Scientists are now becoming very aware of what we who live in the North Country have known all along: being outside is good for you.
Not just for physical fitness (we knew that, too). But for mood, attention span, even kindness toward others.
Kids need time outdoors to explore, play, imagine, and engage all of their senses. When a child's curiosity is sparked, learning comes naturally. This year we have partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of the North Country to use ACT's protected lands as an outdoor classroom to connect young people with nature.
Children from the Boys & Girls Club have hiked to the ledges at Cooley-Jericho to enjoy the views; discovered signs of moose, bear, and coyotes on the trails; learned about monarch butterflies and milkweed at Whipple Field; explored beaver ponds; and studied water quality on the Gale River.
You can help support our programs for local kids by donating to ACT today!
Harry Reid of Sugar Hill, NH was one of the small group of friends and neighbors who created ACT. He was an incorporator of the Trust, one of the five people who legally created the organization in the year 2000.
Harry loved the White Mountains and knew the Franconia Notch area as few do. As a boy he hunted and fished and explored, and as an adult (after coming home from a 20-year career in the U.S. Army) he was the manager of Franconia Notch State Park, including the Cannon Mt. ski area.
Harry believed in the power of people working together, and the importance of protecting the land we love.
These days of snow, rain and gloom after those tantalizing warm days of early spring - every year I seem to forget that winter leaves so reluctantly.
But spring is around the corner, and some of our early birds are here. In the last few weeks bluebirds, phoebes, white-throated sparrows have all arrived, along with flocks of robins. Geese and crows are making their nests. Woodcock have been here for a month. Mergansers, wood ducks, and mallards are in the rivers, and bufflehead and ring-neck ducks on the larger ponds. A few hardy peepers were calling before the ponds refroze and wood frogs ("croakers") are on the move. At my feeders, siskin and goldfinches continue to swarm, along with juncos, purple finches, and song sparrows. A few tree sparrows and bohemian waxwings are still about before they head north for the summer.
In anticipation of the birding season, we're offering two fun and informative events:
Friday, April 22, 7 - 9 p.m., Weeks Memorial Library, Lancaster
Join Dave Govatski and me for a look at a century of conservation through the Migratory Bird Act, plus learn some tips on identifying more birds through knowing habitat and behavior.
Thursday, April 28, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Franconia Town Hall
Expert birder Charlie Browne will present how learning songs will make you a better birder, and enrich your experience outdoors. Great for beginning and experienced birders.
Both events are free, with donations gladly accepted. Refreshments will be served.
It looks like we'll avoid the snowstorm coming up the coast, so our walk Sunday evening March 20 is still on. Let's hope for continued improvement to the forecast, and we might see the rising moon.
We'll meet at 5:30 p.m. at the entrance to Pondicherry National Wildlife Area on Airport Road in Whitefield, just across from the power plant. It will be chilly, so bring something warm to enjoy when we linger at the viewing platform over Big Cherry Pond, hopefully under the rising moon and hearing owls calling.
But whatever the conditions, walking in the woods at night is a great sensory experience!
For a map and more details click here.
A chipmunk! One emerged over the weekend and hung out at the bird feeder. In the woods, purple finches, goldfinches, and pine siskins are chattering like crazy. And a new singer: the brown creeper, the only nuthatch-like bird who always likes to go up a tree (nuthatches typically creep downwards). And in the woods, snow fleas, peppered on the snow. I saw a teeny spider yesterday afternoon on the snow. This morning walking a woods trail I felt across my face the most delicate sensation, a spider's trailing string of web, which it uses to float hither and yon.
We will start our spring bird alerts in the next few weeks (red-winged blackbirds reported from Bath yesterday, along the Connecticut River Bath, so we know the migrants are on the way!). It won't be long before we hear woodcock. If you'd like to receive our bird alerts, please e-mail us.
What a bizarre winter we've had. From -20 Sunday morning to 52 (!?) as I write Tuesday afternoon.
The rambunctious wind has already scoured the overnight snow/ice coating from the fields.
A sign of spring! Yesterday the cardinal who's been hanging around the neighborhood all winter (and making everyone smile) started singing! He's a grand fellow, and all the finches, juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, and kinglets joined in. At our elevation of 1,300 feet, cardinals don't usually hang out; in the 20 years I've lived here in Sugar Hill, I've only seen one other male, and one female - sadly not at the same time! One spring that male sang for weeks, to no avail.
Regardless of the weather, everyone is invited to two (hopefully) winter hikes: