Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Neighbors Unite to Protect Wildlife Habitat and Working Forestland

Kathy and Lee Larson have played active roles in the Upper Valley’s land conservation community since moving to the Upper Valley and purchasing their land on Pout Pond Lane more than 10 years ago. Kathy Larson is a Trustee and Lands Committee Chair of the Upper Valley Land Trust. Lee Larson serves on the Lyme Conservation Commission, and has assisted UVLT with boundary monitoring and trail maintenance. The desire to see their property protected for wildlife, responsible forestry, and recreational purposes has led the Larsons to donate a conservation easement to UVLT. The Larsons signed documents conserving 64 acres of their property at a small gathering of friends and neighbors on Monday, December 28.

This project secures the protection of the many conservation values carefully stewarded by the Larsons for the benefit of generations to come. Certified as a New Hampshire Tree Farm, the Larsons’ property has a forest management plan in place that ensures sustainable forestry and encourages wildlife habitat protection, particularly for songbirds. The Larsons have consulted with Audubon biologists to carefully improve habitats necessary for the many migratory songbirds that stopover on the property, or stay during the nesting season. These efforts to steward quality habitat have led to the property’s name: “Songbird Forest.”

In addition to songbirds, the property provides high quality habitat for other wildlife. The Larsons have set up a hidden camera in a portion of the property that is a corridor used frequently by wildlife heading to Pout Pond. This camera has captured images of turkeys, fox, coyote, deer, bear, moose, mink, raccoon, skunk, opossum, painted and box turtles, and squirrel.

Songbird Forest fits into a large and growing corridor of conserved lands that stretch from, and are visible from, the Appalachian Trail corridor. The property is surrounded on three sides by other conserved land; large tracts of UVLT-conserved land are located within two miles, including Demmick Hill and Trout Pond Forest.

This cluster of protected properties continues to grow. Nearby, a 7.44 acre portion of the Elder Farm on Acorn Hill Road, owned by Ray and Tina Clark was also recently conserved with UVLT. According to UVLT Project Manager, Sara Cavin, “Though small, this piece of the Elder Farm has important connections to this other protected land, enhancing specific views, and maintaining the integrity of the agricultural uses that have gone on in the region.” Within two miles of this portion of Elder Farm are 950 acres of land conserved by UVLT, as well as more than 1800 acres of other conserved or public land.

In addition to the recent conservation of part of Elder Farm and the Larsons’ Songbird Forest in Lyme, another local family is currently working with UVLT. This project will likely be completed in early 2010, and its completion will complement the hundreds of acres of permanently protected open space and wildlife habitat surrounding Pout Pond and Trout Pond in Lyme. Together, these conserved lands provide many benefits including scenic views, water quality protection, wildlife habitat connectivity, as well as serving as examples of productive and sustainable land management practices. This group of projects demonstrates the impact that neighbors working together can have on the future of a landscape.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Thetford Bake Sale a Success!

Sarah Martel and her children organized a bake sale on December 24th, in support of the Upper Valley Land Trust's purchase of the 27.3 acre Zebedee Headwaters in Thetford. The parcel is located on Houghton Hill Road, not far from the Thetford Elementary School. Generations of Thetford children have enjoyed this property as their outdoor classroom for the study of natural sciences and ecology.

In just two hours, Thursday's bake sale netted $558. Connie Snyder of the Thetford Conservation Commission reports, "It was beautiful to see the kids jumping up and down hailing down cars and to see the generosity of people who brought goods and bought goods - many did both. No prices on any of the baked stuff - "donation - whatever you want to give" - absolutely inspired! People handed over 10 and 20 dollar bills for a bag of cookies! I've never seen anything like this before."

Thanks to everyone who participated! It's been wonderful to see the way in which fundraising efforts have evolved in support of this project. We have almost reached our goal. For more information, check out Thursday's Valley News article or this PDF.

Above: (Left to Right) Eamon Deffner, Owen Deffner, Casey MacVeagh, Alex MacVeagh, and Lily MacVeagh.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wildlife Habitat and Open Space Conserved in Hanover

When Ann and Harte Crow purchased their land in northeast Hanover over thirty years ago, they thought of naming the place “Pressey Brook Farm.” But says Harte Crow, “that seemed awfully pretentious,” for the landscape they had come to know. Instead, their family affectionately refers to the land as “The Dismal,” in honor of The Great Dismal Swamp in the southeastern U.S. The land is wet and portions are often flooded due to a hearty population of beavers that is active near the confluence of several brooks. These brooks, Pressey and Tunis, join on the property to create a large wetland complex. Pressey flows from a height of land near the Lyme/Hanover border and Tunis comes off of Moose Mountain; together these brooks serve as a watershed for Goose Pond and the Mascoma River.
The Crows recently donated a conservation easement on their 239-acre property to the Upper Valley Land Trust. This agreement will ensure the permanent protection of this land.

The Crows have owned the parcel since the 1970s and actively manage it for wildlife habitat and personal recreation. They brush hog about five acres of meadow in order to create optimal bird habitat. Woodcock aficionados have told them that the habitat here is some of the best for the bird in the Upper Valley. Other visitors to the property report that bobcats, otter, mink, wood turtles and muskrats also use the land.

This project serves to support the Town of Hanover’s goals for habitat, scenic and open space protection. Publications, including the Hanover Open Space Priority Plan and the Scenic Locales Report speak to the attributes of the land in this area.

The Crow property lies within a focus area identified by the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership (Q2C), a collaborative, landscape-scale effort to conserve the Monadnock Highlands of north-central Massachusetts and western New Hampshire. Q2C recently awarded the Upper Valley Land Trust a grant award to fund transaction related expenses for this and another nearby project.

The parcel is positioned within a 25,000 acre block of minimally fragmented forest land that extends to bordering towns of Canaan, Lyme, and Dorchester. As a whole, this large block serves as important winter habitat for moose and deer, as well as a rich and diverse habitat for bear, turkey, beaver, coyote, and grouse. Appalachian Trail Corridor and multiple Town-owned parcels are situated within a mile of The Dismal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Strafford Sugarbush Conserved for the Future

On December 16, Susan Baker signed documents protecting her 212 acre property, located off Sawnee Bean Road in Strafford. She did this in honor and memory of her late husband, Chas Baker, who purchased the land and invested his time and energy in developing and maintaining a sugarbush and sugarhouse on the property. The conservation easement, now held by the Upper Valley Land Trust, will prevent future development of the land.

For the last several years, Susan Baker has leased the property to other local sugar-makers, most recently Tig and Elise Tillinghast. "Although I never met Chas Baker, sugaring this property over the past two years has, in a way, given me a chance to get to know him a little. His love for the sugarbush is obvious from how he maintained it, and he put a lot of thought into how he would like it to develop in the future,” says Tig Tillinghast. According to the Tillinghasts, the sugarbush has recently yielded about 520 gallons of syrup annually. The property is completely wooded, except for a five acre state-mapped Class II wetland, locally known as Cook’s Swamp, which is situated on the lower portion of the property between Cook’s Hill and Davidson Hill. Presently the wetland is actively used by beavers. Moose, deer, fox, and more than 40 documented species of bird also frequent the property.

According to Elise Tillinghast, "One of the great aspects of this property is the prime bird habitat, and it's something we've had fun exploring with more knowledgeable people. For example, this past year, Audubon biologists identified three mated pairs of Canada Warblers, a fairly uncommon songbird that's in decline throughout its breeding range.” Due to the role it plays in providing valuable bird habitat, Audubon Vermont has been supportive of the property’s protection.The parcel is distinguished by its proximity to other protected lands. It is located about one half mile east of the 924 acre State of Vermont's Podunk Wildlife Management Area and in close proximity to more than 850 acres of other conserved land in Strafford and Thetford. Some of Susan Baker’s recently conserved land abuts hayfields used by a local family. In addition, the protected scenic hillside is visible in areas of Thetford and New Hampshire. Overall, the conservation of this land will help to support healthy wildlife populations, provide scenic open space and ensure the availability of local maple syrup for years to come.

