Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival: A Day of Fun and Learning

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

Submitted: August 19, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival: A Day of Fun and Learning

Attendees, volunteers, and presenters were all smiles by the end of the 17th annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills, held on a beautiful Saturday in August. This annual festival is presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm (BHF) as a day for families to connect with nature, helping ensure that the next generation appreciates and strives to conserve the region’s natural resources.

 

An informal poll of what kids had learned that day elicited a common animal theme.  Recounted one smart young girl, “I learned that skunks can spray six times and then they have to wait ten days.” Fascinating facts like this were presented during the ‘Wildlife Workshop’ offered by Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, where Center staff showed a rescued owl, skunk, and opossum and discussed their habits. Other children were captivated by what they learned from Athena’s Bees, which displayed a hive made from a white pine column, simulating a tree. Reported one child, “Bees huddle up in their nest during the winter like penguins and eat their honey.” A Horseshoe crab shell provided by naturalist Jon Batson, a snake to hold from the Funny Farm, as well as the chickens, goats and a miniature horse brought by 4H for kids to pet were also popular.

 

Children had many opportunities to get physically active, engage with nature and make things. One little girl caught six fish while fishing in the Branch Hill Farm pond. Volunteer instructors from NH Fish & game were on hand to lend poles and bait and fishing advice. Down at the Salmon Falls River (one of the hayride destinations), kids used dip nets to look for water creatures. Dozens of families tried out the self-guided treasure hunt called ‘Kids Discover the Forest’ and the green gym in the woods called ‘Nature’s Playground’. Children  jumped at the chance to use a crosscut saw to cut a ‘Tree Cookie’ (slice of pine log) and decorate it, they inserted  hollow day lily stems into a recycled milk carton to make a home for wild pollinators at the ‘Build a Bee House’ activity, and learned to make cork boats with Acton Wakefeld Watersheds Alliance. Both toddlers and older kids played at gardening, digging and carrying dirt in wheelbarrows alongside Sheehan Gardens Permaculture Garden, where everyone delighted in samples of Mexican sour gherkins, a small round cucumber.

 

In addition to being MMRG’s biggest yearly outreach event, the WWW Festival also serves as the organization’s leading annual fundraiser, with proceeds supporting its land conservation and outreach missions. MMRG is grateful to festival underwriters, BHF/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust, Siemon Company, and D. F. Richard Energy, and to major festival sponsors, the Hays Dombrower Family, Peter & Susan Goodwin, Norman Vetter Inc. Poured Foundations, Bruce & Jennifer Rich, S&S Plumbing & Heating, LLC, Carl & Beth Ann Siemon, Henry and Junko Siemon, the Wyatt Family, and Philip Zaeder & Sylvia Thayer, as well as to many more sponsors, 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).

 

Branch Hill Farm is the venue for the Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival each year; photo by Kate Wilcox

Fishing in the Branch Hill Farm pond is a favorite activity at MMRG’s annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival; photo by Kate Wilcox

Kids love playing in the dirt at the Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival; photo by Kate Wilcox

Mother and child build a bee house out of hollow day lily stems. Mount the house horizontally for native pollinators to live in; photo by Kate Wilcox

Family-friendly Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on Saturday, August 10

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date submitted:  August 1, 2019

Family-friendly Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on Saturday, August 10                                                                                                          

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways and Branch Hill Farm will present the 17th Annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on Saturday, August 10 from 10 am to 3 pm at Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Road in 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 abundance of activities are available for grandparents, parents and other family members to enjoy time outside with kids, with an emphasis on having fun, exploring and getting a close look at nature. Families get to watch rescued wild animals and learn about their habits, try fishing in the pond, or take a hayride to the Salmon Falls River. Kids can venture on a discovery walk to find natural treasures in the woods, try out a logger’s crosscut saw, meet Sunsquatch and Smokey Bear, build a bee house for native pollinators, or swing on a rope swing in the woods.

There’s lots to learn for adults too, with demonstrations and information on permaculture gardening, apple tree grafting and cider-making, beekeeping and collecting honey, low impact horse logging, food composting, solar power, landscaping for pollinators and wildlife, controlling invasive species, and more topics in forestry, agriculture, and sustainability. Live fiddle and guitar music is also a big attraction.

The festival takes place rain or shine. Admission 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. A program of the day’s activities is at www.mmrg.info/festival.

 

Larry Hersom meets hayride (Photo by Jenn McKown)

Kids digging (Photo by Bonnie Dodge)

Families in haywagon (Photo by Jenn McKown)

Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival: A Day of Family Fun and Learning

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways

Box 191, Union, NH  03887

(603) 473-2020

info@mmrg.info

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date submitted:  July 23, 2019

 

Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival: A Day of Family Fun and Learning

The 17th 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.

Jocelyn Smith, a native of Milton Mills, has been attending the festival for many years with her son Cameron. She enjoys visiting all the different Festival events and couldn’t choose just one favorite. But eight-year-old Cameron was decisive about his favorite activity: ‘fishing!’ He has hung on to his Festival fishing ‘license’ and wants to try again this year to catch a fish.

