplishments and our volunteers should be proud of their contributions. We are able to get a great deal done with a very lean budget because people roll up their sleeves and pitch in.”

For example, as a volunteer stewardship easement monitor with the UVLT, Pip Richens has visited thousands of acres of conserved land in the Upper Valley. Averaging at least one monitoring visit per month, she has likely spent around 60-70 volunteer hours in the past year, hiking around the woods, following old barbed wire boundaries, counting her paces, and taking compass bearings through local forests. Even in the winter, Richens continues her volunteering, monitoring land by snowshoe. Richens’ friend Betty Ward often joins her, and together the two women have traveled throughout the Upper Valley for UVLT monitoring visits. Richens approaches her volunteer duties with such enthusiasm and enjoyment that she has inspired several acquaintances to volunteer with UVLT as well.

When private land is conserved under a conservation easement, landowners agree to work with UVLT to ensure that their land is protected in perpetuity. The agreement includes annual communication between the landowner and a UVLT staff member, followed by a monitoring visit to the property, often conducted by a volunteer. Monitors document natural and human-induced changes to the property, including notable erosion or invasive species, dumping, building within a restricted area, new land management practices, third-party encroachments, and any other significant changes that may have occurred on a property over the course of the year. In exchange for their time and energy, easement monitors earn the opportunity to go for walks in the forests, fields, and along waterways on conserved land in the Upper Valley.

UVLT monitors often have the opportunity to meet the landowners of the properties they visit and occasionally landowners accompany volunteers on their walk around the property. Virginia and Ted Taylor, who have conserved their land in Hartford, Vermont, recall a visit with Pip Richens and Betty Ward fondly. “They visited on a terrible day” Ted Taylor remembers. “It was wet, stormy, and windy, but it didn’t faze them at all. They just pretended they were dry.” He added that Pip was a “stalwart soul” and “unflappable,” as his wife chimed in with her observations of Richens’ keen interest and admiration for the land. Even during the storm, Virginia Taylor remembers, Richens’ focus was on the natural world, commenting on signs of wildlife and unique plants.

Claude Phipps is a UVLT campsite steward and trail volunteer. He maintains the Vaughan Meadows campsite and mows the several miles of Sleepers Meadow trails, both near his Newbury home. UVLT learned to fully appreciate the time and effort Phipps has given to his work over the years, when in the summer of 2008 an injury prevented Phipps from making his regular visits to the campsite or trails. Suddenly, UVLT staff members found themselves spending many hours traveling to Newbury from their office in Hanover to mow the ever-growing grass in the field trails and to dig privy holes at the campsite. With each trip, UVLT staff gained additional respect for the hard work and long hours Phipps has provided to the land trust for several years.

Luckily for everyone, Phipps recovered from his injury quickly, returning to his volunteer work as soon as he was physically able. Shortly after his recovery, Phipps led an effort to build a staircase at the Vaughan Meadows campsite to prevent further erosion of the river access trail. He created the plans, found the materials, and organized a work day to build the stairs. Monica Erhart, UVLT’s Stewardship Coordinator, notes that it’s unlikely that the project would have been completed this year without Phipps’ enthusiasm and steadfast determination. “When Claude sees that something needs to be done, he steps right in and makes it happen,” Erhart says.

In order to join the Upper Valley Land Trust as a conservation easement monitor, campsite steward, or trail volunteer, please contact Stewardship Coordinator, Monica Erhart at (603) 643-6626 ext. 110 or Spring monitor training dates will be posted at in early 2009.

Friday, October 31, 2008

"Out My Back Door" Pictures

(Above) The Production Team of Out My Back Door: An Amateur Photographer's Response to Nature From Left: Nancy Des Coteaux (Desktop Studio), Shiela Swett (photographer) & Steve Swett (Bragg Hill Press). The Swetts have conserved their land in Norwich & Sharon, VT with the UVLT.

Shiela Swett signs books at the 10/27 event at the Norwich Library.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Land Trust Collaborates with Landowners to Publish Book

Hanover, NH—The Upper Valley Land Trust presents Out My Back Door, a book of photographs taken by landowner Shiela Swett on her conserved lands in Norwich and Sharon, Vermont. Shiela Swett is a retired teacher who has taken up amateur photography—being a nature lover it was only natural for her to choose the outdoors as her creative inspiration. Her book is speckled with brief insights into Vermont’s ever-changing seasons.