To learn more about the Tillinghast's sugaring operation, please visit http://www.freshmaplesyrup.com/

The Tillinghasts posted a blog entry about the conservation of this land, read it at http://www.freshmaplesyrup.com/maple-sugar-bush-permanently-conserved/

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Weathersfield Wetland Conserved with Upper Valley Land Trust

A 38-acre parcel of land owned by John and Fran Wright in the Perkinsville area of Weathersfield is now permanently protected from development. The conservation easement ensuring the land’s protection was signed on Friday, December 11. The easement will be held in perpetuity by the Upper Valley Land Trust.

The property has been in Mr. Wright’s family since 1796. It was passed to him through a long line of ancestors. Mr. Wright’s great-grandfather farmed the land (sheep and cattle) and his father grew up in the area. It is this lengthy history of ownership that motivated the Wrights to protect the property for future generations.

The protection of the parcel includes more than 4000 feet of frontage on Mill Brook, as well as a state mapped, Class II wetland. Route 131 runs through the parcel. In the winter, a snowmobile trail passes over the Wrights’ property, crossing the brook over a wooden bridge, which VAST maintains. The property lies between Mount Ascutney State Park and Little Ascutney Wildlife Management Area. It is about one half mile from 450 acres that were protected by UVLT on the south side of Mount Ascutney with the help of the Weathersfield Land Protection Association and the Conservation Commission.

The protected property is primarily forested. It is not in current use and has been left alone for about 50 years. Because of this, there are high quality maples throughout the parcel. According to a Connecticut River Joint Commissions report, the condition of Mill Brook is excellent, waters are clear and cold, and it supports fine wild trout habitat. The property supports an abundant amount of wildlife, including beaver, moose, deer, and an occasional bear. In addition, a sandy bank provides habitat for turtles.

An endangered plant in the State of Vermont has been identified within one mile of the Wright Wetland. Additionally there are 22 more rare, endangered or threatened species identified in the Town of Weathersfield. The preservation of this land contributes to the future of biodiversity in the region, by retaining a habitat and corridor for native plants and animals to live and travel throughout the year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hartland's Lamb Farm Conserved with the Upper Valley Land Trust

On November 18, during a special meeting of the Hartland Conservation Commission, Anna Lamb signed documents that will ensure that the 67 acres of scenic open fields and forest that make up the Lamb Farm remain undeveloped forever. The Upper Valley Land Trust will uphold the conservation easement restrictions, while the family will continue to own and farm the land, and care for its many resources. Visible to travelers exiting Interstate 91, this land was preserved with funds from the federal Transportation Enhancements program through the Vermont Agency of Transportation. In addition, the Hartland Conservation Commission served as a critical partner, providing the matching funds needed to keep this working agricultural land available for future generations to enjoy.
The Lamb Farm is situated west of Route 5 in Hartland, VT in the Connecticut River Valley. It is a picturesque hillside farm along the lower eastern slopes of Tinkham Hill. More than 41 acres of open land on the property are among the first farm fields seen as travelers approach the Hartland Three Corners. Used for hay production and grazing cattle, the fields contain valuable agricultural soils considered to be of statewide significance.

Portions of the Lamb Farm also lie within an area identified as an Ecological Hot Spot by the Vermont Biodiversity Project. These Hot Spots are identified based on the density of rare, threatened and endangered species within a given area. A wetland nearby on Tinkham Hill supports a Red Maple – Black Ash Seepage Swamp, and is host to a rare plant species. While rare, endangered, or threatened species have not been identified on the Lamb property, its protection will add valuable supporting habitats to help maintain biodiversity in the region.

The Upper Valley Land Trust has conserved approximately 420 acres of land within two miles of the Lamb Farm, which is in addition to more than 300 acres of other conserved or public lands. The Lamb Farm fields are part of Hartland’s historic landscape and are an important representation of the contribution farming has made to the growth and sustenance of the town. The recent conservation easement will ensure that these fields will continue to be a part of Hartland’s working landscape for generations to come.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Town of Grantham Conserves Property with Upper Valley Land Trust

As of Wednesday, November 11th, a 30-acre parcel of land owned by the Town of Grantham, on Miller Pond Road will be protected from development forever. The Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) now holds a conservation easement on the land, known as the Lucius Smith Lot, which will ensure that the parcel remains undeveloped and open to the public for low-impact recreational activities. This conservation project is UVLT’s first in Grantham, and represents the successful partnership with the Grantham Conservation Commission to see this land preserved.

The Lucius Smith Lot is adjacent to the expansive Flewelling Sherwood Forest, which includes over 820 acres of land protected by the Town of Grantham. Also nearby is the Grantham Town Forest, which is made up of more than 445 acres of forest land. Combined with these parcels the Smith Lot adds to the largest contiguous area of protected and public land in the town of Grantham. In addition, the newly conserved parcel is part of a larger unfragmented forest block of 43,570 contiguous acres, identified by the State of New Hampshire in the 2007 Wildlife Action Plan.

The Lucius Smith Lot is mostly forested with some wetlands, a stream, a small historic cemetery and a 10 foot cliff near its half mile of road frontage. The upland forest of the Lucius Smith Lot provides habitat and acts as a wildlife corridor to surrounding forests and a buffer to meandering streams. Nearby, Miller Pond, Skinner Brook, and a large wetland of over 15 acres, provide habitat to wildlife including white-tailed deer, moose, beaver, native brook trout, muskrat, otter, loons and many other mammal, bird (migratory song birds as well as water fowl), amphibian, and reptile species.

As well as important ecological value, this property has significant historic resources. Foundations, cellar holes, and a small cemetery area within the Smith Lot represent the range of these cultural sites. According to Dick Hocker, Chair of the Grantham Conservation Commission, historic land records indicate that the owner of the property in 1860 was H.S. Clement who was married to Julia Fisher. “Fisher Cemetery,” likely named after Clement’s wife, includes five grave markers and fencing protecting the vicinity around the markers. The remnants of the Clement house site are discernible northwest of the cemetery. An additional foundation can be found along Miller Pond Road. This foundation is thought to have been a barn or perhaps affiliated with the nearby dam on the Flewelling Forest Property.

Through the recently signed conservation easement, ecological, historical and recreational values of the Lucius Smith Lot will be protected in perpetuity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Upper Valley Land Trust Recognizes Local Land Stewards

The Bradford Conservation Commission was recognized at the Upper Valley Land Trust’s Volunteer Appreciation Open House on November 10th. The Conservation Commission received an award from the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) for the dedication they bring to their work as stewards of the Wright’s Mountain and Devil’s Den trails. In addition to giving UVLT the opportunity to recognize standout volunteers, the event gave the regional land conservancy’s volunteers, staff and trustees a chance to discuss experiences from the field while sharing a warm meal and some of Jasper Murdock’s Ale brewed by Patrick Dakin at the Norwich Inn.

The event recognized UVLT’s more than 55 stewardship volunteers, who assist in activities such as trail maintenance, campsite upkeep, and conservation easement monitoring across the 44 towns that comprise UVLT’s region. Volunteers who help UVLT to monitor conservation easements walk around conserved properties and document any changes to the landscape. These walks are performed annually on the nearly 400 parcels that have been conserved with UVLT. In addition to the time and energy that stewardship volunteers contribute, dozens more volunteers assist UVLT with events, advocacy, various committees, photography and a variety of in-kind donations.

According to UVLT’s President, Jeanie McIntyre, “UVLT was created and is sustained by volunteers, who are rolling up their sleeves, lacing up their boots, sharing their time and ideas to make a greener future for our region. We are so glad to recognize all they accomplish and happy to invite more people to get involved.”

At this year’s Volunteer Appreciation Open House, UVLT chose to honor the Bradford Conservation Commission. The Commission is responsible for the maintenance of the Wright’s Mountain and Devil’s Den trails, owned by the Town of Bradford and conserved with UVLT. Under their stewardship, trails have blossomed into a well-loved community resource.

