Winter Walk on Community Forest

Everyone is invited to what we fervently hope is a snowshoe walk (and not a muddy mess) on the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 1:30 p.m.

Ordinarily, late February is a perfect time for a hike with afternoon light illuminating the Franconia Range, which is seen in all its glory from several vantage points on our new Blue Loop Trail (yet to better named!). Cooley-Jericho Community Forest

We’ll start from the parking area on Trumpet Round Road in Sugar Hill.  There will be two loop options, and depending on the size and inclination of the group, we will choose our path. One option will be a bit steeper and longer than the other. Plan for 2 – 3 hours.

Please dress and equip for the conditions (one can only imagine what they will be; as I write on Feb. 3 it is pouring rain, blowing like mad,  and 42 degrees).

For more information, call the ACT office at (603) 823-7777. On the day of the hike, if you have questions please call Rebecca Brown at (603) 728-5557.

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Art Opening to Benefit ACT

photo copyFRANCONIA – You’re invited to an art opening at the newly renovated Plain Kate’s Riverside Saloon on Franconia’s Main Street.

Oil paintings of the North Country and Upper Valley by talented artist Anne Leith will be featured. Leith paints with bold strokes, using a colorful palette that brings out the lively nature of this NveWW5diNGxVtMAL2cSbGnqIxNIBbyqg2Bq1oRjpXnoregion.

We welcome you to join us with your friends and family for a festive evening in Franconia. Light refreshments will be provided.

Nti0hCerJLobk8FVG9oPRSwM2eBqUphfAydsgAz_RYwThe art opening will be on Saturday, Dec. 26 from 4-8 p.m. If you are unable to attend the reception, the show will be on display Dec. 26 through Feb. 29. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and weekends and holidays by appointment. Please call 603-823-5500 to schedule an appointment.

Plain Kate’s Riverside Saloon can be found where the former Canon Mountain View Restaurant was located at 729 Main Street in Franconia. This is a Plain Kate’s Culture Project event.

A portion of the proceeds from sales will benefit the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT). As the North Country’s regional land trust, ACT conserves land for the future of the region and conducts free educational and outdoor recreational programs.

Anne Leith Artist Statement

Anne Leith has been making oil paintings of places for over thirty years. Ts4TWQ5JDljK_aJqsRgoQRu6J98jgurJtnTCrEWyeSdkhis series of works was painted by Leith between August and November 2015 during three separate visits to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

These are pure ‘plein-air’ paintings, painted outside in nature with minimum alteration in the studio. They are fresh and bold, and show the diversity of the North Country and Upper Valley of New Hampshire with the colors of the changing seasons.

Currently living in the Chester County region outside of Philadelphia, Leith is an adjunct professor of studio art and art history at Rosemont College in Rosemont, PA. She holds an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in art history fBs4urspdAlsIVnNXDhuky42RLyaNdWUfs3ODdBbwTWcrom the University of Manchester, England and Sotheby’s Institute, London, among other impressive credentials. She has shown her work in New York City, Paris, London, Philadelphia, and in Belgium. She also is the owner of AllartStudio, a videography company focused on the arts.

This exhibition marks the first event created by Plain Kate’s Culture Project, and is a benefit for ACT, the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust, an organization that conserves farms and forests in the North Country.

 

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Dig Deeper with Keep Growing Winter Book Discussions

Fresh-Garden-Vegetables

Are you interested in contributing to a deeper level of discussion about food?

Join us for a trio of winter book discussions that are being hosted by Keep Growing, a community project of the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT). Rachelle Lyons, Agriculture & Environment Coordinator at Plymouth State University, will be the moderator during these discussions.

Through selected readings we will look at critical issues, successful programs, and challenges and opportunities for improving food systems in ways that are relative to those of us living, working, and eating in the North Country.

The first book we are discussing is Ben Hewett’s, The Town that Food Saved at the Bethlehem Public Library on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 9 a.m.

Set in nearby Hardwick, Vermont The Town that Food Saved illustrates a town where a struggling farming community comes together to create a strong local food network. Young ‘agripreneurs’ worked together to start food-based businesses including farms, restaurants, and bakeries. Immediately following the discussion we will show a viewing of the short film series, ‘Nourish: Food & Community.’

