Logging and Woodworking Workshops with Charlie Moreno

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: 10/20/2017

Logging and Woodworking Workshops with Charlie Moreno

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (BHF/CSFCT) will offer two free forestry workshops led by consulting forester Charlie Moreno. The first, ‘Logging Showcase’, is set for Friday, October 26, from 1 to 4 pm in Branch Hill Farm’s Salmon Falls Woodlands in Milton Mills. The second, ‘Wood: From Forest to Workbench’ will take place on Sunday, November 4,  from 9 am to noon in Branch Hill Farm’s Branch River West forest on Plummers Ridge in Milton.

Logging Showcase will be a unique outdoor workshop in which four forms of logging will be demonstrated on a sustainably managed forest.  Woodlot owners, students, conservationists and interested members of the public are invited to watch both high-tech and ‘micro’ equipment in action. Participants will gain understanding of the timber harvest practices they may observe in our local forests, and learn new possibilities for forest improvement.  

Brent Day, Wm. Day & Sons, Inc. will showcase in-progress cut-to-length and biomass harvest operations. Larry Hersom of Hersom Logging will show conventional logging and micro-harvesting techniques. Consulting forester Charlie Moreno will discuss the various timber harvest systems being demonstrated and the forestry principles associated with each. “What are the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of these four modes of timber harvesting?  For what situations is each type of logging best suited?  What equipment is used and what forest products are produced?  How can logging improve the forest?” Moreno will answer these questions and more, as the crews work.

The Sunday Forest to Workbench workshop will be of interest to woodworkers and wood enthusiasts. Moreno’s goal is to make the connection between the wood that woodworkers love to use for woodworking and the forests that it comes from, such as wood grown in the backyards or woodlots of NH and Maine. He’ll walk participants through the sustainably-managed Branch River West forest, showing the high quality timber that can come from this mixed-age forest and how it is being grown for the future. He’ll talk about the products and values that come from trees, the common tree species and their wood qualities for use in different projects, and the process of milling and drying your own wood.

As a consulting forester, Charlie Moreno manages over 30,000 acres of forests for private landowners, conservation organizations, and communities in southern New Hampshire and Maine, including the forests of Branch Hill that are the sites of these workshops. In addition, he is a long-term hobbyist woodworker, learning ‘everything he knows’ at the Homestead Woodworking School in Newmarket. Moreno wants to teach the Forest to Workbench workshop again this year, because, as he says, “Everyone had a blast last year! And as a forester, I love to connect woodworkers to trees and forest management.”

Both workshops are free and open to the public but pre-registration is required. For more information, directions, and to register, contact MMRG’s Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at (603) 978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info. Please do not bring pets to these events.

MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land in Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Throughout the year, MMRG offers many educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.mmrg.info.  Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org.

 

2016 logging workshop participants examine mechanical harvester head

Charlie Moreno talks to group at 2017 Forest to Workbench workshop

 

Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival was all about Fun, Learning and Sustainability

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887
(603)-817-8260
info@mmrg.info

 

Submitted: September 14, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival was all about Fun, Learning and Sustainability

Nearly 500 people showed up at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills on the second Saturday of August to take part in the 16th annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm (BHF).  Another 100 presenters and volunteers were on hand offering 30 different educational activities and helping the day run smoothly. This annual festival provides a day of fun, exploration and learning about nature for families, a crucial step in making sure the next generation appreciates and strives to conserve our region’s natural resources.

An informal poll of kids found that almost every child had a different ‘favorite’ activity. Many loved the opportunity to be physically active outdoors — swinging on a rope swing, jumping between log stumps, or cutting a slice of pine log with a crosscut saw. Others loved the craft activities, like building a bee house out of hollow straws to make a home for native pollinators. Fishing in the BHF pond got the vote of one enthusiastic boy, who added that it would have been even better if he had caught a fish. Kids eagerly reported their favorite animals, such as the baby barn swallow chicks just learning to fly in the BHF barn, and the draft horses pulling logs out of the forest. One young girl nodded shyly at her mom’s suggestion that her favorite moment was probably when her grandpa, logger Larry Hersom, met the hay wagon during their hayride through the woods.