Monica Erhart, UVLT’s Stewardship Coordinator, remarks “I have been extremely impressed by the time, energy, and care that the Bradford Conservation Commission puts into their trails. Their dedication to the Wright’s Mountain and Devil’s Den properties is a model among town efforts. The few members of the Conservation Commission not only put incredible amounts of time into the trails themselves, but their ability to recruit volunteers has been remarkable.” Chair of the Bradford Conservation Commission, Nancy Jones, said that the work of stewarding Wright’s Mountain and Devil’s Den is dependent on more than the eight individuals who make up the Conservation Commission; community volunteers are essential to the Commission’s success.

The 15-year anniversary celebration of the conservation of Wright’s Mountain this June recognized the many people who have been recruited by the Commission over the years. During this event, members of the Commission hung photos of volunteers along a newly-opened trail. “There must have been several hundred photos,” Erhart remembers, “and members of the Conservation Commission could tell a story of each of the various helpers from the past.”

Especially noteworthy is the Bradford Conservation Commission’s innovation in their encouragement of responsible use of the property. “The Bradford Conservation Commission never runs into an obstacle and simply decides that their efforts cannot be accomplished,” Erhart says. “Instead, they pull their resources together, get people rallied up, and find solutions that are suitable for everyone.” The Commission has rallied together to restore the old cabin at the summit of Wright’s Mountain, which provides a comfortable shelter. Along the trails are a number of benches, each with a name engraved. These serve the dual purpose of thanking contributors to the Commission’s conservation and stewardship efforts while also giving hikers places to rest.

In order to join the Upper Valley Land Trust as a volunteer on a trail team, as a campsite steward, or a conservation easement monitor, please contact Peter Helm, Vice President Stewardship at peter.helm@uvlt.org or (603) 643-6626 ext. 104. Spring monitor training dates will be posted at http://www.uvlt.org/ in early 2009. To assist UVLT with events or other outreach activities, please contact Nora Doyle-Burr at noradoyle-burr@uvlt.org or (603) 643-6626 ext. 102.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Award-Winning Vermont Children's Author to Visit Hanover

On November 14, The Hanover Inn at Dartmouth College, Everybody Wins! Vermont (EW!VT), and the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) will host a presentation by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, an award-winning children’s author from the Northeast Kingdom region of Vermont. The event will take place from 1 – 3:30pm in the Hanover Inn’s Daniel Webster Room. It is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5 per family going to offset the costs of the event.

Kinsey-Warnock grew up on a Vermont dairy farm in the Northeast Kingdom, where her Scottish ancestors settled almost two hundred years ago. Her mother, a teacher, instilled in her a love of books and reading, and a curiosity about everything, while her father encouraged her interest in the natural world, whether it was identifying birds, trees and wildflowers, or pointing out constellations on a starry night. Kinsey-Warnock’s book, As Long As There Are Mountains, is based on her childhood and love of her family’s farm, the land, and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Everybody Wins! Vermont is a statewide mentoring and literacy organization, which matches elementary school children with mentors at 21 schools across the state, including two in New Hampshire. The pairs read together one-on-one during lunchtime once a week throughout the school year. EW!VT has come together with the Upper Valley Land Trust, a regional land conservancy based in Hanover, to bring Kinsey-Warnock to the area for this all-ages celebration of literacy and localness.

Kinsey-Warnock’s two loves, land and reading, are the themes running through the November 14 event. The program will include a presentation for all-ages and book signing by Kinsey-Warnock, a family tree craft activity for children, and snacks made from fresh, local ingredients provided by The Hanover Inn at Dartmouth College. In addition, the Norwich Bookstore will be on-hand with a selection of Kinsey-Warnock’s books available for purchase.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Local Groups Host “KING CORN” Screening in Canaan

The Upper Valley Land Trust, Vermont Earth Institute, and Cardigan Mountain School will host a screening of the film, “King Corn” on October 27, 6 – 8pm in Cardigan’s Humann Theatre. “King Corn” is a 90 minute documentary film about America’s food system, which illustrates the interdependence of the environment, human health, economic growth, and the wellbeing of communities.

In the film, two friends, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, return to a rural area of northern Iowa where their great-grandfathers at one time lived just a few miles apart. Their plan? To plant an acre of corn and trace it as it flows in to the food system. Throughout the course of the film, the friends follow the corn plant from genetically modified seed and federal subsidies to hamburgers, high fructose corn syrup, and Type II diabetes. Though food is cheaper now than it was in the 1970s, the film explains that low prices come with hidden costs to the environment, human health, and society as a whole.

The 2007 film has received numerous awards. The Washington Post called it, "Lively, engaging and visually arresting . . . 'King Corn' should be required viewing by anyone planning to visit a supermarket, fast-food joint or their own refrigerator. Funny, wise and sad, it suggests that being well-fed has nothing to do with being well-nourished.”

The three local nonprofit organizations hosting the October 27 screening all have an interest in encouraging sustainable agriculture in the Upper Valley region, and beyond. “King Corn” brings attention to the large-scale systemic challenges faced by local, community-based agriculture. The groups also hope to bring attention to the value of small-scale, local agriculture in the Upper Valley. UVLT President Jeanie McIntyre says, “We are fortunate to live in a rural landscape where many of us know the people and the land that grow our food. As our region and our planet face changes and challenges, we see the importance of supporting local farmers and protecting the land we all need to have a healthy food system.”

More information about “King Corn” can be found at http://www.kingcorn.net/. Driving directions to Cardigan Mountain School can be found at http://www.cardigan.org/. There will be signs directing visitors from the entrance of the school to the Humann Theatre for the film screening. For more information contact Nora at noradoyle-burr@uvlt.org or (603) 643-6626 ext.102.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Debby Crowell Donates Postcards to UVLT

Longtime UVLT friend, Debby Crowell, has generously donated thousands of postcards she produced for her former business “Petal Power.” Debby is a wildflower expert and made cards from 23 lovely photos. She and her husband, Jim, conserved their woodland in Canaan, NH in 2004 (see picture at left). Now retired and downsizing, Debby contributed her entire inventory of postcards as well as a display rack for the cards.

You can support land conservation in the Upper Valley by purchasing Debby’s postcards: $.25 each, or 25 for $5.

To pick up your "Petal Power" cards, stop by UVLT's office at 19 Buck Road in Hanover, call us at (603) 643-6626, or email us at contactus@uvlt.org.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Town of Orford Donates Conservation Easement

The Town of Orford recently donated a conservation easement to the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) in order to protect 11.13 acres of town-owned riverfront land from future development. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund provided key funding to complete the transaction and contributed necessary funds to UVLT’s stewardship endowment to which supports the land’s protection in perpetuity. The conservation easement on this parcel ensures that the land will remain available for agriculture, wildlife habitat, and public enjoyment.

In 2004, Mrs. Hilda Richmond gave the Town of Orford a small parcel of land just north of the village. She consulted with the Conservation Commission about her gift, and gave it as a memorial to her late husband, Gould S. Richmond, for the enjoyment of the citizens of Orford and as a place for wildlife. Bry Beeson, Chair of the Orford Conservation Commission played a lead role in the Town’s commitment to permanently conserve this parcel of land.

As is his way, Beeson proceeded carefully and thoughtfully, researching statutes that might apply and looking for examples of similar initiatives. He talked with Orford residents and outlined the necessary steps. He wrote an article and petitioned that it be placed on the warrant for vote on Town Meeting Day 2008. His proposal was not universally popular; however, Beeson continued to talk patiently, and with passion, about the conservation values of the property, the role of the Town in land conservation, and the wishes of Mrs. Richmond when she gave the land to the town. Eventually, the public consensus emerged. At their Town Meeting in March of 2008, the citizens of Orford voted to have the Town explore options for permanently protecting the parcel with the Upper Valley Land Trust through a conservation easement.

