Field trip will explore Wendell Marsh area in Sunapee

Sunapee, N.H. – A 1000-acre unfragmented block of forest land, wetland, streams and fields lie between NH Route 11 and Ryder Corner Road in Sunapee. Join the Sunapee Conservation Commission and Ausbon Sargent on Saturday, January 26 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. as they explore 136 acres of this area along Wendell Marsh, which is the first conserved land in this unfragmented block.

The field trip will follow along a recreational trail and bush whack off trail to Wendell Marsh. Participants will learn about the area’s natural environment, its trees, forest and wildlife habitat.

Efforts are underway to conserve this property.  Participants will also learn about what remains to be done to complete the project.

Bring snowshoes if conditions call for it and dress warmly in layers with good boots. Refreshments will be served. Participants should be in good physical condition, able to walk up and down hills in potentially slippery conditions and be willing to walk off-trail.

Participants are asked to contact Ausbon Sargent with your name, the names of all in your party, and your phone number. For more information phone 603-526-6555 or e-mail: nsmith@ausbonsargent.org.

Transition Town training to be held in New London, N.H.

New London, N.H. – Students in the Third Year environmental science/studies major at Colby-Sawyer College are helping to build the infrastructure for a Transition Town initiative in the Kearsarge Valley Region as a part of their Community-Based Research Project.

They are hosting a training event for the Kearsarge Valley area on the weekend of November 9th-11th, 2012. Any and all interested community members are welcome to attend the training that will be held on campus in the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center.

“If you love expanding your knowledge while connecting with other enthusiastic community members, then please join us for a weekend full of discovery, excitement, and strategizing,” the release says.

“Transition Initiatives” or “Transition Towns” bring together local networks of individuals, businesses and organizations that are committed to improving the well-being and resilience of their communities.  Drawing upon the ideas, skills and experiences of residents they develop positive localized solutions to discuss the regional impacts of larger global issues such as economic insecurity, environmental instabilities, and dependence on non-renewable energy.

To learn more about this event or to register,  visit www.kearsargetransition.wordpress.com or call Jillian Dervishian, 617-791-7910.

Tina Clarke and Simon Dennis, both Certified Transition Trainers, will facilitate this weekend event. Clarke has been an educator, advocate, director and consultant for nonprofit programs since 1985.  She has consulted with over 400 NGO’s and she has trained and advised over three dozen other Transition Initiatives.

Simon Dennis is one of the founders of Transition Town White River Junction, as well as the Center for Sustainable Practice, and has played key roles in organizing two successful community gardens.  He was also the co-founder and co-director of COVER Home Repair and the ReCover Store, a non-profit that works with volunteers to complete the community’s most urgently needed home repairs and sell donated building materials and household goods to support this mission.

This three-day course is an in-depth experiential introduction to the Transition Movement. Packed with imaginative and successful ways to engage your community, the course describes how to catalyze, build, and facilitate a successful Transition Initiative. It delves into the theory and practice of Transition that has worked well in hundreds of communities around the world.

Training Schedule:

  • Friday, Nov. 9th 5:30-9 p.m. Potluck Dinner & Discussion. Free and open to the public.
  • Saturday, Nov.10th 9:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec.11th 12-5:30 p.m.

Number of participants is limited. Cost for the weekend: $90 – a few scholarships are available. For more info and to register, e-mail: transition.town@colby-sawyer.edu.

To Sunapee Green-Up volunteers: Thank you!

The 2012 Sunapee Green-Up Day zone captains and registration crew: Front row from left, Judy Balyeat, Charlotte Brown, Ruanne Miller, Loretta Dewey, Barbara Chalmers. Back row from left, Rose Batts, Nancy Clark, Betty Reid, Diana Wyman, Valerie Davey, Muriel Bergeron, Meagan Reed, Rhonda Gurney and her daughter Lilianna. Green-Up Day was Saturday, May 5.

By Rose Batts

Another Sunapee Green-Up Day Success!

A special thank you goes out to the 120 volunteers who pitched in on the fourth annual community roadside clean-up on May 5th.

120 volunteers including local school students (some shown here) participated in Sunapee’s town-wide clean-up.

Participants collected 130 bags of trash, 95 bags of recyclables, a dozen tires and many miscellaneous large odds and ends.

We also want to express our appreciation to all who donated supplies and handouts for the event as well as food and beverages for the celebration picnic in the Harbor after the event.

They include: All Terrain Company, Hannaford’s Market, Lake Sunapee Bank, Pizza Chef, Pizza Market, Sanctuary Dairy Farm, Sugar River Bank, Sunapee Police Department, and Sunapee Seniors.