Conservation-minded choices were underlined this year with a big push from Branch Hill Farm to make the WWW Festival into a Zero Waste event, based on Green Building Certification Inc. Total Resource Use and Efficiency (GBCI TRUE) criteria. At the trash disposal station, trash ‘ambassadors’ made a game of which item goes into which receptacle.  They reported that kids loved it, adults appreciated it, and the size of the final landfill bag was ‘incredibly small compared to previous years’. Afterwards, all reused, recycled and discarded components were separately weighed and an unofficial calculation determined that the Zero Waste goal was achieved because 98% by weight was kept out of the landfill. Branch Hill Farm managing trustee Cynthia Wyatt was delighted, saying, “I’d like to thank Brian Balukonis for his expert help and thank all our Festival-goes who cooperated to help achieve Zero Waste at the 2018 WWW Festival! Conserving and recovering resources is a crucial part of keeping our environment clean and healthy for the benefit of all people, plants and animals.”

Outside expert volunteers like Balukonis and dozens of other volunteers play an essential role each year in putting on the WWW Festival.  They help with everything from setting out hay bales to teaching kids how to use a crosscut saw. MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren wants all volunteers to know how much they are appreciated. “So much of the Festival success depends on volunteers! We can’t thank you all enough, but we’ll show you a little bit of our gratitude at our upcoming Volunteer Appreciation Day in November. Stay tuned for details.”

The WWW Festival is MMRG’s biggest annual outreach event and also serves as a major fundraiser with proceeds supporting the organization’s land conservation and outreach missions. MMRG would like to express thanks to festival underwriters, D. F. Richard Energy, Siemon Company, and BHF/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust and to major festival sponsors, Philip Zaeder and Sylvia Thayer, the Hays-Dombrower Family, Norman Vetter Inc. Poured Foundations, Bruce and Jennifer Rich, S&S Plumbing and Heating, Henry and Junko Siemon, Carl and Beth Ann Siemon, and the Wyatt Family; to sponsors Dottie Bean, Charlie Moreno Consulting Forester, Devonshire Realty, Eastern Boats, EOS Research, Frank Massin Agency, Great East Lake Improvement Association, Gene Hays, Milton Veterinary Clinic, Profile Bank, Proulx Oil & Propane, Chuck and Annie Robbins, Beverly Siemon, and Wentworth Hunt Club; as well as to many more co-sponsors and supporters.

Moose Mountains Regional Greenway is a non-profit land trust serving Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro (see www.mmrg.info). Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust is a private operating foundation (see www.branchhillfarm.org).

 

A boy gets help sawing a pine log

A young girl learns to walk a log at ‘Nature’s Playground’

Tables fil the yard in front of the Branch Hill Farm barn for the 16th annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival

Girls run down the trail towards ‘Nature’s Playground’ in the woods, a favorite festival activity

Kids learn to fish in the Branch Hill Farm pond

MMRG Board member and Festival Volunteer Dan Coons helps families have fun learning in the ‘Mountain Man’s Mansion’

Squam Lakes Natural Science Cetner presents rescued wildlife at the WWWW Festival

 

 

Family-oriented Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on Saturday, August 11

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887
(603) 473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date submitted:  August 3, 2018

Family-oriented Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on Saturday, August 11

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways’ 16th Annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival will take place on Saturday, August 11 from 10 am to 3 pm at Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Road, Milton Mills, NH. This family-friendly celebration of the great outdoors provides children and adults an opportunity to enjoy, understand and appreciate the natural world, an essential part of MMRG’s goal to foster a conservation ethic in future generations.

The WWW Festival has an abundance of activities optimized for grandparents, parents and other family members to enjoy time outside with kids. For children, the emphasis is on having fun, exploring the outdoors and getting a close look at nature. Families get to watch and learn about rescued wild and barnyard animals or try fishing in the pond. Kids can take a discovery walk to find natural treasures in the woods, try out a logger’s crosscut saw, meet Smokey Bear, build a bee house for native pollinators, or swing on a rope swing in the woods. Families can also relax together on a hayride or while listening to Native American stories.

 

Learning opportunities targeted at adults include apple tree grafting and cider-making, beekeeping and collecting honey, low impact horse logging, using solar panels to generate electricity, landscaping for pollinators and wildlife, permaculture gardening and composting, tree identification, controlling invasive species, and more topics in forestry, agriculture, and sustainability. The live fiddle and guitar music is also a big attraction.