The Orford Conservation Commission spent the year following the vote educating themselves about the legal structure and terms of a conservation easement deed. They visited the property and documented its natural resources and current condition, and developed management objectives. At a series of public meetings they talked about the Richmond parcel and the easement that would protect it. Similarly, the Orford Select Board carefully reviewed the terms of the conservation easement. Overall, says UVLT President Jeanie McIntyre, “the conservation of this property included lots of different people with different skills and interests. I think it was a great learning opportunity for people to be engaged in establishing the legal instrument that will permanently protect a place that means a lot to the community.”

The Richmond parcel is in an area of Orford previously targeted for protection by the town and UVLT. With frontage on the federally recognized Connecticut River Scenic Byway, and Route 10, a state and locally recognized scenic byway, the conservation easement on this parcel provides scenic benefits to travelers in the area. Other features of the property include open farmland, woodland borders, and approximately 563 feet of Connecticut River frontage. In addition, the parcel has frontage on the marshland at the outlet of Jacobs Brook. The property will continue to be used for agriculture and low-impact recreational activities, such as walking, picnicking, or wildlife viewing. “The Richmond land is a really neat place to get some great views of the Palisades, and take a walk down to the river,” said Sara Cavin, a Project Manager at UVLT. “It is a wonderful accomplishment by the Town of Orford to honor the wishes of Mrs. Richmond and preserve this special piece of land for the enjoyment of everyone.”

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Newbury Farm & Forest Conserved

The organic dairy farm on Corey Hill Road known locally as the Meyette Farm, now owned by David “Bert” and Pam Vines, will be protected from development forever. The Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) has recently purchased the development rights from the Vines on 320 acres of open land and forest that support their farming operation by recording a conservation easement deed.

The purchase of the easement was made possible through UVLT’s Blynn Garnett Fund, a land conservation fund established in 2006 by Blynn Garnett through her will for the protection of property on or near the North Road in Newbury. Blynn Garnett left her land and house to UVLT in her will. UVLT sold the property subject to conservation restrictions. The money from the sale has gone to support further conservation in the area, such as the recent conservation of the Vines’ farm. Garnett’s obituary expressed her wish, “I wanted to do it for Newbury. I love North Road and I love West Newbury and I want to help protect it.” Find out how you can leave a legacy at http://www.uvlt.org/legacy_giving.html.

Gilbert Meyette has lived and worked in Newbury on the recently conserved dairy farm since 1945. Some things have changed since 1945: the farm is no longer dependent on horses to tend the land, and the dairy was certified organic in 2006, but the landscape has remained the same. The property features prime agricultural soils, a stand of sugar maples, scenic hillsides, hayfields and pastureland.

Pam Vines grew-up in the old schoolhouse that is located across the road from the Meyette Farm. As a child she would assist the Meyette family on their farm by accompanying them on trips to the creamery. There, she would often be treated to an ice cream cone. Though Meyette sold the property to Pam and Bert Vines in 2006, he continues to live on the farm with them.

As UVLT Conservation Project Manager, James Thaxton puts it, “It’s an old farm with a lot of new energy. Pam and Bert are building their operation on a strong foundation and look forward to many years of farming to come.” The Vines currently milk 35 Jersey and Holstein cows on their hilly dairy farm, located on one of Newbury’s numerous back roads. They ship the milk to Horizon Organic in Buffalo, NY, where it is processed and then sold as fluid milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, or ice cream. While the price the Vines receive for their milk has decreased $1 per hundredweight this year and will likely further diminish in the coming year, the couple remain positive. The conservation of this property has provided them with funds necessary for the continued success of their business. They plan to grow and improve their organic dairy operation by paying down their mortgage, buying additional cows, and investing in needed equipment.

In addition to the financial benefits of conserving their land, it pleases the Vines to see land that has supported a dairy farm since 1900, stay as it is for generations to come. UVLT's James Thaxton says, “Protecting the Meyette Farm will not only help to preserve the health and stability of the farming community in the region, but will protect the beauty of this area as well.” The Vines have been encouraged by their neighbors to protect the property in order to maintain the traditional rural character of the area. As Bert Vines said, quoting one of his neighbors, “This [conservation easement] is a way to conserve our little corner of Heaven.”

Friday, August 28, 2009

20th Annual New Hampshire Tree Farm Field Day

The NH Tree Farm Committee has selected Igor Blake as the 2009 NH Outstanding Tree Farmer. The award recognizes Igor's long history of stewardship which recently included donating a conservation easement to UVLT. The field day is a celebration of Igor Blake's stewardship and an educational event for people to learn about all aspects of managing and caring for forestland. The morning session will include several tours of Mr. Blake's property, as well as other educational activities. Lunch is a chicken barbeque and pig roast with an award presentation, raffle and silent auction. The event will take place rain or shine on Saturday, September 19th, 9am - 3pm at the Blake Family Tree Farm, 456 Oak Street, Newport, NH. For more information call the NH Tree Farm Program office: (603) 224-9945, or find the printable brochure with directions to the Blake Tree Farm at http://extension.unh.edu/forestry/Docs/2009NHTREEFARM.pdf

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thanks Go to UVLT's Terrific Summer Interns!

Jay Buckey

When UVLT Conservation Project Manager, James Thaxton, interviewed Jay at Vermont Law School back in February he was impressed with Jay's enthusiasm for land conservation and his willingness to take on a challenge. After completing his work here, we now know that he has fortitude as well - that is the ability to confront fear, risk, danger, uncertainty and intimidation.

This summer Jay took on some knotty legal problems. He tackled reversionary interests, the sale of timber rights, flowage agreements, and beaver dam liability. He learned to research property title, and he learned how to cure title defects found in the course of researching property titles. (Feel free to ask him about converting rods and links to feet and inches.)

He drafted deeds, conservation easements, amendments, and purchase and sales agreements. He filled out tax forms, budgets, and settlement statements. He also researched and reported on the Farm Service Agency, foreclosures, the Federal Register, the Federal Highway Administration, riparian buffers, public access, and landowner liability.

Jay’s enthusiasm and fortitude has helped make this summer a productive and successful one for the Land Trust.

Aime Schwartz

When UVLT was searching for a candidate for the Patchen Miller Internship this past summer, we knew we found our mark when Aime Schwartz popped up on the land trust radar! Aime had graduated Magna Cum Laude from Colby College with a degree in both Environmental Policy and International Studies…and from her impressive application, we knew she was up to the challenge of working with our busy land trust!

Aime’s work with the Stewardship Department over the 10 weeks of her internship was absolutely wonderful. We all enjoyed her infectious smile and quick wit…independently coming and going while tending to trail and campsite issues, working on management plans, monitoring, and being the all-around “go to” person when something needed to be done. Aime’s organizational skills shined while compiling and consolidating information on all of the UVLT trails and the UVLT managed canoe campsites. And while you may not immediately “see” some of the results of her work, you should know that those of us here at the Land Trust (and those walkers and paddlers among us) will reap the benefits for years to come. Aime is back in her home state of Colorado; we all wish her the very best of luck in her next adventures!

Thank you, Jay & Aime!

Monday, August 17, 2009

UVLT Receives Grant for Clay Brook Trail

UVLT was recently awarded a grant of $2000 from the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Fund. UVLT was one of just 24 organizations selected from across the entire United States. The grant will be used for public trail improvements of the Clay Brook Trail system near Lyme, NH. With the help of local volunteers, the Connecticut River Joint Commissions and the Lyme Conservation Commission, the Clay Brook Trail was initially established to link other trails and walkways across several conserved properties and the Lyme Town Forest. Unfortunately, the trail has been temporarily closed due to overgrowth, needed improvements, and logging complications which have obstructed access to portions of the trail. The American Hiking Society grant (see www.americanhiking.org/NTF.aspx) will enable UVLT and area volunteers to complete much-needed trail improvements and to continue recreational maintenance efforts on other trails throughout the area. The Clay Brook Trail is part of UVLT’s network of 23 public trails in the Upper Valley. To access information about trails and recreational opportunities, please visit www.uvlt.org/trails.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Ride for Life

To me, the Prouty symbolizes Community here in the Upper Valley. Family, friends, acquaintances new and old, joining together in fun for a greater good…it doesn’t get much better than that! As riders click off the miles, they will undoubtedly think about their contribution to a better future, and hopefully a cure. I challenge riders to use their time in the seat to also consider more broadly, all the good that goes on here in the Upper Valley to benefit each of us, our children, and all those that follow.