Thank you for the wonderful show of community spirit!

Next year, Sunapee’s Green-Up Day will be May 4, 2013. Please save the date.

Photos by Rose Batts, Sunapee

Sustainable Living Series: Planting for Pollinators

While planning and planting your garden this spring, think of our pollinators — those hard-working animals that help pollinate over 75% our flowering plants and nearly 75% of our crops.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reports: “Pollinators need your help! There is increasing evidence that many pollinators are in decline.  However, there are some simple things you can do at home to encourage pollinator diversity and abundance.”

In the Lake Sunapee region, a free workshop about Appreciating Honey Bees in the Garden and Planting for Pollinators, will be held at Colby Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, on Saturday, May 19, from 1-3:30 p.m., at the Ivey Science Center. The workshop is open to the public and is part of the college’s Sustainable Living Series.

The workshop instructor is bee keeper Amy Antonucci, who has worked in organic agriculture for over ten years and served as vice president of the Seacoast Beekeepers Association of N.H., and organizes their annual Bee School. Amy is certified permaculture designer, goat-herder, chicken-keeper, and student of herbal medicine.

>> For more information, view the flyer below or contact Jennifer White, the college’s sustainability coordinator, at jhwhite@colby-sawyer.edu.

>> To download and share the flyer, click here. (PDF Beekeeping Flyer for 5-19-2012 1.2MB)

>> To learn more about the college’s sustainability initiatives, visit www.colby-sawyer.edu/greenroutes

Sunapee Green-Up plans townwide clean up

Green up. Clean up.

Saturday, May 5, 2012, is the fourth annual Sunapee Green-Up Day. Volunteers will turn out across town to pick up road-side litter from 9 to noon.

Sign up now!

You’ll find registration forms, street maps and safety tips posted at www.sunapeegreenupday.com. Forms are also at the town office building and library.

This is how it works: You gather your friends and family, and organizers give out street assignments, bags and gloves. (Suggestion: Bring sturdy work gloves.)

You can sign up early for a specific street assignment by calling Rose Batts at 603-763-4920.

Sections of Routes 103, 103B and 11 offer a vigorous work-out! Call Rose if you can help. She can also explain how to take part if you are not available on the 5th.

  • Check-in is at 8:30 a.m. at the Safety Services building, Sargent Road.
  • An appreciation picnic for volunteers starts at noon at Ben Mere Park, Sunapee Harbor. Event sponsors provide food and beverages.
  • The rain date is May 6.

Last year, 165 volunteers gathered over 500 bags of trash, which was later sorted for recyclable materials. Organizers look forward to even more participation this year!

View/download the event poster: 2012 Green-Up Day flyer (PDF 373KB)

Ausbon Sargent celebrates 25 years of land protection

Photo: Clark Lookout affords a magnificent view of Lake Sunapee with Mt. Sunapee in the distance.  A trail map of this easy .5 mile hike can be viewed at www.ausbonsargent.org/trails.

Today’s Earth Day week focus is on land conservation in the Mt. Kearsarge-Lake Sunapee region — the work of the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust.

Since 1987 Ausbon Sargent has been protecting our special, open spaces: farms, forested lands, streams and wetlands. These areas contribute mightily to the regional landscape.

Their protected properties now number 120 and total 9,742 acres with over 7 miles of shore frontage including 4,700 feet of frontage on Lake Sunapee. This work involves stewardship and education and lots of support from volunteers and community partners.

To learn more: View the map of properties. Read about the organization’s history and namesake. View a gallery of protected lands.

And here’s what’s coming up — special events and volunteer opportunities — as Ausbon Sargent celebrates its 25th birthday!

>> “Landscapes for Landsake” art exhibit at New London Hospital from May 25 through mid-September.

>> Thursday’s Child Benefit Dinner on May 31, 2012

Rockwell’s at the Inn and the New London Inn presents Thursday’s Child dinners to benefit local nonprofit organizations. Dine at Rockwell’s at the Inn (in the main dining room or the tavern) and 50% of the profits from the evening will go to Ausbon Sargent. For reservations, phone 603-526-2791.

>> Training Workshop: Monitoring Protected Properties on June 6

Help protect land by training to be one of Ausbon Sargent’s 90 land steward monitors. Call the Ausbon Sargent office for more information and to register with Sue Andrews at 603-526-6555 or email sandrews@ausbonsargent.org.

“We have been so successful adding new protected properties that we need an additional 12 easement monitors. This is a wonderful opportunity to be in the woods making a concrete contribution to saving our rural landscape,” says land protection specialists Andy Deegan and Beth McGuinn.