For fun, Swett spends time hunting for unique, dramatic, and beautiful elements in the natural world—that she finds by simply stepping outside her door. The book shows readers the simple joy that can be found in a flower, a butterfly, a bird, a mushroom, or a tree. As Mary Holland, a local naturalist, author and photographer says, “The book is really a gem. The colors, subject matter, composition and perspective are wonderful.” Swett uses grand, scenic views alongside close-ups to demonstrate the multiplicity of perspectives that can be found in the Upper Valley landscape. Her photographs invite other nature enthusiasts to do the same—pick up their cameras and go for walks along the trails and paths scattered around the region, some on lands conserved with the Upper Valley Land Trust.

The evident enthusiasm and vibrant color to be found in Swett’s photographs demonstrate the way in which protected land can inspire creativity. This explains why the Land Trust chose to collaborate with Bragg Hill Press and Desktop Studio in the book’s production. UVLT president, Jeanie McIntyre says this of the partnership: “We are proud to offer this opportunity to see nature in the Upper Valley through the eyes of Shiela Swett. Her photographs in Out My Back Door reflect her fascination with the outdoors in all its wonder and our commitment to keep it so—forever.”

Over 50 people gathered to hear a sampling of words inspired by the natural world of the Upper Valley read by Dartmouth professor, Terry Osborne. The Upper Valley Land Trust and the Norwich Bookstore hosted an event at the Norwich Public Library on October 27th from 5-7pm. The event was entitled: “Reflections on Nature: A Celebration of the Upper Valley Landscape” and it included readings of writings by local landowners. In addition, Out My Back Door was available for purchase, along with other related works, and Shiela Swett was on-hand to sign books. The readings were drawn from UVLT’s collection; they are personal, poignant essays reflecting the impact of local land on the lives of landowners, along with their families, friends and neighbors.

Along with the Bookstore, the Land Trust is partnering with Long River Studios in Lyme, NH to sell the book. Together, UVLT and Long River hosted a wine and cheese reception from 4:30-6:30pm on October 25th at Long River on Main Street in Lyme. The book was for sale and Swett was available to sign copies. About 25 people were in attendance to enjoy the refreshments and to have Shiela sign copies of the book.

For further information about Out My Back Door, please contact the Upper Valley Land Trust at 603-643-6626 at Out My Back Door is available for purchase at the Norwich Bookstore, Long River Studios in Lyme, NH, the Upper Valley Co-op in White River Junction, VT or at UVLT’s office on Buck Road in Hanover. Additionally, the book is available for purchase via UVLT's Pay Pal widget on this page.

Thanks to all who made the two events so successful!

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Out My Back Door" by Shiela Swett

Come join the Norwich Bookstore and the Upper Valley Land Trust for

A Celebration of the Upper Valley Landscape

Norwich Public Library ~ Main Street, Norwich, VT
Monday, October 27th ~ 5-7pm
Featuring readings of local landowners’ reflections on nature
Shiela’s book for purchase ~ Local wine and cheese
Join us for a reception at
Long River Studios ~ Main Street, Lyme, NH
Saturday, October 25th ~ 4:30-6:30pm

For more information or to RSVP contact the Upper Valley Land Trust, (603) 643-6626 or

Monday, October 6, 2008

Open House & Hike

(from left to right) UVLT President Jeanie McIntyre, Conservation Easement Donor, Igor Blake, Sullivan County Forester, Chuck Hersey, and UVLT Conservation Project Manager, James Thaxton at the October 4th Open House & Hike

Friday, September 26, 2008

Four Corners Farm Tour

Saturday October 18th, 1-4PM

Travel to this diversified family farm in South Newbury, VT, with Co-op Sustainability Coordinator, Emily Neuman, and Upper Valley Land Trust President, Jeanie McIntyre.

Four Corners Farm produces a wide variety of vegetables along with an assortment of berries. Their specialties are strawberries (which they have sold to the co-op for many years) and delicious greenhouse tomatoes. They also have a herd of Jersey milk cows.

Join us and meet the Grays as they lead a tour of their operation and explain how the Upper Valley Land Trust helped them to conserve the land on which they farm.
A carpool will leave from the Lebanon Cafe Annex at 1pm, or meet us there at 1:45pm!