In much the same way we are blessed to have leaders in cancer research among our flock, we also have other leaders among us… other people looking to the future. You may not recognize them…they wear Carhartts, drive tractors and skidders, wield saws and plows. They’re up early each day, come drenching rain or scorching sun, producing food for you and for me….AND, they have protected their land for generations to come!

To acknowledge the contribution that private landowners along the Prouty route have made to the betterment of our future, the Upper Valley Land Trust will place a sign on each piece of land that has been protected by a permanent conservation easement held by the Upper Valley Land Trust. These lands will forever be available to produce food and fiber for our needs, and for those that follow us.

Given the uncertainty of climate change, the need for sustainability and local food, I hope riders this weekend will give a wink or a nod to the landowners and members of the Upper Valley community who continue to provide the leadership necessary for these gifts that will keep on giving…for our future. Have a great ride…and enjoy the view!

Pete Helm, Stewardship Director
Upper Valley Land Trust
(603) 643-6626 x104

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Woodlot for Sale

The parcel is 10 acres and located on Coppermine Road, Corinth, VT.

Visit: http://www.uvlt.org/pdf/woodlot.pdf for more information, or call UVLT's office at (603) 643-6626.


Monday, June 15, 2009

"Garbage: The Revolution Starts at Home" Comes to the Upper Valley

Upper Valley Land Trust, Vermont Earth Institute, Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club, Sustainable Hanover, League of Women Voters of the Upper Valley, and Greater Upper Valley Solid Waste District will co-sponsor the film Garbage: The Revolution Starts at Home on Tuesday, June 23rd at 7pm at the Howe Library’s Mayer Room, Hanover. This 76-minute documentary features the McDonalds, a husband, wife, and three young children from Toronto, who agree to star in the film as guinea pigs by storing three month’s worth of garbage in their garage.

The film explores the origins of the McDonald’s garbage and traces its path once it leaves their garage. Director Andrew Nisker takes the viewer to landfills, recycling centers and to the heart of Toronto’s multi-million dollar “wet garbage” processing plant – a place where city residents’ food scraps, paper towels and kitty litter are all processed into composting material.

The film tackles more than garbage – it looks at the negative aspects of phosphates in laundry detergent, heavy metals in the human body, and the ways in which communities in Michigan deal with their status as the dumpster for Canada’s trash. The film addresses the implications of lifestyle issues, such as energy use and mountain top mining for coal, which is the energy source for Toronto families like the McDonalds. Together, the McDonalds and viewers of this documentary discover that for every action there is a reaction that affects them and the entire planet. The film places the focal point of change in the home, and enables viewers to see the ways in which seemingly minor decisions can make a big difference in terms of the health of the earth. According to Nora Doyle-Burr, Programs Coordinator of the Upper Valley Land Trust, “We sponsors have come together with our mutual concerns to raise public awareness and action to use less energy, fewer natural resources – and to not pollute and despoil the environment.”

For more information about Garbage see http://www.garbagerevolution.com/. There will be a short discussion following the film; attendees will be encouraged to think of ways that they can take action to reduce our garbage. The event is free and open to the public. Bring your bowl and cup for free popcorn and drinks. For more information contact Barbara Duncan at vei@valley.net or 802-333-3664.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Protecting Critical Wildlife Habitat in the Upper Valley Region

HANOVER, NH—Upper Valley Land Trust will host Emily Brunkhurst of New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department for a presentation entitled “Enhancing Small Scale Habitats: Grasslands, Shrublands, and Vernal Pools.” The event will be held on June 22nd at 7pm at the Richard Black Center on Lebanon Street in Hanover.

Small scale habitats such as grasslands, vernal pools, and shrublands, provide critical habitat for some of New Hampshire's imperiled wildlife species. These species include: marbled salamanders, black racers, grasshopper sparrows, and New England cottontails. Enhancing habitats for wildlife helps maintain the biological diversity of the State, which is the goal of New Hampshire’s Wildlife Action Plan. “Grasslands and shrublands must be managed to stay as those habitats, and so specific management techniques are important” says Emily Brunkhurst. “Vernal pools can be affected by forest management, so some special considerations are needed to ensure those pools stay productive.”

As Emily Brunkhurst will explain on June 22, vernal pools are wetland depressions identifiable by their relatively small size, physical isolation, and alternation between periods of flooding and drying. Loss of large quantities of vernal pool habitat can lead to local extinction of vernal pool-dependent species, for example: fairy shrimp, wood frog, spotted salamander, blue-spotted salamander, Jefferson salamander, and the state endangered marbled salamander. A database of vernal pool locations in the State is currently under development.

Other critical habitats currently under threat are grasslands. Grasslands are dominated by grasses, wildflowers, and sedges—with little shrub or tree cover. This includes hayfields, pastures and other grassy spaces such as capped landfills. Grasslands in New Hampshire must be mown to prevent them from becoming shrublands or forests, however, the mowing must be done in ways and at times so as to not harm or disturb the wildlife during critical breeding periods. This type of habitat is home to the Northern leopard frog, smooth green snake, Northern harrier, upland sandpiper, Eastern meadowlark, horned lark, purple martin, vesper sparrow, Henslow's sparrow, and the grasshopper sparrow, among others. Only 8% of New Hampshire grasslands are protected by conservation easements. As grasslands grow into shrublands, they provide habitat for a whole new suite of species.

At the June 22nd presentation, New Hampshire Fish and Game's Emily Brunkhurst will explain ways of identifying these habitats, as well as ways of maintaining and enhancing them through management practices and the maintenance of buffers. This event is free and open to the public. To register in advance, contact Nora at (603) 643-6626 ext. 102, or noradoyle-burr@uvlt.org.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Conservation Easement Protects Lebanon Drinking Water Supply

LEBANON, NH—As of May 2009, the Lebrun Meadow along Mascoma Lake is protected through a conservation easement held in perpetuity by the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT). The conservation of this undeveloped land was made possible through the efforts of the City of Lebanon, its Conservation Commission, and the Water Supply Land Grant Program of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES). Further financial support for the project came from the Lebanon Open Space Trust Fund which receives penalty money when lands are removed from the Current Use Assessment for development.

The protection of this parcel will help to safeguard water resources and other valuable natural resources for the benefit of current and future inhabitants of the City of Lebanon. The conservation easement ensures that the land’s uses will remain consistent with goals to preserve water quality of surface and groundwater resources. As it did for this project, DES provides grant money to support the protection of water supply lands throughout the state of New Hampshire.

This 21.3 acre parcel, located between Route 4 and Mascoma Lake, was within a priority area for conservation in the City of Lebanon’s Master Plan. In addition to the value provided to the City through water protection benefits, the parcel has significant scenic value for people traveling along the busy Route 4 corridor, the Northern Rail Trail, or using the lake itself.

The Lebanon Conservation Commission is committed to maintaining the property for low-impact recreation and wildlife habitat. They have worked with the UNH Cooperative Extension to develop a management plan and mowing regimen to improve the property for wildlife and native species diversity. According to Lebanon Conservation Commission Chair, Judy Mcnab, “The property will be mowed according to a plan developed by NH Forester, Matt Tarr, to provide a variety of bird and small mammal habitats. As with all Lebanon Conservation lands the public is welcome to visit the land as long as they are respectful of its ecological values.”

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Two Upcoming Events in Bradford, VT

Community Hike and 15-year Anniversary Celebration, Saturday, June 6th, meeting at Wright's MT Trailhead, 9:30 am

Refreshments, Music and Ribbon-Cutting to open a new 1/2 mile trail called "Appreciation Way", dedicated to all the volunteers who have helped build and maintain trails and made this beautiful land more accessible to people of all ages.

"Appreciation Way" meanders away from the main Wright's MT Trail, through an evergreen stand and gradually up though a hardwood forest to a ridgeline plateau that offers distant views of Corinth to the West and NH mountains to the East. It rejoins the Wright's MT Trail for the final ascent to the cabin, which is perched at Bradford's highest point. (Easy to Moderate)

2009 marks the 15th year since Wright's MT was purchased from the Appleton Family and was conserved for the public's use FOREVER.

5th Annual Devil's Den Celebration, Sunday, June 7th, beginning at noon to mark the 5-year anniversary of Devil's Den being conserved.

Cook-out, live music, campfire, stories, guided hikes.

This event will be staged at the Devil's Den parking area on Chase Hollow Road. Parking will be available at a log landing about 1/4 mile from the Devil's Den Trailhead.

Contact Nancy Jones for more information about either of these events at npj@valley.net, or (802) 439-3562.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Annual Event Celebrates Upper Valley Working Lands & Wild Places

MERIDEN, NH—“When one family conserves acreage that is to be admired. When many neighbors together conserve a whole rural landscape, it is a powerful statement of shared values and recognition that collectively we can accomplish so much more.” It has been twelve years, since Dick Ramsden used those words to explain why he conserved his property. Today, the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) holds conservation agreements on approximately 400 parcels of land in 44 communities. Thousands of people have participated in UVLT’s mission since the Trust was founded in 1985. Their stories and accomplishments will be shared and celebrated on June 3, in Meriden…

UVLT invites supporters, friends, neighbors, and community members to join staff and Trustees for its annual celebration and membership meeting. Kimball Union Academy has generously donated space for the June 3rd event entitled: Tales from the Field. The event emphasizes the tremendous value that the region’s working lands and wild places add to its quality of life.

The schedule of activities for the day (weather permitting) includes a 3:30pm hike on French’s Ledges, a UVLT conserved trail in Meriden—it is a steep climb, but persistent participants will be rewarded by spectacular views. A guided bus tour of UVLT conserved lands in Sullivan County is available to those traveling from Hanover or Lebanon; it will leave at 3:30pm. Those interested in participating in either of these afternoon activities can register and learn more by calling or emailing Nora at (603) 643-6626 ext. 102, or noradoyle-burr@uvlt.org, by May 25th.

At 5:30pm, appetizers, cold drinks, and displays will be featured—UVLT staff will be available to provide current information about land conservation in the region, resources for landowners, and upcoming events. Local cheeses provided by Blythedale Farm and Jericho Hill Farm will be served. Patrick Dakin, Brew Master at the Norwich Inn, will pour Jasper Murdock’s Ales; some regional wines will also be enjoyed.

While partaking of these refreshments, guests will be invited to place bids on homegrown gifts in a silent auction to benefit UVLT. This year’s auction includes: a sunset champagne cruise on Canaan Street Lake (with loon sighting guaranteed), a “study” illustration from Big & Little, accompanied by the book itself by John Stadler, a handmade box by Garrett Hack of Thetford, a boat ride up the Connecticut River with John Carroll of Norwich, Farnum Hill Cider, Taylor Brothers’ Maple Syrup, Garfield’s Smokehouse Cheese, King Arthur Cookbooks, and many more locally crafted items! Everything in the auction has been donated by friends and neighbors who support land conservation in the region. View a complete list of items at: http://www.uvlt.org/pdf/Silent%20Auction%20Items.pdf.

Local ingredients will be the focal point of a casual dinner, $15 per person, beginning at 6:30pm. Seasonal produce will be provided by these area farms: Blue Ox Farm (Enfield, NH), Edgewater Farm (Plainfield, NH), Cedar Circle Farm (Thetford, VT), MacLennan Farm (Windsor, VT), and Four Corners Farm (Newbury, VT). Weather permitting; dinner will finish with first of the season strawberry shortcake and fresh whipped cream!

Following dinner, the program will consist of Tales from the Field: conservation stories told by Upper Valley landowners and volunteers. These will be reflective and inspiring accounts of the region’s working lands and natural areas. The evening’s speakers will provide insight into the motivations that lead to the conservation of the Upper Valley’s special places. During the awards portion of the evening, Meriden’s own, Steve Taylor, longtime New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner will be honored for his work in conservation. In addition, Norwich’s Shiela Swett will be recognized for her nature photography, as well as her support of UVLT’s efforts.

For more information, or to reserve your seat, contact Nora Doyle-Burr at noradoyle-burr@uvlt.org or (603) 643-6626, by May 25th.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

National Bike/Walk to Work Day, May 15, 2009

With growing concern about carbon footprints, there has never been a better time to leave your car at home and bike or walk to work! If all you have been waiting for is little support and encouragement, the 5th Annual Upper Valley Bike/Walk to Work Day, co-organized by Upper Valley Trails Alliance and Upper Valley Rideshare, is a good time to start. Friday, May 15th is the day to curb your car, and use an earth-friendly commute, and reward yourself with a free light breakfast (provided at eight different locations). Join your friends, neighbors and co-workers, as well as thousands of others across the nation, in celebrating National Bike/Walk to Work Day.

The 2008 event had 302 participants from 63 employers attending 8 breakfasts. There were 11 Bike and Walk Groups to choose from, and 30 sponsors. By leaving their cars at home for one day, the 302 participants SAVED 4,193 milesand 1.86 Tons of Co2.

For commuters who are unsure about which route to take, how to navigate the roads, or how long it will take to get to work, the UV event offers experienced local Bike and Walk commuters who will lead small groups into the UV employment areas. Maps for some well-tested routes are also on the website. The commutes utilize common roads and groomed trails including the Upper Valley’s Northern Rail Trail to get to work. Check the website http://www.bike2work-day.com/ for route maps and group meeting times.

Breakfasts vary but generally offer a variety of fresh fruit, bagels, juice and coffee. Like-minded participants chat about road conditions, cold and fitness. Sign-in at the breakfast to be entered into a drawing featuring a $100 savings bond from Mascoma Savings Bank, an I-pod Shuffle from Systems Plus, lunch from Harpoon Brewery, gas cards from Lebanon Jiffy Mart, walking shoes from Farmway, Inc.-Vermont Gear, membership at the RVC, and more all donated by generous local sponsors.

The 2009 Breakfast locations are:

  • Hanover - Buck Rd: Upper Valley Land Trust, 8-9:00AM
  • Hanover - Etna Rd: Hypertherm Cafeteria, 7-8:30AM
  • Hanover - Hopkins Center Plaza: Dartmouth College, 6:30-8:30AM with a tech from Omer & Bob’s Sport Shop on-site
  • Lebanon - Downtown: Colburn Park, 7-8:30AM with an EMS tech on-site
  • Lebanon - Centerra Park: Lebanon Food Co-op, 7-8:30AM
  • Hartford - Downtown: Hartford Municipal Building Lawn, 7-8:30AM
  • Norwich - Rte 5: King Arthur Flour Bakers Store, 7:30-8:30
  • Lebanon: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Level 1 Dining Room, 6:30-9AM (Employees only)
Sponsors of the 5th Annual event include: Dartmouth College, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Hartford Parks and Recreation, Lebanon Recreation and Parks, Hypertherm, Lebanon Food Co-op, Systems Plus Computers, Farm-Way Inc, River Valley Club, Harpoon Brewery, Salt Hill Pub, Omer & Bobs, Lou’s Restaurant, Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) West Lebanon, Lebanon Jiffy Mart, Mascoma Savings Bank, Lou’s Restaurant, King Arthur Flour, Upper Valley Land Trust.

Details at http://www.bike2work-day.com/. This event was co-organized by Upper Valley Rideshare, a ride matching service for NH and the UV region since 1992, and Upper Valley Trails Alliance, promoting trails and healthy living, connecting communities.

    Now You Can Watch UVLT Programs Online!

    Did you miss the April 28th Natural Areas presentation by Mark Zankel, Deputy State Director for the NH Chapter of The Nature Conservancy?

    Don't worry! Simply visit CATV's website at: www.catv8.org/watch/video-on-demand.html. Then, search for UVLT, Natural Areas, or TNC. Look for Marc Rosenbaum's May 12th Deep Energy Retrofits & Zero Net Energy Homes presentation on CATV's website soon.