>> Spring Ledge Farm Feature, Main Street, New London on June 10
Starting at 4:30 p.m., take a tour of the farm and enjoy listening to guest speaker, the former Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Taylor.

>> “Happy Birthday, Ausbon!” on the New London Town Common on June 11

Come to the party on the green (from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) for a tribute to Ausbon Sargent, on his birthday. There will be music and stories and entertainment reflecting on Ausbon and the New London Common, which he purchased in 1985 and gifted to the town for conservation and enjoyment by future generations.

New Hampshire’s loons need your help!

Advocacy alert: SB 224 is critically important legislation to New Hampshire’s loons. (Click on the links at the bottom of the article for more information and contacts.)

A fresh layer of snow blanketed New Hampshire this week, but rain arrived this weekend, and warmer days will follow.

In the spring, when the ice melts away from our lakes and ponds, the loons are among the first to return. Yet a persistent and preventable hazard awaits them.

Common Loon by John Rockwood. Courtesy of the Loon Preservation Committee.

Photo by John Rockwood. Courtesy of the Loon Preservation Committee.

Lead, a silent killer

The threat comes from lead fishing tackle, the largest contributor to documented adult loon mortality in the state, according to the Loon Preservation Committee.

New Hampshire lawmakers are looking at what to do about this silent killer.

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is considering SB 224 . If enacted, it would strengthen current law, which fails to include jigs weighing less than one ounce but measuring longer than one inch. Sponsors of the bill are Senators Odell, Lambert, Forrester, and Carson; and Representatives Newton and Belk.

The Department of Environmental Services says SB 224 “would cover tackle that is the size range known to be ingested by loons.”

Supporters say SB 224 is critically important in helping to protect N.H.’s loons.

Loon mortalities in New Hampshire - Loon Preservation CommitteeFrom 1989-2010, lead fishing tackle caused the death of 119 loons, which represents 50% of the total adult loon mortalities for this time. And lead jigs caused 50% of the poisonings, LPC reports. (Click on the chart for a larger view.)

LPC comprehensively studied the effect of lead on N.H.’s loon population for the years 1989 through 2010. Formed in 1975, LPC does state-wide monitoring, research, management and outreach to preserve loons and their habitats.

“Lead fishing tackle is having a population-level impact on New Hampshire’s loons,” says LPC Senior Biologist and Executive Director Harry Vogel.

Loons are often perceived as an icon of a healthy lake. Because they feed at the top of the aquatic food web, loons are a biological indicator specified for contaminants in our lakes… If enacted, SB 224 would help to eliminate a pollution source that threatens the health of our lakes”  – Commissioner Thomas S. Burack, NHDES

Opponents to SB 224, including bass fishing advocates and tackle industry representatives, claim the science does not support changing the law, and the other threats to waterfowl are more significant.

LPC’s data, however, shows: “Lead has by far the largest impact in limiting New Hampshire’s loon population growth and viability of any currently quantified stressors.”

Opponents also argue the cost of fishing will go up if the law passes.

Threatened species

N.H. Fish and Game lists the Common Loon as a “threatened species.”

Population estimate: 550 adult loons.

Loons face multiple growing challenges: from domestic and wild predators, from loss of breeding areas to development and recreation, and from environmental pollution.

Lead poisoning occurs when ingested lead is absorbed into the blood stream. A loon with lead poisoning will die within 2 to 4 weeks after ingesting the lead tackle.

Taking action

In addition to legislative efforts to keep lead out of N.H. waters, environmental groups are active.

Locally, Lake Sunapee Protective Association offers a one-for-one exchange, a non-lead sinker for each lead sinker returned. And a 30-member, LSPA committee monitors loon sightings around Lake Sunapee and local ponds. The reports then go to the LPC.

“Get the Lead Out” is a statewide, summer campaign. LSPA, the Pleasant Lake Protective Association and the New Hampshire Lakes Association will again promote the effort in 2012.

LPC manages a program that provides artificial nesting rafts to loon pairs.

Yet in 2010, “despite a record number of nesting rafts floated by LPC staff and volunteers, the benefit to our loon population of our intensive raft program was entirely negated by just 11 pieces of lead tackle,” Vogel says. LPC staff and volunteers collected 11 loons that died from ingested lead fishing tackle in 2010. This was the highest number LPC has recorded to date.

The evidence is clear. Our loons need help. Lawmakers should close the loop hole in the lead-fishing-tackle law and adopt SB 224.

Click on the links to:

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