Register for the trip by stopping by either of the Co-op’s Service Desks, or call at (603) 643-2667.

Directions to the Farm:
Take 91 to exit 16, VT-25 toward Bradford/US-5. After .3 miles, turn right at VT-25/Waits River Rd (signs for Bradford) follow this for .5 miles. Turn left at Lower Plain/US-5 & Continue to follow US-5 for five miles. Take a slight left at Doe Hill Rd to arrive at the farm.
For more information contact the Upper Valley Land Trust at (603) 643-6626 or

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pegjack Memorial Forest Dedication

Tom Aldrich stands by Pegjack Forest's ancient New England Memorial Fence Post during the dedication ceremony on September 21, 2008.

Open House and Hike

James Thaxton
(603) 643-6626 ext. 111



Newport, NH—When landowner Igor Blake contacted the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) in 2007 to express his desire to conserve his Newport property, UVLT recognized an extraordinary opportunity. Now Blake and UVLT, a regional land conservancy based in Hanover, invite the public to visit the land they conserved -- 310 acres with Sugar River frontage, open fields and forests, and a portion of the rail trail. This is UVLT’s first land conservation project in Newport.

Everyone is invited to join the Upper Valley Land Trust and Igor Blake for an Open House and Hike on Saturday, October 4th at 2PM. Sullivan County Forester, Chuck Hersey, will lead the hike beginning at the historic homestead, located on the discontinued end of Endicott Road, now 456 Oak Street. In addition to the hike, the homestead will also be open for visitors. Meet Blake, UVLT staff and stakeholders for conversations focused primarily on land use and community values. This is a unique opportunity for community members to learn more about the property and to have questions about land conservation and stewardship answered. Everyone is welcome, RSVP not required, but responses will help in planning for refreshments. Call the Upper Valley Land Trust at (603) 643-6626.

Blake’s forest has been a designated Tree Farm since Mr. Blake’s mother registered it as such in 1970. According to the UNH Extension Service, “A Tree Farm is a privately owned forest managed to produce timber with added benefits of improved wildlife habitat, water quality, recreation, and scenic values.” In managing his working forest, Blake has worked with Chuck Hersey, Sullivan County Forester, and Shaun Lagueux of New England Forestry Consultants. Blake has a comprehensive forest management plan in place.

Recently, Hersey nominated Blake for next year’s Tree Farmer of the Year Award. This is an award that is given annually by the New Hampshire Tree Farm Committee, New Hampshire’s branch of the national Tree Farm System, managed by the American Forest Foundation. The award recognizes tree farmers who have proven to be good stewards of their land. In Blake’s case this means that he has worked with licensed foresters to responsibly harvest his timber; as Hersey explains this is a renewable resource that goes directly into the local economy. Hersey states that 80% of New Hampshire’s land is forested and 70% of that forested land is privately owned. This means that the choices these landowners make can have large implications for future generations.

Hersey points out that Blake has as much timber left to harvest as has previously been removed. In addition to sustainable forestry, Blake has maintained some open fields and apple trees which make good habitat for deer and turkeys. Blake has also been willing to try new management techniques. Recently, he undertook a project to control invasive species on his property: Glossy Buckthorn and Japanese Barberry. Hersey applauds Blake for all of his efforts in maintaining his Tree Farm, however he seemed most impressed by Blake’s “biggest act of stewardship:” the donation of the conservation easement on his property. This will permanently contribute to Newport’s rural landscape and to that of the region as a whole.

Other features of Mr. Blake’s property consist of frontage on the Sugar River, including frontage along a renowned trout fishing area. In addition, part of the property makes up a section of the Sugar River Trail, which is know as one of New Hampshire's premier recreational rail trails, running from Newport to Claremont. All of this is less than two miles from the center of Newport; Mr. Blake’s land has been protected from encroaching development so that future generations can continue to enjoy it.

