Volunteer Conservation Easement Monitoring Training 2013
Saturday May 11, 8am – 3pm
Join the UVLT team of volunteers: become proficient in map and compass skills, using GPS tools, and “reading” the conservation landscape.
Here is what two of last year’s trainees had to say about why they chose to participate:
Elizabeth Traver – I love to walk in the woods anyway, I have been looking for ways to volunteer around the area, I figured I could learn something as well as learn more about places I can go for walks. Finally, I was looking for ways to meet some folks who might have similar interests.
Jim Barker – I (wanted to) improve my skills and knowledge.
Some chose skis, others stuck to sturdy feet, but everyone who came along on UVLT’s hike to welcome in the first weekend of spring brought smiles and energy for exploring our remote property in North Grantham, NH.
Starting out on the surprisingly good snow, we began the climb along the class VI Leavitt Hill Road from its end at Miller Pond Road. UVLT staff Pete Helm and Sara Cavin got to chat with new friends and share the story of how UVLT came to acquire this 90 acre forest with its 8-acre wetland complex. The Leavitt Hill Wetland property is now owned and managed by UVLT as a result of partnerships with the Town of Grantham, the Conservation Commission, and the NH Department of Environmental Services Wetland Mitigation program.
During our trek, we saw evidence of the old community atop Leavitt Hill, including homestead cellar-holes, abandoned farming machinery and numerous stone walls. Once we headed off the trail and into the conservation area, our senses were perked even more, tuning in to the breezes moving through the ice-storm damaged tree crowns, and noticing the many signs from wildlife that had passed before us. Once at the wetland edge, we walked (and skied) lightly across the still-(mostly!)-frozen stretches, overseen by the snags from the long-abandoned beaver ponds. Pausing for hot tea, peanut butter, granola bars, and other lunchtime snacks, we watched the spring snow flurries swirl about across the wetland.
The skiers enjoyed the relatively open understory throughout much of the property, and hikers had the help of traction spikes but hardly needed them in the fluffy spring snow! Once back to Leavitt Hill Road, the skiers had an exciting descent and the hikers struck up lively conversations about public access on conservation lands and UVLT’s role with easements compared to fee-owned properties. It is always fun learning, laughing and adventuring together in the outdoors – we hope you can join us next time!
Celebrate the first weekend of spring with a hike to Leavitt Hill Wetland!
Saturday March 23, 2013 @ 10am – 3pm (approx.)
Starting at Leavitt Hill Rd-Miller Pond Rd intersection, Grantham, NH (directions – link to map below)
Come explore with us! We will travel along historic Leavitt Hill Road, discover cellar holes, and hike through UVLT’s property to find Leavitt Hill Wetland. This will be a freeform-style expedition. We invite you to share the company of UVLT staff and friends as we discover the little secrets of this 90 acre natural area which was acquired by the Upper Valley Land Trust in 2011 with support from the Town of Grantham and the Conservation Commission. While your senses will be tested, your fitness certainly may be too – please be prepared for uneven terrain, hilly topography, and likely icy and wet conditions (it will be mud season, after all!). There are no formal trails on this UVLT property, so bring a sense of adventure, pack lunch & water, and join us for an outing to celebrate the first official weekend of spring!
The beginning of the hike along class VI Leavitt Hill Road is approximately 2 miles (with about 600 feet of elevation gain!) just to reach the property. Once there, we will hike down to the wetland, make a loop, and return to Leavitt Hill Road for the return hike back to the cars. Total hiking distance will be approximately 5 miles and we expect the trip to take approximately 4-5 hours, aiming to return by 3pm.
Directions to Leavitt Hill Road here (enter your starting point in “A” and then click “get directions”). We will start where the unmaintained road begins, just off of Miller Pond Road after the highway underpass at 10 a.m. Parking is limited and likely will only be along the roadside of Miller Pond Road – please exercise caution! – Meet to carpool to the start from the gas station off Exit 16 of I-89 at 9:45 a.m.
