July 24, 2011
Sunday was a perfect day for a hike – deep blue sky and clear cooler air. We started on Route 25C with owner approved admission through land owned by Kingswood Camp. We walked through sun dappled mixed woods along a well cleared and laid out trail accessing Piermont Mountain from the north.
Our entire group of nine was curious about this all but unknown route. Most of the first mile or so was easy to moderate with a few short steeper parts. The trail then became more constantly steep with several scrambles over and around the frequent ledges. After attaining the ridge the trail calmed down except for a few short scrambles to remind our legs that we were on a mountain. About a quarter of a mile before the summit, we reached a lookout facing southeast that called for a pause.
When we continued on we soon reached the top for a grand view of Mount Moosilauke. We also appreciated the sight of Black and other surrounding mountains along with the lakes below. We took our time enjoying our reward and then retraced our steps back down the trail.
A few of us decided to stretch out the fun with a swim at nearby Lake Tarleton and a stop for ice cream. It was an afternoon well spent – for our minds, bodies and dispositions – with the bonus of being with a group of nice people.
Join us some Sunday!
UVLT Trustee, Sunday Stroll Leader
~Photos courtesy Pip Richens, UVLT volunteer and Sunday Stroll participant
It is 7:30am sharp on Friday July 15th and the back parking lot of a nondescript building along Route 5 in Norwich is full of vehicles, people, and laughter. The associates of Hypertherm, a Hanover, NH based manufacturer, have arrived to begin their 8 hour volunteer day with the Upper Valley Land Trust. The company gives their associates 16 hours of paid time each year to participate in local community service activities. These days fit in with Hypertherm’s commitment and mission to support environmental stewardship and community engagement.
Thank You Hypertherm Associates!
Today, 19 associates gather around UVLT Stewardship Director, Pete Helm, as he gives a brief lesson on invasive plant species
. A plant identified by its smooth leaves, speckled bark, and, at times, blue berries. Pete explains that Buckthorn has several advantages over native plants. The most effective seems to be its inclination to ‘green-up’ quickly in the spring thus beginning photosynthesis and growth much earlier than its native neighbors. On this 2.5 acre property owned by UVLT, Buckthorn has invaded the understory making it impossible to walk through. The impressive density is a good illustration of just how hard it is for native species to propagate their own seedlings when Buckthorn is part of the habitat.
In addition to its growth advantage, Buckthorn’s berries are nutritionally poor. To represent the dangers of this, Pete uses a powerful example: migratory birds beginning their journey choose to land on a patch of Buckthorn, filling up on its berries before striking out on in their long flight. Soon after they leave, however, the birds will face a big problem. In Pete’s words, “like a person eating cheese puffs before a marathon”, the berries fill the birds stomachs but they are not fortified and as their energy runs out they are not able to make it as far as they need to.
The associates of Hypertherm nod and seem to understand the consequences a scenario such this could have upon a species. Motivated to prevent such a dire event the crews get started! There is ripping and tugging, pulling and pushing. Some use their hands while others have to resort to medieval looking tools to lever the larger shrubs from the ground. As the piles grow higher, one Hypertherm associate reflects that the opportunity has more to it than face value. True it gives the company a chance to help their community but it also brings associates together who would not see or interact with each other during a normal work day. Here are associates from the marketing, manufacturing, engineering and management team all working together to enrich their community.
Hypertherm designs and manufactures plasma cutters and their technology and products are known worldwide. This is some pretty hefty machinery that is used in a variety of industries such as ship building, manufacturing, and automotive repair. One might not think heavy duty industrial manufacturers would want to be in the woods all day pulling stubborn invasive plants but the attitude was positive and people enjoyed it. Despite some minor falls and one nasty run in with a wasp’s nest, the crews were able to remove approximately 25,500 square feet of Buckthorn plus an additional small patch of mixed invasives which included Buckthorn along with European Honeysuckle …. pretty cool for folks who build tools that use, in their words, controlled lightning to cut metal!
A Hypertherm Crew's Massive Pile of Pulled Buckthorn
Hypertherm plans on spending their second 8 hour volunteer day with UVLT on July 29th to continue the good work. This is their second year working with UVLT and we hope to continue this partnership for many more years to come. If you know a group of people who’d like to help us with this or another project, contact us
What does cancer research have in common with land conservation?
It’s all about legacy and looking forward.