The Upper Valley Land Trust works to protect farmland, forest, water resources, wildlife habitat, trails and scenic areas that are vital to the character of the Vermont and New Hampshire communities of the Upper Valley. Founded in 1985, the Upper Valley Land Trust is a non-profit organization supported primarily by local contributors. For more information please visit or contact Upper Valley Land Trust at 603-643-6626 or

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Pegjack Memorial Forest Dedication

Peg Merrens
(603) 643-6626 ext. 112



On August 5, 2008, Tom Aldrich presented the Upper Valley Land Trust with the largest outright donation of land in its 23-year history. The gift establishes the 97-acre Pegjack Memorial Forest on Turnpike Road in Thetford, Vermont, and was inspired by Tom’s wife, Peggy Peck Aldrich (1941-2007) and their grandson Jacob Thomas Fried (1999-2008) as a way to honor their deep love of nature and animals.

Please join the Thetford Conservation Commission, the Upper Valley Land Trust and Tom Aldrich for a dedication event on Sunday, September 21st at 2PM. Walkers will enjoy a fall tour of the Thetford forest; from the dedication site, participants will have the opportunity to enjoy the view of the Connecticut River Valley.

Tom Aldrich originally purchased the land in Thetford thinking that he would move north from his home in Falmouth, MA. However, he changed his mind, “I realized that having been partly responsible for the development and intrusion into a natural place on Cape Cod, and then to leave that intrusion to create another intrusion into a natural place in rural Vermont, and settle there, was self-indulgent, wrong-headed environmental citizenship.” So, with an eye towards the land’s preservation, Tom has chosen to hand over the property to UVLT. Aldrich says, “I am confident that the Upper Valley Land Trust is constituted, staffed, and has the skill and vision to maintain the Pegjack Forest.”

“The Upper Valley Land Trust is honored and excited to accept this gift of ownership,” says UVLT President, Jeanie McIntyre. “As the Upper Valley grows and changes, land for quiet recreation, the places where people can observe and connect to the natural world, are critically important. The Pegjack Forest is just the kind of property that belongs in trust for human and natural communities.”

McIntyre says that UVLT has been working with local landowners for more than two decades. “Most of the land we’ve conserved has remained in the hands of area residents who use it for farming and forestry,” she says. “Now our conservancy is considering ownership when a parcel is close by a village or school or has special values for public enjoyment and learning.”

Li. Shen at the Thetford Conservation Commission puts the donated land in context with its surroundings, “The Pegjack Forest is an important piece in the mosaic of forested lands in conservation or current use in the north-east section of Thetford. Together these create an important corridor of wildlife habitat connecting Lake Fairlee and the Connecticut River.” According to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, one section of the Pegjack is known to be an important wintering area for deer. There are also perch sites in the taller trees which may be used by raptors, along with dense areas of new growth which may provide cover to ground nesting birds.

During Adrich’s ownership, the property has served as a retreat for his family to roam on weekends. The property lies near Houghton Hill and includes 6,000 feet of frontage on a seasonal town road, a popular route for recreational use. Under UVLT’s ownership the donated property will remain open to the public for hiking and other non-motorized recreation. According to Li. Shen, “The value of the Pegjack tract for community recreation is superb, with stunning views from the height of land. In addition it offers the exciting possibility of connecting to the popular Mimi's Trail, and other trails in the area.”


Menu for the Future Discussion Course


Nora Doyle-Burr

(603) 643-6626 ext. 102


Emily Neuman




Hanover, NH—The Upper Valley Land Trust, the Hanover/Lebanon Food Co-ops and Vermont Earth Institute will sponsor a reading and discussion group about food and food systems. The new Vermont Earth Institute publication, Menu for the Future, offers people a unique opportunity to gather in small groups to examine the effects of modern industrial agriculture on both human and ecological health, to explore emerging food-system alternatives, and to consider how we as individuals can contribute to a more sustainable food supply. The readings consider food from multiple perspectives - cultural, economic, ecological, health and social - each presenting a different, though often complementary, angle on the complex modern food systems that many of us depend on.

The discussion sessions will meet once a week for six weeks, with the evening session starting September 16th 7-8:30pm at the Hanover Co-op and the daytime session starting at 12pm on September 24th at the Upper Valley Land Trust. Each week, participants will discuss several short readings from the guide. Facilitation is offered by Vermont Earth Institute with participants also sharing in facilitating the discussion.

Register at either the Hanover or Lebanon Co-op at least one week in advance of the starting date. The only charge is $20 for the Menu for the Future anthology, available at the co-ops. Please read the Session I readings before the first meeting. For more information call Emily Neuman at 603-640-6359 or Nora Doyle-Burr at 603-643-6626 ext. 102 or see