This is a free event (though being a UVLT supporter makes you extra special!) – Registration is not required, but appreciated! Contact Sara Cavin at the Upper Valley Land Trust with questions and if you plan to join us: firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 643-6626.
After offering our first Upper Valley Naturalist Training last spring, so many of you have inquired about it that we’re doing it again!
UVLT is partnering with the Hulbert Outdoor Center in Fairlee, VT to offer a four-week training about habitats and wildlife in our region.
Tuesday evening classroom sessions and weekend field sessions led by local experts will include geology, plant communities, wetland ecology, forest ecology, birds, mammals and more. Participants will also study what it means to be a naturalist and learn techniques for sharing knowledge about the natural world with others.
The training begins on Tuesday, April 23rd with the first classroom session at Hulbert Outdoor Center in Fairlee, VT.
Space is limited and first-come, first served. The training is just $150 for all four weeks with a 25% discount for UVLT members, seniors and students. $25 non-refundable registration fee due upon registration, with the remainder of the fee due on the first night of the training (registration fee will be deducted from the full course fee). Scholarship funds may be available for those in need.
Last Sunday the bitter cold and extreme wind event may have postponed the 2013 Bear Pond Snowshoe for one week, and the National Weather Service prediction of BIG snow for Sunday the 24th may have scared some away….but, yet again, Bear Pond did not disappoint!
Frozen carnivorous pitcher plant
Fifteen hearty explorers wound their way through the frozen wooded swamp in a light snow to reach Bear Pond, a remote kettle pond and quaking bog which supports all kinds of crazy plants and animals.
Upon reaching the pond, everyone was “set free” to explore on their own…using the time to practice winter identification of plants, follow tracks into the shrubs, search small open water areas, and even test the depths with one boot!
While there was a lot to see, probably the coolest thing we saw was a Giant Water Bug! A water bug in winter you ask? You betchya! In one of the small openings in the ice, this “little” feller lived up to its name measuring almost 2.5 inches in length! Fortunately for us, it wasn’t moving too quickly in the cold water so we were able to look at it quite closely. Here is a video of the natural history of this guy…pretty amazing creature. We even saw three Eastern Newts…in their aquatic stage! This is the same critter that many of you know as a Red Eft (which is its much longer terrestrial stage). What crazy things to find on a snowshoe walk in February!
Giant water bug with end of trekking pole for scale
The Bear Pond Natural Area (owned by the Mascoma Watershed Conservation Council), along with other adjacent UVLT conserved properties, makes up over 1000 acres of natural habitat. You never quite know what you might see out there…and this year’s snowshoe brought out even more unusual finds! Join the Upper Valley Land Trust and our partners in our next adventure! Come explore with us!
We would like to thank the many supporters, volunteers, and contributors to the Linny Levin Trail. Yesterday nearly 100 people gathered to remember Linny Levin and celebrate her spirit as the newly improved trail was officially unveiled.
Our thanks extend to but aren’t limited to:
The Levin Family
Thetford Conservation Commission
Donors to the Linny Levin Memorial Fund
Donors to the Linny Levin Trail Fund
United Way Day of Caring volunteers
Thetford Elementary School
Tim & Phebe McKosker
Hugget’s Mini Mart
Wings Market & Deli
Michael & Mary Dan Pomeroy
Bob & Laura Pulaski
Connie & Frank Snyder
Kevin, Olivia, & Nate Brooker
The morning started with an early txt. All it said was “brrrrr….” I checked the thermometer. 21 degrees. Brrrr indeed! After a couple of txt messages…it was decided to forge ahead. We had enough tools to chip ice if needed, and the ground wasn’t frozen solid…or so we hoped.
Jason, Kevin, and I met at the appointed time; we grumbled and groused a bit about the weather and then got to work. The main task for the day was to lay new stepping stones on the last on a soggy, muddy section of the Linny Levin Trail in anticipation of UVLT’s trail dedication ceremony on Saturday, November 17th at 1:00 pm.