The festival takes place rain or shine. The cost is $5/person or $10/family and free to ages 12 and under; all events included; food concessions available. Rest rooms and most events are wheelchair accessible. No pets, please. For more information and a program of events, visit www.mmrg.info/festival.

MMRG is grateful to its festival underwriters, D.F. Richard Energy, the Siemon Company and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust. Moose Mountains Regional Greenways is a non-profit land trust serving Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro (see www.mmrg.info). Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust is a private operating foundation (see www.branchhillfarm.org).

 

Bee house building 2017

Crosscut saw closeup concentration WWW 2016 (David O’Connor)

Family nature walk WWW 2017 (Kate Wilcox)

Girl concentrating on sawing (Dave O)

Girl dipping for wildlife in the Salmon Falls River at WWW 2017 (Emily Lord)

Crowds in seating area WWW 2015 (Kate Wilcox)

Girls painting their tree cookies WWW 2017 (Kate Wilcox)

Kestrel shown at Squam Lakes Wildlife Workshop WWW 2017 (Kate Wilcox)

16th Annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival Features Fun for the Whole Family

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887
(603) 473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date submitted:  July 19, 2018

16th Annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival Features Fun for the Whole Family                                                                                                                      

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways’ 16th Annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival will take place on Saturday, August 11 from 10 am to 3 pm at Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Road, Milton Mills, NH. This day-long celebration of the great outdoors regularly attracts more than 600 participants who make the most of this chance for families to have fun, explore and learn about the natural world together.

MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren is excited about some new festival offerings this year. “I’m looking forward to hearing storyteller Anne Jennison, with her Native American tales of the natural world. And I can’t wait to sample some fresh local produce and pick up some recipes from Seacoast Eat Local! They also stock a bus full of information about local agriculture, the economy and the environment which will be part of our new Steps to Sustainability. Follow the carbon footprints to discover ways to reduce your impact on our local and global environments.”

The Festival offers many fun learning experiences for children. In Nature’s Playground, kids swing on a rope, jump between log stumps, climb on a treehouse, walk along a fallen log and find something new to play on each year. Children use a crosscut saw to cut a thin slice of a pine log, then decorate it in Tree Cookies/Kids’ Craft Corner.  Families test their observational skills to discover hidden treasures in the woods in the Kids Discover the Forest event. Build a Bee House provides materials and instruction for kids to make a house for native bees, using hollow plant stems, clay, and plant pots.

Animal and wildlife lovers have several opportunities to get up close and personal with a variety of creatures. Families observe and learn about rescued wildlife brought by Squam Lakes Natural Science Center; children use dip nets to look at creatures of the Salmon Falls River or borrow a pole and bait from NH Fish & Game to catch a fish from the farm pond. There are barnyard animals brought by 4H, Mitchell Logging draft horses to watch scooting logs, and animal pelts to touch in the Mountain Man’s Mansion.

Two different Hayrides run all day, giving everyone a choice and chance to ride. A Guided Family Forest Walk takes families on trails through the woods. The Permaculture Garden has meandering paths among raised beds of organic vegetables and is part of the Steps to Sustainability, as is Here Comes the Sun, a demonstration of solar panels by ReVision energy. Volunteers from the NH Farm Museum and local craftsmen and orchardists demonstrate traditional rural skills. The Moose Mountaineers will be back with their toe-tapping tunes on guitar and fiddle.

The festival takes place rain or shine. Homemade salads, desserts, hot grilled food, and cold smoothies will be on sale along with T-shirts and raffle baskets of local fresh produce and other items. Rest rooms and most events are wheelchair accessible. No pets, please. The cost is $5/person or $10/family and free to ages 12 and under and to MMRG members; all events are included in the admission price. For more information and a program of events, visit www.mmrg.info/festival.

Festival proceeds and business sponsorships support MMRG’s land conservation and educational outreach mission. MMRG is grateful to its festival underwriters, Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust, D. F. Richard Energy, and the Siemon Company, and would like to thank the following major sponsors:, the Hays-Dombrower Families, Norman Vetter Inc. Poured Foundations, Bruce and Jennifer Rich, S&S Plumbing and Heating LLC, Carl and Beth Ann Siemon, Hank and Junko Siemon, and the Wyatt Family.

