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


Shaker Village Ash tree and damage wrought by EAB larvae.

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


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


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!



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.


Creature Feature

Who cooks for you? Who cooks for youuuaallll? 
You can hear the unmistakable call of the barred owl throughout the year, but they’ll really get revved up in the next few weeks as their mating season begins. Come to ourFull Moon Owl Walk March 5th, 6:30 p.m. at The Rocks in Bethlehem. 

Barred Owls

Barred owls are slightly larger in size than a barn owl.

NH’s most common owl, the barred owl (Strix varia) sports horizontal bars running across its chest, vertical stripes down its belly, and a smooth round head – no”ears”or tufts.

In addition to the familiar “Who cooks for you?”

call, barred owls engage in rather dramatic caterwauling during their courtship, which begins in February. Breeding starts in March and goes through the summer.

Barred owls tend toward monogomy. They like to nest in cavities in snags (large dead trees) within dense forests. Here at ACT we manage our land to keep and sometimes even create such trees for owls and other wildlife.

Two to four eggs are laid per clutch, and the female incubates them for four weeks. A few weeks after hatching, fuzzy owlets start exploring outside the nest, perambulating nearby tree limbs by grasping on with their beaks and their particularly adapted feet (here’s a video  of owlets out and about).  Owls’ unique ability to arrange their talons with two in front and two in back, or three in front and one in back, makes perching and striking down prey easy work.

At about six weeks old, the young are ready to venture forth into the world on their own, and fledge. This coincides with the natural increase in populations of owls’ favorite prey, including red squirrels, mice, voles, mink, and even young hares, skunks, and other birds. Barred owls may even catch crayfish near the water’s edge.

We all grew up with the image of the “wise old owl.” Their steady, impenetrable gaze certainly gives the impression of deep thought. Biomechanically, owls are remarkable. A lot of the magic happens from their neck up. Imagine their heads as dish antennas that are specially engineered to let them hear and see where their prey may be lurking.

Their head feathers are arranged to magnify sounds, so they can easily hear the smallest prey rustling about. The extremely photosensitive eyes that give them excellent night vision take up half their skull. Because these huge eyes are actually tube shaped, owls can’t roll their eyes – instead they can swivel their necks an astounding 270-degrees. They lock their eyes on sounds of would-be prey. Then with speed and silence they swoop down to grab it. This winter, look carefully in the woods and open fields where there are rodent tracks, and you may well find the imprint of owl wings in the snow.

The barred owl is ranked as a species of “least concern” in NH, meaning the population is steady. They are a very adaptable species, but their greatest threat is the loss of forested landscapes and the open marshland where they like to hunt and nest.

Here’s a link to a live webcam of a Great Horned Owl nest with chicks in Georgia. Though uncommon up here (you’re more likely to find them in southern NH), the great horned is actually a predator of the barred owl.

The barred owl is a magnificent creature, and because they are non-migratory and maintain a territory, your chances of spotting one is quite good.

***Join us for our Full Moon Owl Walk on March 5th at the Rocks Estate at 6:30 PM!***



Community Forest Hike Feb. 7

Winter is a great time to explore the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest! Everyone is invited to a hike on Saturday, Feb. 7 from  1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

The hike will start from the end of Jim Noyes Hill Road in Landaff. Park along the road, but carpool if possible as parking is limited. If you want to walk in from the Sugar Hill side, park at the end of Dyke Road, follow the Class VI road and meet up at the big log landing by 2 p.m.

The hike will be led by ACT board member and naturalist Steve Sabre and Executive Director Rebecca Brown.

We've seen a lot of bobcat tracks this winter.

We’ve seen a lot of bobcat tracks this winter.

Depending on snow conditions, bring your snowshoes, XC skis, camera, kids, and dogs – and dress warm! Be prepared for a steady but not difficult uphill walk (though it could be icy in some places).

Moose and deer abound on this land, and we may get lucky and find tracks of bobcat and fisher, and we will be on the lookout for the elusive American marten. If we are exceptionally lucky we may find the track of a lynx.

For more information, contact Outreach Coordinator Lianna Lee at  603-823-7777, e-mail outreach@aconservationtrust.org.


Stewardship Team Meetings

Stewardship Team Meetings

EASTON – This series of meetings is designed to help educate our Stewardship Team about the ecosystem management units and wildlife management in the Community Forest. All meetings are being led by our consulting ecologist, Jesse Mohr of Native Geographic. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the Forest is welcome to attend. More information is here.

Where: Easton Town Hall

When: January 28th from 5:30-7:30

Documents to Read: Mohr has provided us with a few pages of reading that will make it easier to understand the different management unites that exist within the Forest. Please click the links below to view the PDF files.