We grabbed the rock bars. They were cold.Very cold. We headed out to do a quick assessment of how many stones would be needed. We had three good ones….but we needed four. So many other things at UVLT’s Linny Levin Trail have just fallen into place while planning and creating this trail, it shouldn’t have surprised me that there, a mere 10 feet away, was the perfect stone. Number 4. My favorite number.
So with bars, shovels, loppers, wheelbarrow, and mattock, we went to work in the mud. In no time we had set the stone, repacked the trail, sprinkled some leaves for good measure, and you may never know about the work that took place. However, I am sure that if you walk the trail at some point soon, you will feel the presence of Linny Levin, hear the joy (and silence) of the classes of children, and understand the reason we all treasure and value Zebedee Wetlands.
Join us on November 17th…..and explore again on your own!
On November 17th at 1pm we will gather at Zebedee Wetlands to celebrate a beloved community member, Linny Levin. Improvements to the existing trail were made using monies from a Memorial Fund held by the Thetford Conservation Commission in memory of Linny and it seems fitting that, in this way, she will continue to bring people and nature together.
Please join us in remembering and honoring Linny.
**Thetford is bustling with activities this weekend so come early for near by parking !**
Directions to Houghton Hill Road, Thetford, VT:
From points South: Take I-91 North toward St. Johnsbury. Take Exit 14 for VT-113 toward US 5/Thetford. Turn left off of the exit ramp onto 113 W and follow it for approximately 0.9 miles. Turn right onto Houghton Hill Road near the intersection at the top of the hill. Follow Houghton Hill Road for approximately a quarter mile – the parking area will be on the right hand side of the road.
From points North: Take I-91 South toward Hanover. Take Exit 14 for VT-113 toward US 5/Thetford. Turn right off of the exit ramp onto 113 W and follow it for approximately 0.9 miles. Turn right onto Houghton Hill Road near the intersection at the top of the hill. Follow Houghton Hill Road for approximately a quarter mile – the parking area will be on the right hand side of the road.
Overflow parking may take place along the right hand side of the road as long as vehicles are single file and the traffic lane is not blocked. Follow parking signs.
**Thetford is bustling with activities this weekend so come early for near by parking !**
For more information on the dedication check out the poster below and to track the progress we’ve made on the trail visit: search for ‘Zebedee’ here on our website.
Check out this slideshow of the kiosk raising last week at Zebedee Wetlands! A big thank you is owed to all of our helpers: Tim Ulman, Connie & Frank Snyder, Kevin, Olivia, & Nate Brooker, Bob and Laura Pulaski, Sean Dalton & Timberhomes, and the Thetford Conservation Commission - it looks great! A Trail Dedication Ceremony will be held November 17th (details to come) so take note, come out to see it for yourself, and celebrate the memory of beloved community member Linny Levin.
A big thank you for all of you who helped to make our October 15th Open House and Volunteer Appreciation a wonderful success! We had a very fun evening full of friends both new and old and with 50+ attendees – a full house!
We recognized our volunteers for the hundreds of hours of hard work they contribute to us every year. UVLT Stewardship Coordinator Jason Berard noted that the support of the community results in a Land Trust that is an integrated part of the community and a stronger organization overall. He covered the following highlights of our volunteers’ service:
· Volunteer engagement contributes to our efficiency with supporters donations. This past fiscal year UVLT accomplished $7 of conservation for every $1 given.
· Volunteers gave over 1050 hours this past fiscal year; 650 hours in property monitoring alone – an increase from last year.
· Volunteers expand our capabilities as an organization including our efficiency in larger projects like the creation of the Lyme Hill Conservation Area and trail work at Zebedee, and allows for unexpected fun like the UVLT HOP 50th piano!
· If you link all the boundaries of UVLT conserved land together, it equals 904 miles, which is the same distance as from Hanover to Peoria, IL! Our volunteers help us cover a lot of ground!
We also sang three outdoor songs led on piano by musician Robin Russell including: ‘Garden Song’ by David Mallett and ‘River’ by Bill Staines.
Though the video is rather shaky we hope you enjoy hearing our rendition of Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land’!
If you’re in the neighborhood stop on by. Though the event is over, our doors are always open and we’d be happy to see you!