Paddle the Scenic CT River with ACT

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View of the Johnson Farm from the CT River.

 

Join ACT for a members only paddle to explore a lovely stretch of the Connecticut River, and see the historic Johnson Farm and Islands, ACT conserved earlier this year in Monroe.

Dodge Falls extends beyond this map, and the Johnson Islands are roughly halfway between the two falls.

Dodge Falls extends beyond this map, and the Johnson Islands are roughly halfway between the two falls.

On Sunday, July 12th (rain date July, 19th) from 10 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m.  we will paddle the river between McIndoe Falls and Dodge Falls. Meet at McIndoes Falls at 10 a.m. We will shuttle cars about four miles downriver to the Dodge Falls take out point.

Bring a bag lunch to enjoy on one of the islands. Bring your binoculars, as this stretch of river may offer a host of waterfowl, waders, and songbirds.  ACT Executive Director Rebecca Brown will lead the trip, and there will be ample opportunity for birding and learning about the ecological importance of conserving the Johnson Farm and Islands. One of the islands will be used as a campsite for the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail.

The paddle will be 3.8 miles in total, and 2.5 miles downriver from McIndoe Falls we will stop for lunch on the islands.

Driving Directions: The McIndoe Falls portage is well marked and located on the Monroe side of the dam. Click here for a link to the Google Maps location. This portage is part of the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail and more information can be found here.

Because of parking space at McIndoe Falls, we are limited to 10 cars (you could bring one vehicle with two boats). We will shuttle cars to the take out point. RSVPs are required by Thursday, July 2nd. Please contact Outreach Coordinator Lianna Lee by calling 603.823.7777 or emailing outreach@aconservationtrust.org to save your place.

Please bring your boat and gear, PFD (required!), sunscreen, bug dope, bag lunch, water, and your camera. This is easy, flat water paddling.

 

 

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Summertime Bug Walks with ACT

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We are excited to be offering two, unique bug walks this summer that are perfect for kids and families who love spending time outside. Both walks will be led by Native Geographic ecologist Jesse Mohr.

Bug and Butterfly Discovery Walk on July 25 from 11-12:30pm

Come join us at for a morning of hunting –with nets, of course– butterflies, caterpillars, and other insects.  Naturalists and bug enthusiasts will be on hand to help kids of all ages explore and learn about some of our region’s bugs and natural history.  The event will take place at the Whipple Field Conservation Area on Route 117 in Sugar Hill, next to Polly’s Pancakes.

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Bugs of the Night on August 1 from 8:30-10pm

As many of us sleep soundly through the night, many of the region’s showiest moths and other bugs patrol the night sky.  Come join us to see and learn about some of these nighttime cirtters.  We will set up a series of lights in the otherwise dark night to bring the bugs to us.  The event will take place at the Whipple Field Conservation Area on Route 117 in Sugar Hill, next to Polly’s Pancakes.

If you have any questions, please call ACT Outreach Coordinator Lianna Lee at (603) 823-7777 or e-mail her at outreach@aconservationtrust.org. Cancellation in case of horrid weather can be found on this website.

We will have some nets and magnifying glasses on hand, but if you have your own net or magnifying glass, please bring them. Families and kids are encouraged, but everyone is welcome.  Parking is available next door at Polly’s

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Trail Building Starting on Community Forest!

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Brushing the trail in the CJCF.

 

Grab your work gloves and join the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust out on the 840-acre Cooley-Jericho Community Forest. We’re going to start building trails with guidance from the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC).

A forest for all, the purpose of the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest is to provide multi-recreational trail uses, wildlife habitat, and encourage people to have fun outside and learn about nature.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 27 and 28, we will meet at the end of Trumpet Round Road in Sugar Hill and walk into the Forest. We’ll meet and 8:30 a.m. and be done by 3 p.m., rain or shine.

These work days will include training on the best techniques for trail design and building. AMC trails staff will lead the training. We will be extending a trail that Lisbon High School PAWS students began in May.

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Lisbon PAWS students carrying in supplies to build bog bridges.

 

This is the first trail blazing on the Community Forest after over a year of planning. All skill levels are welcome – we have a lot of trail to clear!

Brushing, side hilling, reverse grades, drainage dips, and stump removal are skills and techniques that AMC trail leaders will be using. Tools will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your favorite saw or clippers.

Please wear work boots or hiking boots and clothes that can stand up to brambles and mud. Bring a brown bag lunch, water, bug dope, and work gloves. Children are welcome to attend with an adult.

If you have any questions, please call ACT Outreach Coordinator Lianna Lee at (603) 823-7777 or e-mail her at outreach@aconservationtrust.org. Cancellation in case of horrid weather can be found on this website.

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Creature Feature: The Buzz About Bees

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A honey bee collecting nectar.

Step outside into your vegetable patch or flower garden this time of year and you’ll hopefully see honeybees or bumblebees buzzing about.

Bees are one of the reasons we can eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and they play an essential part of our food system. In the United States alone, bees provide pollination services valued at billions of dollars.

Blueberries, strawberries, apples, pumpkins, and many other local crops depend on these species.