    Grooming the Wright's Mountain/Devil's Den Trails

    Your Help Is Needed!

    The Bradford Stewardship Committee needs help with grooming the Wrights MT/Devil’s Den Trails. Bring gloves, H2O, a leaf rake, if you have them; some will be provided.
    • Wednesday, May 20, 4pm - dusk; meet at DD Trailhead
    • Saturday, May 30, 8 - 11am; meet at DD Trailhead
    • Thursday, June 4, 4pm - dusk; meeting place tbd
    Directions to Devil’s Den Trailhead Parking Area: From Bradford’s only traffic light at the intersection of Routes 5 & 25,head on Route 25 West for 4 miles. Turn right onto Chase Hollow Rd. Travel about 3 miles, and the parking area is on the left.

    For more information contact Nancy Jones at npj@valley.net or visit http://www.uvlt.org/trails.html.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009


    WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT—The Upper Valley Land Trust, Vermont Earth Institute, Sustainable Energy Resource Group (SERG), and the Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club will co-sponsor Marc Rosenbaum, P.E.’s presentation entitled, “Deep Energy Retrofits and Zero Net Energy Homes” on May 12th at 7pm at the Bugbee Senior Center in White River Junction, VT. Energy efficiency is one step that Upper Valley residents can take to reduce their carbon footprints, and to save money on fuel costs. This presentation is part of a much larger effort to encourage discussion and empower individuals to take action against climate change.

    In early April, James Hansen visited Dartmouth and presented scientific data that indicates the urgent need for immediate efforts to face the challenges caused by climate change. Rosenbaum will offer practical solutions to combat this pressing threat and discuss the need to fix buildings and create new ones so that they use much less energy. His presentation will include a view from the trenches of state-of-the-art low energy houses and extreme energy makeovers of existing homes. There will be time for questions at the end of the evening. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP by contacting Nora at noradoyle-burr@uvlt.org, or (603) 643-6626 ext. 102.

    Rosenbaum, a resident of Meriden, NH, holds BS and MS degrees from MIT, where he studied mechanical engineering. He uses an integrated systems design approach to help people create buildings and communities which connect humans to the natural world, and support both personal and planetary health. Through a collaborative design process, he achieves the goal of understanding the interconnections between people, place, and systems that generate the best solution for each project.

    Rosenbaum’s company, Energysmiths, was founded in 1979, on the principle that sustainable communities can only be based on renewable resources. He has focused on integrating renewable energy systems, daylighting, high performance envelope design, health-sustaining mechanical systems, food production and storage, ecological waste systems, efficient electrical and water systems, and benign, resource-efficient materials selection into his projects. Visit Energysmiths’ website for more information about Rosenbaum’s work: http://www.energysmiths.com/.

    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 http://www.uvlt.org/.

    Vermont Earth Institute engages and supports Vermonters to reduce consumption and adopt environmentally sustainable practices in their homes, workplaces and communities. To learn more visit: http://www.vtearthinstitute.org/

    Sustainable Energy Resource Group (SERG) promotes energy conservation, efficiency and renewables through the formation of town energy committees to help residents, businesses and the municipalities reduce energy consumption, save money, increase the sustainable use of renewables, strengthen the local economy and improve the environment. For more information, visit their website http://www.serg-info.org/.

    The Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club works on a number of issues that they believe are critical for helping maintain Vermont's high quality of life - including working with Vermont communities on energy and climate change and protecting public lands. Find out more at http://www.vermont.sierraclub.org/.

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Naturalist Walk at Hawkride Farm

    Saturday, May 9th, 8:30 - 11:30am
    Hawkride Farm, 109 Jenney Road, Meriden, NH

    Join Monica Erhart, UVLT Stewardship Coordinator, Amber Boland, UVLT Conservation Mapping and Field Specialist, and Peg Ackerson, a member of the Mascoma Chapter of the New Hampshire Audubon, as they lead a naturalist walk on a beautiful property (Hawkride Farm) conserved by UVLT Trustee, Myra Ferguson and her husband, Allan. The walk will focus on the property's springtime bird and plant life. Please wear weather-appropriate clothing and footwear. For more information contact Monica Erhart at Monica.erhart@uvlt.org or Amber Boland at amber.boland@uvlt.org, or call UVLT at (603) 643-6626.
    In case of inclement weather, call Monica at (802) 431-5061.
    Hawkride Farm is located halfway between Route 120 and Route 12A on Brook Road which is runs through Plainfield and West Lebanon, NH.
    From 12A:
    From I-89, take Exit 20 in West Lebanon and follow Route 12A to the south. In about 2 miles, turn left* onto True's Brook Road. Stay on this road as the name changes first to Brook Road, then to Willow Brook Road, about 4.8 miles. Turn left on Jenney Road. Approximately 1/2 mile up Jenney Road on the left is the driveway entrance. There is a granite post marking 109 Jenney Road. The Ferguson house is on the top of the hill on the right at the end of a 1/2 mile long driveway. Park your car below the house by continuing straight on the driveway and following the parking signs.
    From RT 120:
    From I-89, take NH 120 south to Meriden Village. At the flashing yellow traffic light, turn right* onto Main Street. Continue on Main Street and pass a covered bridge on the left. Main Street then changes to Valley Brook Road. Travel about 2 more miles from village to what appears to be a fork in the road. Take the road on the right, Jenney Road. Approximately 1/2 mile up Jenney Road on the left is the driveway entrance. There is a granite post marking 109 Jenney Road. The Ferguson house is on the top of the hill on the right at the end of a 1/2 mile long driveway. Park your car below the house by continuing straight on the driveway and following the parking signs.
    *If coming from the south, turn in the opposite direction (i.e., "right" not "left").

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Fight Invasive Species!


    We ran out of handouts at yesterday's Flavors of the Valley; if you missed it, please see the pdf below to find out more about removing the invasive plant. You'll also find a recipe for the popular garlic mustard pesto!


    More information about invasive species in our region can be found at: http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/vermont/volunteer/art21105.html.
    More recipes can be found at: http://www.ma-eppc.org/morerecipes.html.

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    Natural Areas: What Are They, Why Do They Matter, and How Do They Touch Down in the Upper Valley Region?

    Connecticut River from Silverweed Seep Preserve© Eric Aldrich/TNC

    Join The Nature Conservancy and the Upper Valley Land Trust on April 28th, 7 – 8:30pm at The Howe Library Mayer Room in Hanover, NH. Mark Zankel, Deputy State Director for The Nature Conservancy's New Hampshire Chapter, will speak about the role of "natural areas" in New Hampshire's network of conservation lands. He will preview an exciting new conservation project to protect a large Upper Valley landscape for nature and people.

    This program is free and open to the public.

    For more information contact Nora at noradoyle-burr@uvlt.org or (603) 643-6626 ext. 102.

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Flavors of the Valley

    Visit UVLT's table at this year's Flavors of the Valley, hosted by Vital Communities and Valley Food & Farm.

    Tuesday April 21st, 2-7pm
    $7/person (kids 6 and under free)
    Hartford High School Gym, White River Junction, VT

    Celebrate the food and farms of our region while enjoying the sights, smells and tastes of over 60 diverse vendors. Share a wholesome and hopeful experience of gathering with family, friends and the larger community. Everyone is welcome!
    • Meet farmers and chefs
    • Savor samples
    • Buy local foods (Bring a cooler and shopping bags!)
    • Get your free 2009 Valley Food & Farm Guide
    • Help to reduce waste––bring your own plate, fork & cup!
    Visit http://www.vitalcommunities.org/ for more information.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Cyclers pedal 350 people-powered-miles for the planet

    Two Vermonters and two New Hampshirites are cycling 350 miles from Norwich, Vermont to Canton, New York to speak about climate-safe lifestyles in towns along the way. On Thursday, April 9th from 5-6:30 pm, the Upper Valley Food Coop is hosting Jim Merkel, author of Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth and his fellow cyclers for their presentation at the Coop at 193 North Main St. in White River Junction. They depart on April 9th from Norwich, Vermont and will speak at 11 towns en route to the North Country Sustainable Energy Fair. They bike 350 miles to broadcast the message of leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen: “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted… CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 parts per million to at most 350 ppm.”

