After being away from my home state for six years, I am so happy to be back and contributing to the conservation of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. When I left New Hampshire six years ago, I had no idea when I would be back or what my life would look like at this point in time. Throughout the experience I’ve had over the last two months in the LRCC, I can say I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else or be anywhere else.
I’ve had a lot of great opportunities so far, but some of my favorite days have been spent monitoring conservation easements. In short, this entails reviewing a conservation easement’s deed, survey, and other supporting documents then going out to the property to ensure the terms of the easement are being upheld. Typically, this means we are not on trails and are bushwhacking throughout the property, which is a ton of fun! Exploring the woods in this method is a great way to see what is going on in the natural areas around us. You never know what you may find in New Hampshire’s beautiful historical forests.
Recently, we monitored the Whiteface Mountain Conservation Easement in Wolfeboro. We started off hiking the trail to the summit while checking on the trail’s integrity and for any prohibited activities. After monitoring the trail, we found an old logging road, which heads west toward Youngs Brook. Here, the beavers in the area have constructed the largest beaver dam I have ever seen! It seemed to span at least 25 yards and had a height of about three feet. All around the area, we could also see different signs of beaver in the form of game trails to and from the brook as well as chewed tree stumps. (Fun fact: the enamel in beaver’s teeth contains iron which allows them to gnaw through wood easily.) As we were approaching the wetland area, we also found a skeleton that was mostly intact with some dark coarse hair. My guess is that it was the skeleton of a deceased beaver.
Throughout our other property monitoring days, we have seen other beautiful facets of the natural world. At Glory Hill in Hill, NH we spotted over 95 red eft eastern newts throughout the day! They were all over the trail, and we had to be careful where we stepped. We even spotted one that had an extra leg!
I also found a cellar hole at Glory Hill which seemed to be unmarked on our map. Of course, there were rock walls throughout the area as well. It is always interesting to imagine what life would have been like for whoever had lived there. I’m so glad I am able to help preserve the history and natural heritage of New Hampshire.
The experience I’ve had so far with the LRCC has been one I will never forget. I’ve learned so much and met such amazing people through the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. I’m so happy that I can make such a difference in my community and for the environment. Being able to serve in this capacity has been so rewarding. Taking care of the natural world around us is so important on a number of levels! My goal for the rest of the season is to continue to drink up all the knowledge I can and to make connections that will last a lifetime. I’d like to find more opportunities to get out of my comfort zone and to continue to learn new skills for a future career in the conservation field.