Keep Growing hopes to strengthen local working farms, economies, and communities by bringing people together to support the farmers and people behind our local food systems.

The second book is Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. We will be meeting at ACT’s new offices at Plain Kate’s on 729 Main Street in Franconia on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

In Defense of Food, Pollan explores the perils of eating a highly processed foods diet. Delving into nutrition, chronic diseases that dietcan cause, and how to eat a well balanced Pollan challenges us to reconsider how we eat. In his own words, ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’

We are pleased to announce special guest Professor Joanne Burke, who is a nutritionist and part of UNH’s Sustainability Institute will help lead the discussion on Jan. 20.

For our final book, American Wasteland, by Jonathon Bloom we will be meeting at the Weeks Memorial Library on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. The library is located at 128 Main Street in Lancaster.

In American Wasteland, Bloom explores why Americans throw out or waste roughly half of their food. Contrasting this he delves into the sustainable food movement that has been growing in communities across the US.

Please contact the librarians at Weeks Memorial Library if you are interested in borrowing “American Wasteland” through an inter-library loan.

This is a chance delve into the values that drive consumers, farmers, food advocates, and food entrepreneurs and explore how we are all connected by what we eat.

Come enjoy these discussions, all free, and consider bringing a refreshment to share.

Please RSVP to Rachelle Lyons, Keep Growing Project Coordinator at rllyons@plymouth.edu

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Last Sunday Hike at The Inn at Sunset Hill, Dec. 27

79664Our Last Sunday of the month walks are a great way to meet new friends and enjoy the land. Join us on Sunday, December 27th for a delightful winter hike. The hike will be from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Rosalind Page, ACT Board President, will be leading this hike. Please park in the parking lot next to the golf course.

Dress warmly, and bring your snowshoes, binoculars, children, dogs, and camera, and be prepared to be out for about 60 minutes of hiking. This will be an easy hike through moderate terrain with great views.

Driving directions: https://goo.gl/maps/KMozkVGFYxA2

For more information, please call the ACT office at 603-823-7777.

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

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ACT is Hiring!

CJCF

Live, work, and play in the beautiful North Country region!

Outreach & Membership Coordinator

Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT), the regional nonprofit lands conservancy serving New Hampshire’s North Country, seeks an individual to advance its mission by developing and overseeing outreach, education, and programs in ACT’s three core areas:

  • Inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders, voters, and stewards;
  • Growing the region’s capacity to feed ourselves by conserving farmland and growing farm businesses;
  • Protecting land for clean water, wildlife habitat, and public recreation and aesthetic enjoyment.

The successful candidate will be a resourceful, creative individual demonstrating passion about ACT’s mission and who can immediately begin to help devise and implement a marketing and strategic communications plan with the goal of building ACT’s support in the community and growing its membership base. The Outreach & Membership Coordinator will work closely with the Executive Director (ED) and board committees, but must be extremely self-motivated, well organized, and flexible. She/he will be naturally outgoing and work well with people of all ages, understand how to work as a team member, and demonstrate curiosity and a desire to learn. She/he should have the ability to hike at a moderate pace over uneven terrain.

Principal Responsibilities:

Communications and Outreach (30%)

  • Identify and implement strategies and tactics to grow our membership.
  • Identify need for, and participate in the design of, promotional, fundraising, and marketing materials.
  • Plan and implement calendar of editorial content for external communications including e-news, Facebook, websites, and print media (through multi-application of same material);
  • Write press releases and promote ACT’s events and programs through the website, Facebook, newspapers, and other outlets.
  • Coordinate staff, trustees, and volunteers in fundraising and community outreach efforts.
  • Working with ED and Outreach & Sustainability Committee (OSC) develop and coordinate special events, outreach events, fundraising events, and member-exclusive events.
  • Seek new community partnerships that will advance ACT’s mission and values.
  • Keep ACT’s social media presence fresh and vital.
  • Develop and manage ACT’s library of photographs.
  • Develop presentations for special events.

Membership Development and Administration (20%)

  • Develop membership drive and annual appeal materials; coordinate production and mailing.
  • Write appeal letters, acknowledgements, and update letters.
  • Maintain member/donor tracking database.
  • Research prospective donors, sponsors, members, volunteers, and other supporters.