Thanks also go to many more business, organizational, and individual sponsors and supporters and to the dedicated volunteers who have already signed up to help out. More volunteers are needed; please call Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at 603-978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info. Business sponsorships of festival events are still available; information is on a link from the festival webpage listed above.

Moose Mountains Regional Greenway is a non-profit land trust serving Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro (see www.mmrg.info). Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust is a private operating foundation (see www.branchhillfarm.org).

 

crowds in front of barn (David O’Connor)

Hayride (David O’Connor)

Acadia

Acadia

Planting a Pollinator Garden…Not So Hard!!

As part of Branch Hill Farm’s field management plan, we installed our first pollinator garden last year and have been enjoying the colorful blooms all spring.  We plan to install many more pollinator gardens along the edges of our fields to attract and sustain pollinators. Pollinators are critical in assisting 80% of the world’s flowering plants in their reproduction and include species of ants, bats, bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, flies, moths, and wasps.  Without pollinators to fertilize many of our fruits and vegetables, people and wildlife would not have much eat, and we would be deprived of the flowering plants’ beauty and fragrance.

Here are the tips we received from UNH Cooperative Extension to install a pollinator garden:  Cover a manageable area (18’ by 20’) with heavy duty black plastic in the early spring. (Save the plastic for your next garden.) The plastic kills the grass and the heat of the sun kills most of the seeds.  Remove the plastic in late September and rake up the dead grass and rough up the soil. UNHCE recommended using a mix of native perennial wildflowers and grasses. I planted ¼ lb. of the Bee Feed Mix from Johnny’s Selected Seeds and ¼ lb. of All Perennial Wildflower Seed Mix from Vermont Wildflower Farm and mixed them with ½ lb. of native grasses recommended by UNHCE.  After spreading the seed, we covered with straw mulch and watered when dry.

The picture is worth a thousand words. Visit Branch Hill Farm for the WWW Festival on August 11th and learn firsthand from UNHCE professionals about pollinator gardens and many things pertaining to New England woods, wildlife and water.

Cynthia Wyatt

Manager of Branch Hill Farm and MMRG Board Member

 

UNH Cooperative Extension Forestry and Wildlife Program Visits BHF

UNH Cooperative Extension Forestry and Wildlife Program published this post to their Facebook page:

At our staff meeting last week, the Forestry & Wildlife staff visited Branch Hill Farm in Milton with Charlie Moreno, the forester for this piece of the property. Charlie told us that historically this site was heavily cut, and repeatedly. What he found when he started working on the property almost 10 years ago was a lack of diversity. Beech had overtaken much of the understory. He’s been working since to bring back more pine, oak and other species. Beech is great for wildlife, but more diversity of food options is better!

 

Charlie describes the property and the work that’s been done so far.

Some pine saplings were planted, while others have naturally regenerated.

Can you find all the foresters in this thicket of beech?

Charlie and a sugar maple

Paddlers invited to annual Branch River Paddle with Moose Mountains Regional Greenways on May 26

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH 03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 8, 2017

Paddlers invited to annual Branch River Paddle with Moose Mountains Regional Greenways on May 26

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (BHF/CSFCT) are teaming up once again to offer canoe and kayak enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy a group paddle of the pristine Branch River in Milton Mills, NH. The event will take place 10 am – 2 pm on Saturday, May 26. It features a 4-mile scenic trip along the conserved banks of the Branch River to the upper end of Milton Three Ponds. Participants and their boats will be transported back to the launch site, where a picnic lunch by Chef Gracie will be provided.

Colin Lawson of Trout Unlimited (TU) will be this year’s guest presenter. Lawson has a Masters in Environmental Science from Antioch New England University and works as the New England Culvert Project Coordinator for TU. His focus is to reconnect Eastern brook trout habitat in priority New England watersheds through the retrofitting or removal of currently impassable road stream crossings and other instream barriers. At the Paddle, Lawson will talk about fish habitats and the process of reconnecting streams such as the Branch and Salmon Falls Rivers so fish can access upstream cold waters and places to spawn. He’ll also address the vulnerability of undersized dams and culverts during so-called ‘100-year’ storms and the consequences of the resulting floods.

