Earth Day Planting and Activities for Kids!

earth-dayJoin ACT in a family-friendly Earth Day celebration with activities that are great for little hands.

We’ll be tending to seedling sunflowers, and planting scarlet runner beans in recycled containers. Everyone will have the opportunity to decorate a container and take home a baby sunflower and a bean plant for planting in your own garden. This is a great opportunity for kids to have fun, and go home with a plant that they can nurture from a tiny seedling into a big flower.

We’ll also walk along the Ammonoosuc River loop in Littleton to help clean up the parking lots and areas near the river. Gloves and bags will be provided to everyone who wants to participate.

This event on Saturday, April 18 is at the Loading Dock in Littleton from 3:30-5:00 p.m. Cost of attendance is $5 per person including all art supplies plus healthy snacks provided by ACT. Recommended ages are K-6. Directions to the Loading Dock, which is on Mill Street, can be found at www.theloadingdocknh.org. ACT staff and volunteers and Jason Tors of the Loading Dock will lead the festivities.

Earth Day began in 1970, and it is an important day that is celebrated worldwide to protect the environment. As the North Country’s land trust, forever conserving farms and forests, ACT invites you to join us in celebrating this exciting day.

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Community Forest Management Presentation

View from the Forest across Pearl Lake, Lisbon.

View from the Forest across Pearl Lake, Lisbon.

This meeting will take place on Thursday, April 9 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Franconia Town Hall. The Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust is hosting a public discussion to present the 840-acre Cooley-Jericho Community Forest (CJCF) draft management proposal. ACT Executive Director Rebecca Brown, consulting ecologist Jesse Mohr, and other CJCF Stewardship Team representatives will give brief presentations on forest management, wildlife, educational use, and trails.

We welcome anyone who is interested in learning more about the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest. This will also be a great opportunity to learn how the Community Forest can be used as an outdoor classroom at your school. Light refreshments will be provided by ACT.

For more information, e-mail outreach@aconservationtrust.org, or call 603.823.7777

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Johnson Farm Project in the News

We recently closed on a historic dairy farm located in Monroe, NH. Owned by Richard Johnson, the farm has been in his family for six generations. This beautiful 311 acres property is located along the scenic Connecticut River, and is full of rolling fields and excellent agricultural soils.

During the closing ceremony on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 several members of the press were in attendance. Here is a link to a piece done by NHPR. An article was published in The Caledonian-Record, the The Union Leader, and an article and editorial in the Littleton Courier. This article in the White Mountain Record was written by Robert Blechl. For further reading here is a brief fact sheet with more information about the property and a full list of our project grantors compiled by ACT.

Farm from river closeup

The historic Johnson Farm, in Monroe NH. Picture taken from the CT River.

 

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Johnson Farm and Islands Forever Conserved!

In an exciting bi-state partnership between ACT and the Vermont River Conservancy (VRC), we are pleased to announce that we have conserved a historic farm in Monroe, NH.
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Richard Johnson is the owner of this 311-acre property that includes riverine habitats, islands, forests, and great agricultural soils. A dairy farm until the 1990s, today the rich bottomland is used for corn and hay.
This land has been in the Johnson family since about 1800. Mr. Johnson wanted to honor the legacy of his ancestors and ensure that the land stays open and not turned int a development or trophy home site. It’s an excellent example of how ACT can preserve New Hampshire’s landscape and tradition of farming. We did this with a ‘farm-friendly’ easement, meaning farming and forestry are encouraged in the future.
Rolling fields, forests, and riparian zones provide habitats for rare plants, animals, and shorebirds making this land highly ranked by the New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan. In total2,248 feet of CT River shore land are protected. On a clear day you might glimpse bald eagles or osprey that nest in the area.
The two islands included in this property will be managed by VRC, to further promote recreation on the river and create a new campsite for the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail.
Farm from river closeup
Funding:

We are thankful for the generosity of our funders who have made this project possible:

Save the date Sunday, July 12th to tour the Johnson Farm and Islands by kayak!

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Learn more by reading this fact sheet: Press Sheet Johnson Farm

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Creature Feature: Mad as a March Hare?

 
Remember the March Hare and his pal the Hatter in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?
 
Both were a bit crazed – or “mad” as the Cheshire Cat said. The hatter, we may surmise, from mercury poisoning (used in felt making for hats) and the Hare, well, blame it on March.

Hares are normally shy and timid creatures. But suddenly, come March and their breeding season, they’ll be out boxing other hares, hopping about quite heedlessly looking for their true loves, and thumping the ground just because. In other words, acting a bit mad.

March Hare and Hatter stuffing Door Mouse
into a teapot.

The snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) is common in the North Country, particularly in brushy areas and forest edges. Usually not easily seen, they are experts at concealment and often freeze at the approach of a person or predator.

Ecologists use the term crypsis for the ability of an organism to avoid detection. The hare’s cryptic strategy is chromatic: its fur changes color in response to the environment. As daylight decreases, its coat becomes the color of snow for winter.

As daylight increases toward spring, its coat becomes a forest-floor reddish-brown.Year-round, snowshoe hares have coal-black eyes. In snow, you may spot a hare motionless beneath a small evergreen when the snow weighs its boughs down like a little tent. Just look for those black eyes.

Snowshoe hare tracks.

The best telltale for hares are the tracks. The toes on their large, furry feet open wide like snowshoes as they bound along. Their big feet keep them buoyant in the snow, and their powerful haunches can propel them an impressive 27 mph on a high speed getaway from the jaws of lynx, bobcats, coyotes, and dogs.