Community Programs (30%)

  • Empower, motivate and engage people with a variety of ages and backgrounds;
  • Work with the ED, OSC, and partner organizations to develop and implement programs aimed at growing ACT’s community support and engaging the next generation.
  • Develop partnerships with local schools and youth organizations to use ACT land for outdoor education (environmental, cultural, sciences, arts).
  • Develop an annual calendar of events; coordinate and manage community programs, special events, and field trips.

Other (20%)

  • Assist the ED with grant research, writing, and reporting.
  • Assist the Office Manager, ED, and committee chairs as needed in an administrative capacity, including compliance with Land Trust Alliance Standards & Practices.
  • Engage and grow ACT’s cadre of volunteers, and ensure that their experience with ACT is fulfilling and recognized.
  • Other tasks as assigned.

Qualifications

  • Cheerful individual who enjoys a team environment with the ability to establish and maintain positive collaborative working relationships with others, both internally and externally.
  • Knowledge of conservation and environmental issues, experience with environmental education is desirable.
  • Excellent communication skills, including written, graphic/web design, verbal, and listening.
  • Demonstrated marketing ability to strategically promote an organization.
  • Ability to articulate the relationship between communications/marketing and fundraising effectiveness.
  • Ability to relate the mission/values of ACT into interesting and memorable events and stories.
  • Event planning experience.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office suite; graphic experience or aptitude, InDesign preferred; knowledge of donor database (Donor Perfect) or ability to learn quickly.
  • Knowledge of Constant Contact or ability to learn quickly.
  • Photography and video skills.

ACT seeks an individual who has the desire and character to become an integral part of a small, fast-paced, innovative leader in regional land conservation. As such, we are willing to be flexible on hours and place of employment (although in some in-office as well as event/program attendance is required).

Salary & Benefits

Depending on the qualifications and salary requirements of the individual, this is a part-time or potentially full-time position, with benefits accordingly.

To apply, please send a cover letter, writing sample, resume, and three references to Executive Director Rebecca Brown, Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust, P.O. Box 191, Franconia, NH 03580 or e-mail office@aconservationtrust.org by January 1, 2016.

ACT is a nationally accredited land trust and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All decisions to recruit, hire, promote and release from employment are made without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, physical or mental disabilities, or veteran status.

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Seventh Generation Robie Farm Conserved in Piermont

PIERMONT – A historic family farm well known in the Connecticut River valley for its superb artisan cheeses and humanely raised beef and pork is permanently conserved.

The Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT) and The Trust for Public Land announced the completion of the conservation of the 150-acre Robie Farm, located on a beautiful stretch of the Connecticut River, just south of Piermont village. Pastoral fields dotted with dairy cows sweep down from NH Route 10 to the river.

“This place undoubtedly would have become a trophy home site, or sites, if not for conservation,” said ACT Executive Director Rebecca Brown.

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Eli Robie plays on the family farm. Photo c/o Mimi Adkins.

Farm owners Lee and Betty Sue Robie live and work on the land with their sons Freeman and Mark. Their grandchildren, Eli and Lisette, mark the seventh generation to grow up on the farm.

“We wanted to make the farm viable for the next generation,” said Betty Sue Robie. “We want it to be a working farm that is a productive source of food and fiber forever.”

With small dairy farms all over New England going under because of the pressure of low milk prices and high costs, the Robies several years ago decided to diversify their business and respond to the fast growing interest in local food. Instead of selling only milk, they started producing artisanal cheese, humanely raised beef, pork, and veal, and raw milk. Their products are carried in over 50 markets and restaurants as well as their own farm store. Their cheeses and meats are often featured at Molly’s and the Canoe Club in Hanover.

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A classic CT River dairy farm.

“We were pleased to assist the Robie Family and the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust with the preservation of this farm. Our hope is that the Robie Farm can use the proceeds of the easement sale to retire debt, invest in their business and maintain a source of local foods in the Connecticut River valley” said Rodger Krussman, The Trust for Public Land’s New Hampshire State director.

The Robie Farm is situated in an area that is home to wildlife and dynamic ecosystems. Along the riverfront there are silver maple floodplain forests, an important ecosystem that accommodates flooding and stabilizes the riverbanks from erosion. Federally endangered dwarf wedge mussels live in the riverbed.