Paddle stops along the way give paddlers a chance to learn more about and appreciate these environs. In particular, the lush wetland area near the confluence of the Branch and Salmon Falls Rivers is a prime birdwatching spot for riparian species. Paddlers are encouraged to bring binoculars to enjoy possible sightings of kingfishers, yellow warblers, Baltimore orioles, osprey and more.

Paddlers should bring their own kayaks or canoes and wear US Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices. Children should be 12 years or older and accompanied by an adult. This event is extremely popular and spaces are limited, so early registration is advised. All reservations must be made by the morning of Thursday, May 24; contact MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at 603-978-7125 or info@mmrg.info with your name, phone number, and the number of people who will attend. A $15 per person donation is suggested and may be made at the event or online at MMRG’s website, www.mmrg.info. There is no rain date and participants are requested to leave pets at home.

MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land in Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Throughout the year, MMRG offers many educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources. Branch Hill Farm/CSFCT is a private operating foundation whose mission is to conserve land, produce quality timber products, and educate people about sound forestry practices and conservation. For more information, visit www.branchhillfarm.org. MMRG would like to thank the business co-sponsor of this event, M&M Boat Storage in Wakefield.

 

Kate Wilcox Branch River-38

Colin Lawson

Jared Kane demonstrates grafting techniques to MMRG’s Grafting Workshop participants in the barn at Branch Hill Farm.(Kari Lygren)

 

Apple Tree Grafting Workshop Attracts Loads of Apple Lovers

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: 4/19/2018

 Apple Tree Grafting Workshop Attracts Loads of Apple Lovers

The recent first-ever Apple Tree Grafting Workshop offered by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) was record-breaking in its popularity. With hands-on participants capped at twenty, the registration list filled up a month early, and another forty were on a waiting list hoping to come and learn to graft their own tree, ten of whom decided to attend just the introductory slide presentations on pruning and grafting. The class was hosted and co-sponsored by Branch Hill Farm and taught by Jared Kane, owner of Jug Hill Orchards in Milton Mills.

Kane, who grows cider specific apples and has won national awards for his hard cider, is knowledgeable about all things related to apple trees and apples. Jill Vendituoli, a workshop participant from West Newfield, ME and an apple cider enthusiast, and was thrilled to attend and learn from Kane. An experienced orchardist herself with 35 apple trees, she thought Kane provided lots of good information about how to bring back an old neglected orchard. After the workshop, she fluently summed up the basic principles of pruning. “The whole idea is to let light into the trees and keep air flowing. Jared told us an old saying as a rule of thumb, ‘You want to be able to throw a cat through the branches.’ So don’t be afraid to prune, but don’t take off more than 30% at a time.”

Vendituoli was particularly interested in getting a refresher on grafting, the focus of the second half of the workshop. Participants were given a root stock of a variety of Russian apple tree, which is very hardy and can withstand the cold NH climate, and were offered a scion (a branch that gets grafted onto the rootstock) taken from an old local heirloom apple. Most people learned the tongue and whip technique of grafting, done on scions of the same diameter branch as the root stock stem, matching up the cambium along one edge.

Mikel O’Brien of Union, NH learned to graft her own small tree, which is now in her basement. Although grafted trees may become sturdier and more disease resistant than native trees, newly-grafted trees are quite fragile for about a year. O’Brien recited the care her new tree will take. After 2 weeks of ‘nursery time’ in the basement, she’ll put it in a semi-shady spot and keep it watered, buy a crabapple tree to pollinate it, and plant them both next fall, being sure to protect them from nibbling creatures over the winter. She quipped, “I feel like I’m having a baby! Right now it just look like a stick wrapped with tape in a pot. But I’m optimistic that it’ll become a real tree. And the workshop was fun! I’d like to have a reunion next year to see how everyone’s trees are doing.”

MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren was equally enthusiastic. “The workshop was phenomenal and we’re delighted there’s so much local interest in apple trees. MMRG supports local agriculture so given the popularity of this workshop, a repeat next year sounds like an excellent idea.”

MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.mmrg.info.  Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org.

 

MMRG workshop participants work on grafting their own small apple tree (Sharon Buttirck)

MMRG workshop participants examine a scion to graft to root stock (Amy Gardner)

Jug Hill Cider Orchard owner Jared Kane presents information on grafting and pruning apple trees to workshop attendees in the barn at Branch Hill farm. (Kari Lygren)

 

MMRG’s Apple Tree Grafting Workshop set for April 14

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH 03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 3/20/2018

MMRG’s Apple Tree Grafting Workshop set for April 14

On Saturday, April 14, Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust will offer an apple tree grafting class from 10 am to 12 pm at the barn at Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Road in Milton Mills. The class will be taught by Jared Kane, owner of Jug Hill Orchards, and will take place rain or shine.

Jared Kane started his own cider specific apple orchard in Milton Mills and has won national awards for his hard cider. For this workshop, Kane will teach the art of grafting apple trees and the basics of pruning and care. The workshop will include an introductory slide presentation as well as hands-on training. By the end of the class, each person will have completed grafting their own small apple tree to take home in a pot, with a scion collected from an heirloom tree that bears excellent apples for fresh eating or cider. If time and weather permit, the class will take a short walk to see some wild apple trees growing at Branch Hill Farm.

The workshop cost is $10 to cover supplies. Pre-registration is required by April 11 and earlier registration is advised since class size is limited to twenty. To pre-register, call MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at (603) 978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info.

MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land in Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Throughout the year, MMRG offers many educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.mmrg.info. Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org.

Jared Kane at favorite apple tree

‘Little Trackers’ Offered Fun and Learning for Families

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH 03887
603-473-2020
info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 2/27/2018

‘Little Trackers’ Offered Fun and Learning for Families

Kids love to learn about animals and they love to have fun in the snow. They got to do both at the recent ‘Little Trackers’ outing sponsored by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust. This event was the second in MMRG’s new ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ program of activities that creates opportunities for families to enjoy the outdoors together while learning about nature, in order to foster future generations of conservationists.

Coverts volunteers Emily Lord of UNH Cooperative Extension and Middleton Pastor Tom Gardner planned a variety of activities to keep kids interested and having fun as they explored the snowy field and woods at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills. Kids went sledding, tried out walking in snowshoes, and crowded around the leaders as they pointed out signs of wildlife on a trail leading down to the river.

Turkey tracks, coyote tracks, and possible skunk and fox tracks were all discovered. Kids learned to compare the tracks in the snow to the footprints pictured on tracking ID cards that were handed out. They also learned that wildlife scat, better known as ‘poop’, could be examined (poked at with a stick) to find out what the animal had been eating and identify the creature that left it. Coyotes, for example, often eat small rodents and leave scat filled with bones and fur on top of a rock or in the middle of a trail to mark their territory.

At the edge of the woods, kids stood still and listened intently after Emily Lord whispered for quiet. Upon the approach from field to forest, she had started to hear sounds of birds and wanted the children to notice them. Among the bird songs, the ‘dee-dee-dee’ call of Chickadees was familiar and successfully identified by one young participant.

Tom Gardner delighted kids with his ‘discovery’ of a pile of pretend deer poop (planted in advance) consisting of raisinets that looked uncannily like the real thing. After clear instructions that they should never eat real deer scat, kids followed Gardner’s lead and happily popped some into their mouths.

At the end of the outing, almost-4-year-old Caleb, son of Tom and Amy Gardner, proclaimed “I like coming here.” When asked what he saw, he remembered the turkey tracks and pointed them out on his tracking card.

An East Wakefield family of five were newcomers to the ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ program. The mother of three was enthusiastic, saying, “I’m always looking for family activities and I was happy to find these events. My 6-year-old twins really liked snowshoeing; it was a great chance for them to try it out today with the loaner snowshoes.”

‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ stands for Members Only Outdoor and Social Events for Families and the program of six ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ activities per year is free for MMRG members. Membership is $25 per household per year. Other 2018 upcoming events are: ‘Ponding with Sally Cornwell’ on May 19, ‘Rail Trail Scavenger Hunt’ on June 23, the 16th annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on August 11, and ‘Family Moonlight Walk’ on September 22. Scholarships are available; call Executive Director Patti Connaughton-Burns at (603) 473-2020 to inquire.

MMRG is a non-profit land trust educational outreach organization; see www.mmrg.info. Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org.

 

Sledding on hill 3

Chocolate coated rasins pretend deer poop

Discovery on the trail (Amy gardner)

Looking at poop

Looking at tracks