    At the interactive Cycling for a Sustainable Future Kick-off event, participants become ‘visionaries’ of alternative futures and presenters offer footprint reducing examples. This event celebrates the regions innovative organizations and businesses that are leading the way. You’re encouraged to cycle to the Co-op, enjoy free local food and hear from local leaders. Jim Merkel states, “This event offers a radical stimulus package where practical, artful, scientifically sound lifestyle steps accumulate. From vision to action, witness the birth of a new culture where low-impact becomes ‘default.’”

    Team members will also document exciting “Transition Town” initiatives on campuses, farms, and towns and relay them on the Cycling for a Sustainable Future blog.
    Since 1996 the Cycling for a Sustainable Future Tours have covered over 17,000 miles. This year’s tour members are: Jim Merkel, Susan Cutting, S. Tyler Durham and Ross Scatchard. They thank the wind at their backs generated by their sponsors: the Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club, Ibex, D Acres, The Global Living Project and the Upper Valley Food Coop.

    For more information about the event, contact Kye Cochran at (802) 295-5804 or Jim Merkel at glp@vtusa.com or (802) 649-2508

    Also, join the tour members and UVLT on Saturday, April 11th, 10 - 11:30am at the Mountain School dining hall in Vershire, VT for "Real World Sustainability". A lunchtime conversation will follow. Bring a bag lunch or a donation for food. Pump up those bike tires, cycle to the event and join the team on their way out of town toward Montpelier after lunch, (802) 439-5324.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Training Session for New Stewardship Volunteers

    Do you like hiking off-trail? Do you enjoy visiting beautiful places?
    Join the Upper Valley Land Trust’s team of volunteer easement stewards to monitor conserved properties all over the Upper Valley!
    Stewardship volunteering involves meeting landowners of conserved land, hiking off-trail to find property boundaries with a map and compass, and recording what you see as you become our eyes and ears on permanently protected land.
    This training includes an indoor session with general easement information and instruction on using a map and compass; then we will venture outside for hands-on field practice. For more information, please contact UVLT at (603) 643-6626 or email Monica.Erhart@uvlt.org.
    When: April 18, 2009, 8:30am - 2:30pm
    Where: Upper Valley Land Trust, 19 Buck Road, Hanover, NH 03755
    See the flyer for the training at: http://www.uvlt.org/pdf/stewardship_training.pdf.

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    Brainstorm for Upper Valley Earth Day Events

    We are going to begin having planning meetings for April Earth Day events. If you would like to participate in these meetings, please email noradoyle-burr@uvlt.org with times and days of the week that might work for you.

    Please see the below list and provide us with your suggestions in the comment section, or by emailing noradoyle-burr@uvlt.org or calling (603) 643-6626 ext. 102. We can't do all of these activities. Help us to prioritize events that will be relevant and engaging for your communities.
    Books and displays at libraries—(See the suggested list) UVLT can help to contact local librarians to look for display space, or Conservation Commissioners are welcome to take on this task.
    Conservation themed art exhibits to go in library, post office, and store windows—this could involve a partnership with local art teachers.
    Hikes to the “highest points” in Towns: Wright’s Mountain, Tucker Mountain, Sawyer Ledges; Pinnacle, etc.
    Slide show or film festival, for example: “15 second short films on I-phones and digital cameras that could be put onto various computer screens for a village show. The kids can make up many kinds of skits to do with nature, green-up, trees or what-have-you, and act/edit, and then have them playing at an open house. For that matter, if there's a flurry of them, local TV stations may be willing to put a few on TV if asked.” (Peggy Willey, West Fairlee)
    Music and/or dancing—Ideas for venues, or musicians?
    Potluck dinner(s)—Ideas for venues?
    Speaker series or a “big name”—Ideas for relevant topics, speakers, or venues?
    Technical training like wetlands, shore land protection, climate change, energy, recycling—Ideas for speakers, venues, topics?
    Displays of Posters or stories crafted by Upper Valley youths
    Reading series – local authors—suggestions?
    Stories/testimony from landowners and/or old-timers—suggestions?
    Innovative Planning Dialogue—we could invite planners from the Upper Valley that have been involved in creative zoning
    Easement Monitor Training—UVLT will be training new conservation easement monitor volunteers.
    Spring Farm Tour—if there is interest, UVLT could arrange a day to tour several local farms. Families would be welcome.
    Photographing Nature Workshops
    Trail Work Days
    Relevant writing prompts for middle school & high school students

    Friday, February 27, 2009

    Riverfront Farmland and Wildlife Habitat Conserved in Bath, NH

    BATH, NH—Lackie Farm, a unique riverfront property, will be protected forever from future development. The purchase of a conservation easement by the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) on the 171 acre parcel was made possible through the support of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, with further assistance from the Town of Bath.

    The property has been owned by the Lackie family for over 60 years. Cecile Lackie said, “I remember when I first heard about the possibility of conserving the land; I felt a real sense of relief knowing that it could stay in the family.” The eight Lackie siblings were able to collaborate throughout the conservation process and reach a successful outcome. It remains a family gathering place for 4th of July and Christmas celebrations that feature bonfires and snowmobiling. Immediately following the land’s conservation, Steve Lackie became the sole owner of the property. He says, “It’s nice to keep the property open, as more and more other land in the area becomes developed.”

    Situated near the confluence of the Ammonoosuc and Connecticut Rivers, the Lackie Farm lies just north of the downtown area of Woodsville. The farm supported a dairy until 1996; currently, Steve Lackie makes hay, which he sells to local farmers, with grass grown on the important agriculture soils along the river. The land includes two islands with floodplain forests in the Connecticut River which “afford excellent stopover habitat and some nesting habitat for migratory songbirds,” according to Barry Parrish, Refuge Manager of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. The forested hillside rises from the farmland along Route 135 to a peak approximately 1,216 feet in elevation and is visible for miles around.

    The protection of the Lackie Farm preserves scenic views along the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway and of Woodsville from “The Lookout,” a ridgetop clearing that the Lackies have kept open to the public. Steve Lackie says that the moderate hike up to “The Lookout” is well worth it for the view. The property’s significant river frontage (over 1 mile), includes unique islands, ledges, wetland areas, and seasonal streams within a stretch of the Connecticut River referred to as “The Narrows.” This is a popular location for fishermen and includes important habitat for wildlife. Conservation of the wooded slopes prevents development that could degrade unique wildlife habitat in an ecologically important region of the Connecticut River watershed.

    According to the Town’s Selectmen, “The Town of Bath deeply appreciates the commitment of the Lackie family to the memory of their parents, Rita R. Lackie and Harry Lackie, Jr. and to the interests of the Town in preserving the Lackie Farmstead and its overlook of the unique Connecticut River frontage below the Narrows. This grant protects great scenic views, fabulous wildlife habitat, and plant communities of special concern. The Lackie Family Grant also allows the public to enjoy a beautiful property.”

    Judy Tumosa of the Bath Conservation Commission, says of the Lackie's conservation of their land: "They are protecting Connecticut River frontage, great scenic views, fabuous wildlife habitat, and plant communities of special concern. They are also allowing the public to be able to enjoy a beautiful property in perpituity. It is a great gift to the town of Bath."

    The permanent conservation of community-defining landscapes with historic and cultural significance as found in the Lackie Farm is a valuable accomplishment that will ensure the lasting legacy of the region’s traditional agricultural way of life, and will permanently protect scenic resources that have long inspired people in the Bath area.

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    Patchen Miller Internship

    Applications are being accepted now! Visit our Jobs & Internships page or contact Peter Helm, Vice President Stewardship, (603) 643-6626 ext. 104, or peter.helm@uvlt.org for more information.

    Monday, February 23, 2009

    Friday, February 20, 2009