I moved to New Hampshire in 1991 with my husband and eight-year-old twins to help my father, Carl Siemon, manage his hay and tree farm in Milton Mills, NH. This is the same year that my father decided to donate a conservation easement on nearly 1500 acres of Branch Hill Farm's managed forest and working hay fields to the Society for the Protection of NH Forests (SPNHF). Dad's transaction with the SPNHF was my first introduction to land conservation and the beginning of my transformation to ardent conservationist.
In 1995, Dad worked with trusted advisors to further insure the conservation legacy of his beloved Branch Hill Farm with the establishment of an endowed private operating foundation, aptly named the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (CSFCT). Dad asked me to take over the active management of the farm/trust with focused conservation and educational purposes. We both shared the exciting vision of Branch Hill Farm becoming a living classroom to demonstrate the wise stewardship of the fields, forest, and wildlife; as well as a significant 'connector' property for regional greenway efforts. I worked with my father until his death in 2001 to double the size of the Tree Farm to over 3,000 acres. In 2000, I worked closely with our regional conservation commissions to make the vision of greenway connections a reality with the founding of Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG).
Over the last sixteen years, MMRG and the CSFCT have collaborated on successful educational outreach programs and land protection projects. The Branch River Paddle and the Woods Water Wildlife Festival are two of our most successful yearly outreach events. MMRG has been instrumental in conserving over 4,700 acres in our MMRG region and is now a respected regional Land Trust. In my triple conservation roles as Branch Hill Farm manager, founding member of MMRG, and Chair of the Milton Conservation Commission, I have had the privilege of working on highly prioritized land conservation projects within our MMRG region. The most notable successes are the 2,300 acre Moose Mountains Reservation in Middleton and Brookfield and the 340 acre Salmon Falls Headwater Reservation in Milton Mills. Both properties are owned and managed by the Forest Society, are important headwater sources of the Salmon Falls Watershed, and are within a few miles of our Farm's 3,000 acres. Throughout the years of collaborative team work, we are getting closer and closer to realizing the vision of connecting Branch Hill Farm's 3,000 acres of forest and fields to neighboring greenway properties.
For me, it is the greenway vision that inspires this meaningful work. There still exist plentiful working New England farms and managed private forests that are a vital part of New Hampshire's economy and support NH's vibrant tourism industry. I continue to work closely with our conservation partners on collaborative planning initiatives to conserve and connect the most significant natural resource areas through voluntary land protection efforts. This important work ensures clean air, water, healthy wildlife, recreation; and supports the local forestry, agricultural, and tourism industries. And, as my Dad used to say, "to keep New Hampshire New Hampshire." My most joyful times are spent in my Dad's forests and sharing the joy with others.
Cynthia S. Wyatt,
Managing Trustee of the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust/Branch Hill Farm
1995 - present
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Awards and Honors