CJCF Compartment NotesDevelopment Stage

This is a link to a photo guide of NH’s natural communities.  If you have the chance, take a look at a few of the descriptions and photos.  Northern Hardwood-spruce-fir forest, high elevation spruce-fir forest, lowland spruce-fir forest, red spruce swamp, northern hardwood seepage forest, and sugar maple-beech-yellow birch forest are the more widespread communities in the CJCF.

MapEcosystem Management Units


ACT Member Appreciation Event at Schilling Beer

Join us for an evening to remember at Schilling Beer.

A Night Out for ACT Members  
Come enjoy a festive holiday evening after work with great beer, delicious food, time to catch up with friends old and new.
When: Thursday, December 18th from 5-7 PM
Where: Schilling Beer, Mill Street, Littleton NH
Why: Because we want to thank you our members and friends for being part of the ACT family. You find the time to volunteer, support ACT’s projects, and wish us well. Now we’d like to say thank you, for everything you do.
Cost is FREE with cash bar available. Refreshments of brick oven pizza, and other delicious food will be available.

Sugar Hill Days 2015 Calendar


We’re delighted to offer a wonderful gift for the holidays – a 2015 Sugar Hill Days calendar by long-time ACT member Carl Martland.  For nearly 15 years Carl has been taking pictures and recording details of life in his “back 40″ in Sugar Hill. With a keen eye he’s kept track of all sorts of birds, insects, mammals, and amphibians in the forest, fields, and pond. His calendar features his photos and notes on what is happening on particular days though the seasons.

This is a great gift or calendar for your own use. You can pick one up at the ACT office for $18 or we’ll mail one for $19.50. Call us at 823-7777 or e-mail Lianna at outreach@aconservationtrust.org. Hurry – supplies are very limited!

February: Flocks of turkeys can be seen parading across the meadows.

February: Flocks of turkeys can be seen parading across the meadows.

June: Bunchberry dogwood, trillium, star flowers, and lady slippers brighten the sides of the trails in Foss Woods and the Lower 40.

June: Bunchberry dogwood, trillium, star flowers, and lady slippers brighten the sides of the trails in Foss Woods and the Lower 40.

Bird contemplates a pond during April.

Bird contemplates a pond during April.

December: Time to hunker down for the winter, but also time to once again revel in the beauty of the snow-filled woods.

December: Time to hunker down for the winter, but also time to once again revel in the beauty of the snow-filled woods.

July 20: 2014: I was standing still listening to distant birds singing in the Lower 40 when a hermit thrush suddenly flew out, exposing four blue eggs un her nest, which was hidden under weeds next to the trail.

July 20: 2014: I was standing still listening to distant birds singing in the Lower 40 when a hermit thrush suddenly flew out, exposing four blue eggs un her nest, which was hidden under weeds next to the trail.


Cooley-Jericho Community Potluck Nov. 8

Everyone is invited to the second annual community potluck for updates and input into the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest.

The potluck is at the Sugar Hill Town Hall on Saturday, Nov. 8 starting at 5:30 pm. Please bring a covered dish and BYOB.

The Community Forest was created one year ago when ACT purchased 840 acres in the town of Easton on behalf of Easton, Franconia. Landaff, and Sugar Hill. All four towns contributed to the purchase and each town has representatives on the CJCF management team.

Forest Service Hike

Hikers on the Forest

All last winter and through this spring, summer, and fall, volunteers, consultants, and ACT staff have been doing field research on the land’s natural resources and also on its cultural history. Winter wildlife tracking, game cameras, and spring bird surveys revealed species that are using the forest for shelter, breeding, and raising their young.

Natural communities, forest types, and sensitive plant species have been mapped. Mountain bikers and backcountry skiers have plotted out potential routes. The management team is taking all this data and devising trail alternatives according to goals for the forest’s use by people and wildlife.

At the potluck management team members will present short summaries of this work, show the maps, and show photos of the wildlife that has been caught on the game cameras.

The Cooley-Jericho Community Forest is locally controlled, community owned, and conserved forever. It is a community project of ACT.


Come to the Wild & Scenic Film Festival!

We’re excited to host an evening of great adventure and inspirational films! It’s the 2014 Wild & Scenic Film Festival, a national touring event. It’s at the Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, Saturday, Oct. 11, doors open at 6 and the films start at 7. Buy tickets on-line at http://bit.ly/wildscenicfilmfestival14.

The Film Festival is in support of our Clean Water/Healthy Trout project, and is a membership growing event for ACT.  ACT_2014WSFFtour

We’ve chosen 17 great films of  great variety – from snowboarders on Denali to steelhead fishing, from portraits of young activists making a big difference in their communities to a kayak adventure you have to see to believe.

In the lobby before and after the films and during intermission, there will be fun and informative displays and information on our work protecting and restoring streams for clean water and wild brook trout. Our partners NH Fish & Game, Plymouth State University Center for Rural Partnerships, and Trout Unlimited will be there with lots of good materials – and real trout and aquatic insects. Food and wine/beer, door prizes, raffle, and great for the entire family!