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The riverbank offers ample habitat for local shorebirds and wildlife.

ACT was initially approached about the project by The Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit conservation organization with a mission of “conserving land for people.” The Trust for Public Land brings expertise in real estate, law, finance and fundraising, but does not hold land or conservation easements over the long term. The Robies needed a conservation partner like ACT to that shared their vision for their farm, understood the complexities of conserving a working farm, and was flexible in considering new uses like agri-tourism.

“It was love at first sight,” said Betty Sue recalling when she first met the ACT team. “ACT understood what we wanted to do and how we wanted to run our farm business.”

“Our work is about forming relationships with people, and honoring the long-term vision they have for their land,” said Brown. “Creating a conservation agreement takes time and attention to detail, flexibility and creativity.”

ACT now holds the permanent agreement, called a conservation easement, on the property. The easement stipulates that the conserved land will not be developed, but encourages its use for farming and forestry, and recreation. A canoe campsite may be established on the riverbank, for instance.

In an important new role for a New Hampshire land trust, ACT also brought farm business expertise to the Robies through its partnership with the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. ACT and the Loan Fund are working together with several North Country farms on ensuring that the farm businesses are thriving, as well as the farm land being conserved for the future. Business technical assistance includes financial management, debt consolidation, and marketing.

“Conserving farm land is a key tool in agricultural economics,” said Brown. “Farm owners can be paid for the development rights on their land. How they use that cash to strengthen their business is where the NH Community Loan Fund brings its expertise. Our two organization work together with the farmers to ensure that the business and the conservation interests are each served and support each other.”

The land conservation and farm business building collaboration between ACT, the Robies, and the Community Loan Fund is a potential model for other farms in the state, added Brown. The Russell Foundation and USDA Rural Development have supported ACT in this pioneering approach to farmland conservation.

The Trust for Public Land managed the project for the complex Robie endeavor and led the fund raising and real estate due diligence. The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service assisted with agricultural planning. NRCS was also a major funder through its Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) program. NRCS may contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement. Where NRCS determines that grasslands of special environmental significance will be protected, NRCS may contribute up to 75 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.

This project was also supported in part by funds from the sale of the Conservation License Plates (Moose Plate) through the NH State Conservation Committee grant program. Funding was also contributed by the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, NH Charitable Foundation, as well as other private individuals and foundations.

You can visit the Robie Farm store just south of Piermont village to sample their cheese, buy raw milk, cheese, eggs, meats, and bacon, and locally made jams and jellies, as well as Betty Sue’s fresh made bread.

To learn more about The Trust for Public Land and our work to conserve land for people, please visit www.tpl.org

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Beautiful Foliage in the Community Forest

Thank you to everyone who joined us on Saturday, Oct. 3rd to hike in the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest! Check out some of the pictures below of the stunning foliage in your Community Forest. Special thanks to our trail volunteers who made the new trails a reality. It was amazing hiking the brand new blue loop trail. Maps provided below.

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The blue loop trail.

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The group leaving the parking area off of Trumpet Round Road in Sugar Hill.

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The view from the old log landing. Franconia range.

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Leaf peepers in the Community Forest!

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Walking over the bog bridges volunteers made over the summer.

 

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Views from the top of the Community Forest.

 

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3rd Annual Community Forest Potluck & Hike, Oct. 3

potluckAs the weather cools, it’s the perfect time to hear about the great progress we’ve made on our trail network in the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest. Join ACT for a festive potluck, and invite all of your friends!

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Volunteers enjoying the views from an overlook they created.

This year we are hosting the potluck at the Landaff Town Hall. The potluck starts at 5:30 p.m on Saturday, October 3. Please bring a covered dish, serving utensil, and an ingredient card (to avoid any allergy mishaps).

Directions to potluck from Littleton:

In Lisbon turn left at Woodsville Guaranty Bank onto Central Ave. At fork stay to the left (Jockey Hill Rd.) Town Hall is three miles from Lisbon and is on the right.

A brief presentation will be given by ACT Executive Director Rebecca Brown, about the new trail and our management plan for the future. A big thank you to our entire Stewardship Team for all of the incredible work they have done to make this a place for the entire community.

A stone path that was recently built by our trail work volunteers in the Community Forest.