Most of us have experience with cancer through the illness of a loved one or our own personal health. We know how the experience of illness focuses our energy on the things that matter, the people we care for, the beauty we find around us, the sources of joy and renewal in our lives.
UVLT Conservation Project Manager Sara Cavin, her husband Ed Meyer, and UVLT President Jeanie McIntyre's daughter Chelsea Little at the 2010 Prouty.
We also know the promise and limitations of science, the pursuit of elusive information that will enable more effective care and eventual cure. Research is an accumulation of information and effort over many, many years. It takes many people sharing ideas and acting in cooperative dedication. It’s a legacy.
Land conservation, too, is a leap of faith. There’s a lot we don’t know about what the future will bring – in our own lives and in the world around us. But there are some things we know and hold dear. People conserve land because they care deeply about tomorrow.
This weekend there will be thousands of people on the roads and trails and on the river, raising money for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. They are pedaling, walking, rowing for a future where healthy people can ride bikes past cornfields and through villages, hear the birds in the marshes and rest in the quiet shade of tall trees.
UVLT's conserved lands signs from the 2009 Prouty.
UVLT’s yellow signs will mark the dozens of conserved properties along this year’s Prouty route. These places speak to the values of Upper Valley people today – and they are a legacy looking forward to a healthy future.
This summer, as UVLT’s Patchen Miller Intern, I’m seeking ways to combine art and environmental education. We’re often taught that science and art are two completely separate subjects, but I like to think of art not just as a means to produce artwork. Art is also a language through which we investigate and appreciate the world around us. We can use art to communicate about science, natural history and the environment, and connect in a new way, beyond words.
During the month of July, you’ll be able to find me out and about at an arts table at the Hanover Farmers’ Market or with the AVA Gallery at the Lebanon Farmers’ Market. Come try a nature art project and chat with me about land conservation!
UVLT's 2011 Patchen Miller Intern, Ally Bernstein (left) visited the Hanover Farmers' Market this week
In late July and early August, I’ll be leading nature hikes for children; we’ll make fairy houses and nature sculptures. We’ll observe the shapes, textures, colors and surprises that nature offers, and explore the ways that natural object sculptures can demonstrate a respectful and beautiful relationship between humans and the environment!
Check back for more information about a nature hike in your area. Volunteers and families are welcome to join us! Contact me for more information at: 603-643-6626 x121 or email@example.com.
2011 Patchen Miller Intern
The Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) in conjunction with web developer, Monique Priestley has created a new website, Upper Valley Story-Scape (UVSS). The site aims to enable Upper Valley residents and visitors to share stories, images, videos and audio about favorite Upper Valley places. This website is the latest in our efforts to document and celebrate the region; its land and its people.
The new website, www.uvstoryscape.org, is based on a similar site called, Voices for the Lake (www.voicesforthelake.org) that was created by the ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center in Burlington. The difference between the two sites is fairly simple, Voices for the Lake is an online forum for sharing images, videos, audio and written stories about Lake Champlain and the surrounding area. Upper Valley Story-Scape is structured similarly as a place to share the same type of content, but about the living things and landforms of the Upper Valley region.
The site is up now; fully functioning and ready for fresh content. UVLT has “seeded” the site with images, videos, and stories from our archives, but the project is not meant to be about the Upper Valley Land Trust. The site is intended to be a place for sharing all kinds of stories about place – places residents fly kites, walk their dogs, learn to swim or bike, pick strawberries, or see moose. Everyone has a story like this to share. And we can learn from each other of new ways to experience and celebrate the special place that is the Upper Valley.
There are several different ways that visitors to the site can participate. The Upper Valley Story-Scape Facebook page includes occasional posts to stimulate visitors thinking. One example of such a prompt is, “Describe your favorite place to take a walk, or get a breath of fresh air. Where is it? What about that special place helps you to relax before or after a long day?” The UVSS site, www.uvstoryscape.org, includes a link to this Facebook page, as well as suggested resources for those interested in getting involved in the work of groups like the Upper Valley Land Trust that work to conserve and steward the region’s natural resources. The site also includes a calendar with local events relating to land stewardship.
This project is an experiment for UVLT and we welcome feedback and suggestions from the community. We hope this will become the online place to go for folks looking to share outdoor experiences with friends and neighbors. So, please spread the word!
We welcome opportunities for collaborations in hosting and arranging technical trainings to show community members how to use the site, or outdoor events and activities that may help us to develop content for the site. Please let UVLT’s Programs Coordinator know if you’d like to schedule a training or activity of this sort.