With over 20,000 species of bees worldwide, and an estimated 250 species in NH, bees are among the most important pollinators on earth. Think “pollinator” and the honeybee (Apis mellifera) may be the first thing that comes to mind. A multitude of species including bumblebees, carpenter bees, and honey bees and bumblebees help pollinate crops in our local farms. Over the past decade pollinators, and bees in particular, have been disappearing at a worrisome rate.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) strikes fear into the heart of every beekeeper. Go to bed one night and your bees are fine, wake up the next morning and all of your adults bees are suddenly dead or have disappeared, leaving behind a lone queen. Biologists are still unsure why CCD happens, however research points to stressors including pesticide use, habitat loss, and harmful pathogens. Hit with a single stressor, a hive can usually rebound. When a colony is faced with a combination of them, they are often unable to survive.

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The tri-colored bumblebee.

 

Sit for a while in your garden, and you may see a variety of bumblebees, like the tri-colored bumblebee (Bombus ternarius), American bumblebee (Bombus pensylvanicus), and common eastern bumblebee (Bombus impatiens). Often overlooked, are solitary carpenter bees, mason bees and sweat bees that are all found in our region of NH.

A honey bee hive.

A honey bee hive.

Both social and solitary bees live in NH. At the heart of every social bee colony is a queen bee who ensures the continuation of her hive. Honeybees are social, building organized honeycomb nests and a single colony may include thousands of workers and drones. Solitary bees, like the mason and sweat bees live by themselves and prefer nesting in sandy ground or even decaying logs. Bumblebee colonies are smaller, ranging from 50-400 bees and also tend to form nests in the ground.

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A bumblebee ground nest.

With honeybee colonies dying off and disappearing across the country, scientists have been studying hives to see what stressors are weakening or killing bees. Documented stressors include pesticides, harmful pathogens, and pests such as hive beetles that can wreak havoc in colonies. Loss of land that was once home to wildflowers, either to development or to row crops – and the pesticides that many farmers use – has also hurt bees, as they are forced to fly longer distances for subpar pollen and nectar yields.

Here in the North Country where winters can last for six months, it’s especially tough on our bees. During the winter honeybees surround their queen forming a dense warm ball to keep her alive until spring. Bees eat their honey stores during the winter, but if a freezing winter drags on and reserves are drained before spring the colony’s survival becomes tenuous.

NH’s bees face many challenges as they pollinate our vegetables, fruits, and flowers year after year. The next time you’re harvesting vegetables for dinner, or picking up your CSA share consider for a moment the small, but mighty pollinator that made it all possible. From CCD to frigid winters, and creeping habitat loss it may seem the deck is stacked against bees, but the good news is there are steps you can take to help.

What can you do to attract honeybees and bumblebees to your own backyard?

1.) Start a native wildflower garden, and plant it so your have a diversity of flowers that bloom at different times throughout the summer. This gives bees a reliable foraging ground and provides them with excellent pollen and nectar diversity. The Pollinator Partnership nonprofit provides an extensive wildflower plant guide with flowering times for New England.

2.) If you use pesticides or insecticides consider eliminating them entirely, or only applying them in the late afternoon when bees are less likely to go on pollen runs. Bees are gentle creatures, unlikely to sting unless provoked. Think of all the beautiful flowers and vegetables you and your neighbors are able to enjoy because of their presence.

3.) Get information from credible sources, like The Pollinator Partnership, Xerces Society, The Bee Informed Partnership, and UNH Cooperative Extension.

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In Memory of Sarah Crocker, 1954-2015

Image by Zoe Perry-Wood, courtesy of the artist and Gallery Kayafa

Image by Zoe Perry-Wood, courtesy of the artist and Gallery Kayafa

This lovely tribute is from Sarah’s sister, Dee McKown:

Sarah loved the earth in all of its splendor. Her art, created both with man-made and natural objects, are a testament to her ability to see beauty in everything. From clay to bronze, grapevines to vintage jewelry, Sarah created art and wove it into all aspects of her life. The gardens and rock formations she created at her home in Colchester, Vt. gave testament to her love of the land. Working outside gave her strength and purpose. Sarah was happiest at home on her land with her hands in the dirt, the wind in her face and the sun warming her entire being.

Sarah lived for many years at the family property on Route 142 in Franconia. She loved the mountains and the Gale River. She loved to wander through the forests, fields, and marshes on the property enjoying the nature that abounded. She cared deeply about conservation, and because of this a portion of the family property will be deeded to the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust so that future generations can enjoy the beauty of nature that Sarah loved.

The Crocker family is asking that memorial gifts be made in honor of Sarah to ACT. Donations can be mailed to 107 Glessner Road, Bethlehem, NH 03574. Credit card  donations can be made here, or by calling ACT at 603.823.7777. Please let us know by calling, or emailing outreach@aconservationtrust.org that you have made a donation in honor of Sarah.

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Free Plein Air Workshop

Lynn painting plein air at the Rocks Estate.

Lynn painting plein air at the Rocks Estate.

Begin your summer with a free watercolor ‘plein air’ outdoor workshop led by Franconia artist Lynn Bart on Friday, June 5, 2015 from 3-5 p.m. The Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT) is sponsoring this event.