Earlier in the day, we will be leading a hike in the Community Forest to unveil a new walking trail. Our volunteers have been hard at work creating a new trail, and this is a great opportunity to see their progress. This will be a moderate hike with some elevation gain. The group will decide if we want to do a longer hike or shorter hike, we have a number of options available.

Bring a brown bag lunch, water, and your camera to take pictures! Please wear sturdy boots, and comfortable hiking clothes.

We will meet in the Trumpet Round Road parking area at 11 a.m. Google maps link.

Please contact Outreach Coordinator Lianna Lee at outreach@aconservationtrust.org, or call 603-823-7777 for more              information.

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Build Trails on National Public Lands Day in Community Forest

toward Pearl Lake

EASTON – All across the country, people will be lending hands to help our public lands on Saturday, Sept. 26. You can help out right here at the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest, which was created with local support.

Join ACT on National Public Lands Day as we work toward completing our first trail on the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest.

A forest for all, the 840-acre Community Forest is full of wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for the whole family. Our new trail network is intended for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. Existing trails serve snowmobiles.

Working on the trails is a great way to meet people involved with the outdoor community of the North Country. This summer, volunteers have made tremendous progress on the trails, and we hope that helping hands on National Public Lands Day will help with some finishing touches.

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Red flag marks where the new parking area is located.

We’ll meet in the new parking lot off of Trumpet Round Road in Sugar Hill at 9:30 a.m. and will finish around 2:30 p.m. Please wear sturdy boots, and long pants that can withstand brambles. Bring tools such as loppers, clippers, and hand saw, pack a bag lunch, and bring plenty of water. Children are welcome to attend with an adult.

 

Four-wheel drive vehicles will be helpful, as we could then drive some volunteers to another trail entrance.

To learn more about how you can volunteer in the Community Forest, please call ACT Outreach Coordinator Lianna Lee at (603) 823-7777 or e-mail her at outreach@aconservationtrust.org.

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Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust Opposes Northern Pass in Public Hearings

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ACT members, volunteers, and staff rally against the Northern Pass project.

Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT) board member and Secretary, Douglas Evelyn, spoke on Tuesday, September 8 during a public Northern Pass hearing in Lincoln, NH. Northern Pass is required to hold hearings in Grafton County to allow comments on its recently proposed route as part of its process of requesting a permit from New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee. 

Other hearings are taking place in Merrimack, Rockingham, Coos and Belknap counties. Below are the highlights of what he said on behalf of ACT.

AMMONOOSUC CONSERVATION TRUST’S TALKING POINTS

SEC (Site Evaluation Committee) INFORMATIONAL HEARING

September 8, 2015, LINCOLN, NH

  • I am Douglas Evelyn, Secretary of the board of the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust — the chief land trust serving the White Mountain region in Grafton and Coos counties. We appreciate this opportunity to testify as part of the SEC process.
  • ACT has always opposed the proposed Eversource’s Northern Pass Transmission (NPT) project. The need for a power line from Canada through New Hampshire has never been justified. New Hampshire does not need Hydro Quebec’s energy and during the 5 year history of the project new and offsetting sources of clean energy for coastal New England have been developed and identified.
  • ACT argues that the project must be buried throughout, if it proceeds at all. No promised short term benefits can justify the permanent impact industrial-scaled, above-ground power lines to New Hampshire’s mountain, lake, and agricultural landscapes and scenery. These nationally recognized scenic resources have been revered and visited for two centuries and undergird New Hampshire’s tourist economy.
  • ACT views the latest Eversource proposal — to reduce the project’s scale and bury 60 miles of the power-line — as a small step in the right direction. But it leaves many New Hampshire areas and communities permanently scarred. The case justifying this damage throughout the state has not been made. Competing projects in adjacent states and Eversource’s own concessions demonstrate the potential for full burial.
  • ACT views this project as the greatest threat to the integrity of New Hampshire’s scenic landscapes since the corporate devastation of the forests in the late 19th century — leading to the Weeks Act and the creation of the White Mountain National Forest.
  • ACT urges Eversource — and New Hampshire’s leadership — to respect the nationally appreciated character and the economic and social benefits of NH’s natural landscapes throughout the state. Do No Harm! Bury the project in fullor abandon it altogether.
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