And yes, hares do breed prolifically. From March until August it is open season for breeding and a female can have 2-3 litters per year of 3-5 leverets (baby hares). For hares it is possible to be ‘mad as a March hare’ for six months of the year.

 

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ACT Hunting Roundtable

ACT is committed to having the public enjoy the land we own in as many ways as possible. Hunting is one of those uses, and keeping land open for hunting is one of our goals. Hunting is part of the heritage of the North Country, a traditional use on many lands, and it is an important contributor to our economy.

Join us on Sunday, March 22nd to participate in this Hunting Roundtable. This conversation will be facilitated by ACT Executive Director Rebecca Brown, County Forester David Falkenham, and Bob Mancini of the NH Fish and Game Dept. This event is free and open to the public. 

ACT has conserved over 3,300 acres for the benefit of North Country communities. About two-thirds of that land is privately owned, and ACT holds conservation easements ensuring that the land is always there for people and wildlife. Some of that land is permanently open for hunting. On other properties hunting may or may not be allowed, according to the wishes of the landowners.

We would appreciate hearing the views of hunters and those who enjoy our lands in other ways, including hikers, mountain bikers, and nature watchers.

Among the issues we will be looking at is whether some of our lands are best hunted with permission, whether some, for safety reasons, should not be hunted at all, and whether we ought to allow only certain hunting practices on our lands.

We will give an overview of the lands we own or have under easement where hunting is allowed. We will also look at how we can best work with hunters in our region to conserve lands that are important for game species.

When: Sunday, March 22nd from 4 p.m. onward

WhereWendle’s Deli, Franconia

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Tour of Sugar Hill Maple Farm

Join us on Saturday, March 28th to visit the Sugar Hill Maple Farm on a snowshoe hike of this beautiful farm. The Hunt family and ACT staff will lead the snowshoe hike in the morning. During the afternoon the Hunt family will be giving sugarhouse tours. If the weather is warm enough and sap is running, there will be guided gathering bucket tours in the upper fields. This event is family-friendly and free to the public. 

Gathering sap.

Gathering sap.

Owned by the Hunt Family, and forever conserved by ACT, the Sugar Hill Maple Farm is a land rich in the history of maple sugaring. The Sugar Hill Maple Farm is a real time example of how land conservation plays an important role in maintaining the heritage of the North Country. The Sugar Hill Maple Farm has been home to an operational sugarhouse for over a century, and the Hunts continue this legacy. The farm was conserved by Charlie Stewart in 2004.

When: Saturday, March 28th. Snowshoe hike of the farm fields led by the Hunt family and ACT staff from 10:30- 12:00 noon. Guided sugarhouse tours 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

Driving Directions: 719 Easton Rd, Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. Link to map.

This event is being held in conjunction with the 2015 NH Maple Producers weekend.

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Emerald Ash Borer Workshop for Landowners

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive bug that has been devastating to ash trees throughout New Hampshire. EAB rapidly kills trees during their larval stage by eating their way through the phloem and cambium (live tissues) of a tree. A tree can go from seemingly healthy one week, to a week later nearly dead. In some cases it looks like a gang of woodpeckers have attacked a tree when the adults exit en masse.

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

 

We are holding a landowner-focused workshop in collaboration with UNH Cooperative Extension, NH Division of Forests and Lands, and the Sugar Hill Conservation Commission to help people prepare for, understand, and identify EAB. Additionally an Ash tree will be girdled to stress the tree, and we will check back in the Spring during the follow-up to this workshop to see if there are any signs of EAB activity. Forest Health Specialist Molly Heuss, and county Forester David Falkenham will be presenting at this workshop.

When: Wednesday, March 18th from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Where: Sugar Hill Town Hall

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Shaker Village Ash tree and damage wrought by EAB larvae.

This workshop is co-sponsored by the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions.

topowl

Please contact ACT Outreach and Membership Coordinator Lianna Lee with any questions at outreach@aconservationtrust.org or 603.823.7777

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Owl Prowl at the Adair Inn

Join us during the full moon on Thursday, March 5th for an Owl Prowl at the Adair Inn in Bethlehem. We will be on the lookout for Barred Owls, and listening closely for other owl calls. After the walk we will gather inside to warm up by the fireplace. Attendees are also welcome to purchase drinks from the bar, and this will be a great opportunity to meet other wildlife enthusiasts.

If you have kids or grandkids, we highly recommend reading  “Owl Moon” to them at some point. Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr it’s a classic winter tale.

When: Thursday, March 5th from 6:30 PM onward

Driving directions: The Adair Inn, Bethlehem NH

If you have questions about this event, please contact Outreach Coordinator, Lianna Lee, at outreach@aconservationtrust.org or 603.823.7777

Thank you to the Adair Inn for allowing us to use their beautiful grounds for this event!

 

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Last Sunday Hike at 1 PM

Our Last Sunday of the month walks are a great way to meet new friends and enjoy the land. Join us on February 22nd for a delightful winter hike. At 1 p.m., we’ll start at the log landing at the Foss Forest on Pearl Lake Road,  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 Rosalind Page’s red Toyota Prius. Coming from Lisbon, the access is on the right.

Dress warmly, and bring your snowshoes, binoculars, children, dogs, and camera, and be prepared to be out for about 90 minutes. This will be an easy hike through moderate terrain with great views.

For more information, please call ACT Outreach Coordinator Lianna Lee at 603-823-7777.

In the event of inclement weather such as rain or freezing rain, the event will be cancelled, but feel free to call 603-838-6520 for confirmation on Sunday morning.

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