We will gather on the back porch of the Inn at Sunset Hill in Sugar Hill, and paint the beautiful mountain landscapes. Bring your own supplies (no oils please), or use one of the starter kits provided that is perfect for a beginner. We will be painting postcards that you can keep as a memento or send to a loved one. At the end of the session we will pin our postcards to the top of a clothesline and gather for a group photo.

Parking is in the Inn at Sunset Hill’s large parking lot set off to the left-hand side as you approach the inn.

This fun workshop is suitable for people of all ages, and children are welcome to attend with an adult.

To reserve your place, please call ACT Outreach Coordinator Lianna Lee at (603) 823-7777 or e-mail her at outreach@aconservationtrust.org by Wednesday, June 3. Space is limited to 18 people. More details on the workshop (including cancellation in case of horrid weather) can be found at www.aconservationtrust.org

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The Power of Place

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The Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, NH will be hosting a movie about Northern Pass called The Power of Place on Thursday, May 14 from 7:30-9:00 p.m. The film was made by New Hampshire conservation photographer and filmmaker Jerry Monkman and is 50 minutes in length. Electricity giant Hydro-Quebec needs to sell more of its electricity to New England and Eversource Energy wants to pitch in by distributing this power to customers in southern New England. To do that the companies have joined forces to build Northern Pass, a 187-mile transmission line that will bisect the state of New Hampshire with high-voltage cable strung between 1500 steel towers rising as tall as 135 feet. The Power of Place tells a compelling story by exploring the issues surrounding Northern Pass – its promise of bringing jobs and cheaper electricity to New England; the fears of those living next to the potential power line corridor; and the visual impact of the towers on iconic New Hampshire landscapes like the White Mountain National Forest, The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and the state’s Great North Woods Region. The 50 minute documentary combines interviews with experts and New Hampshire residents with distinctive landscape cinematography of the places that will be impacted.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers as well as experts on the Northern Pass issue.

Tickets: $10, $8 members

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ACT members and volunteers rally against Hydro-Quebec.

 

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Foss Forest Sunday Hike

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View from the top of Foss Forest hike in Sugar Hill.

Looking for a beautiful local hike that is a well-kept secret? Then please join the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT) on a fun springtime hike at the ACT owned Foss-Evelyn Forest in Sugar Hill on Sunday, May 31 from 1:00-2:30 p.m.

The Hike will start from the Pearl Lake Road parking area, which is located 1.3 miles west of the intersection of Route 117 and Pearl Lake Road in Sugar Hill. Going from Sugar Hill toward Lisbon, the access is on the left, and will be identified by the hike leader’s red Toyota Prius. Coming from Lisbon, the access is on the right.

Bring your bug dope, children, dog and cameras and be prepared for about 90 minutes of hiking. This will be an uphill hike over moderate terrain with great views at the top.

For more information, please contact Lianna Lee at the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust, 603-823-7777, or e-mail outreach@aconservationtrust.org.

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Memorial Day Bird and Breakfast Walk at the Adair Inn

Canada warbler

Canada warbler

Join us for a Memorial Day bird walk at the Adair Inn in Bethlehem on Monday, May 25th!

Everyone is invited to do a bird walk with expert birders through the grounds of the inn, and afterwards enjoy Adair’s sumptuous breakfast.

The bird walk will start at 7 a.m. and the breakfast will be at 8:30 a.m. RSVPs are appreciated for planning! The all-inclusive cost of breakfast is $20. The bird walk is free.

ACT has held a Memorial Day weekend bird walk for a number of years. It’s a great time to hear and see breeding birds including, warblers, tanangers, vireos and thrushes. The Adair property is over 200 acres of fields, wetlands, and forests and it promises to be a lovely walk.

Bring your binoculars, bug dope, and bird book if you have one. We will introduce birding by ear, so bring your ears, too. This walk is suitable for walkers of all ages and will go on paths and trails. Kids are encouraged to join!

To make a reservation to ensure that there will be enough food by Monday the 25th, please call ACT Outreach Coordinator Lianna Lee at (603) 823-7777 or e-mail her at outreach@aconservationtrust.org by May 22nd to reserve your spot. More details on the bird walk (including cancellation in case of horrid weather) can be found on this website.

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Manage Your Woodlands for Bobcats

bobcat4The Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust invites you to attend a talk about bobcats being given by New Hampshire Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Will Staats. The focus of this presentation will be on how to manage your woodlands for bobcats. Pulling on his many years of observing North Country bobcats in the wild, Staats will focus on management techniques landowners can employ in their woodlots and forests to create bobcat-friendly habitats.

The talk will be held at the Franconia Town Hall on Tuesday, May 19 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided by ACT.

During the first part of the 19th century, bobcats were heavily hunted until populations fell precipitously. In 1989, Fish and Game ended the bobcat hunting and trapping seasons to allow populations to recover. The season remains closed in New Hampshire. Data gathered by the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game shows bobcats living in every county across the state.

For more information please contact ACT Outreach Coordinator, Lianna Lee at 603-823-5557 or outreach@aconservationtrust.org

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