Cameron also likes the ‘lumberjack event’, where he gets to use a crosscut saw to cut a piece of pine log. Some kids choose to paint their pine log tree cookies in the Tree Cookie/Craft Corner but Cameron prefers his as ‘natural wood’ and he uses it at home as a cup holder. He likes the treasure hunt called Kids Discover the Forest as well as Natures Playground where he gets to play on swings or tree stumps in the woods. When asked what he has learned at the Festival, he responded, “People shouldn’t take straws at restaurants” after finding out at the Zero Waste Initiative last year that plastic straws are not recyclable.

MMRG Educational Outreach Coordinator Kari Lygren encourages people to check out the new Festival educational offerings this year. “Come learn about composting made easier at Mr. Fox Composting.  Get an introduction to raised beds for Permaculture Gardening from Sheehan Gardens. At Here Comes the Sun from Revision Energy, discover the potential of solar panels and meet Sunsquatch, who’s on a mission to spread solar power to schools.”

Lygren is also excited about the return of All About Apples, at which Branch Hill Farm and Jug Hill Cider Orchard will announce the start of a Regional Heritage Orchard in the ‘hayride’ field across from the barn. Orchardist Jared Kane explains, “This holistic preservation orchard will preserve important biological diversity and provide a site for educational workshops and sustainable orcharding practices. We plan to add over 100 traditional varieties of apples and pears as well as newly-discovered wild varieties selected for their eating, cooking, or cider attributes.  Do you have an old apple or pear tree on your property? It could qualify for being cloned and included in our Orchard.  Please come to All About Apples to learn more!”

Homemade salads, hot grilled food, ice cream, and blueberry smoothies will be on sale along with T-shirts and raffle baskets of local fresh produce and other items. The festival takes place rain or shine. No pets please. Rest rooms and most events are wheelchair accessible. The cost is $5/person or $10/family; free for ages 12 and under; all events included in the admission price. 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, the Siemon Company, and D. F. Richard Energy and to its early major sponsors, the Hays Dombrower Family, Peter and Susan Goodwin, Norman Vetter Inc. Poured Foundations, Bruce and Jennifer Rich, Carl and Beth Ann Siemon, the Wyatt Family, and Philip Zaeder and Sylvia Thayer. Thanks are due to many more businesses, organizations, and individual sponsors, co-sponsors and supporters and to numerous dedicated volunteers. More volunteers as well as business sponsors are needed! For more information, call 603-978-7125, email info@mmrg.info or visit www.mmrg.info/festival to see a Festival program of events.

 

Cameron Smith and his father take a turn with the crosscut saw to cut a ‘tree cookie’ from a pine log at the 2018 Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival. Photo by Jocelyn Smith.

Nature’s Playground at the Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival fetures a swing, hammock, a log to walk on, stumps to hop, and more outdoor play opportunities. Photo by David O’Connor

Poles and bait are available at the Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival for kids to try fishing in the Branch Hill Farm pond. Photo by David O’Connor. 

Poles and bait are available at the Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival for kids to try fishing in the Branch Hill Farm pond. Photo by David O’Connor.

Save the Date! Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on August 10

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways

Box 191, Union, NH  03887

(603) 473-2020

info@mmrg.info

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: please publish last week of June, if possible

Date:  June 21, 2019

Save the Date! Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on August 10                                                                                                                       

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm will present the 17th annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival on Saturday, August 10 from 10 am to 3 pm at Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Road, Milton Mills, NH. This popular celebration of New Hampshire’s natural world and rural life is an opportunity for families to get outside and have fun together.

The festival name, Woods, Water & Wildlife,  sums up the themes of many of the interactive events on offer. Volunteer instructors from NH Fish & Game provide poles and bait to kids for Let’s Go Fishing in the Branch Hill Farm Pond! Nature experts display and teach about rescued wild animals at Squam Lakes Wildlife Workshop. Junior Ecologist Hayrides stop at the scenic Salmon Falls River for a lesson about the importance of keeping our stream water clean for people and for animals. Nature’s Playground is a green gym for kids set among the ferns and tall trees. The Mountain Man’s Mansion has a stack of fur pelts to identify and feel. A MOOSE-ies for Families: Orienteering Walk provides a fun learning adventure in the woods of Branch Hill Farm. The Low Impact Horse Logging demonstration teaches about forestry principles and is fascinating to watch.

Agriculture, crafts and rural life in New Hampshire are additional themes. Sheehan Gardens’ Permaculture Garden grows numerous heirloom vegetables and herbs and shows how to do backyard composting. 4H Comes to the Festival! brings educational and motivational activities such as animal husbandry and leadership programs for kids ages 5 to 18. Funny Farm rescued animals are fun to pet and feed. Jared Kane of Jug Hill Orchards discusses grafting and cider-making in All About Apples! Kids get creative in the Tree Cookie Craft Corner or can try building their own bee house of natural materials.  Many more favorite events will be back this year and new ones are being planned.

Homemade salads, hot grilled food, ice cream, and blueberry smoothies will be on sale along with T-shirts and raffle baskets of local fresh produce and other items. The festival takes place rain or shine. No pets please. Rest rooms and most events are wheelchair accessible. The cost is $5/person or $10/family; free for ages 12 and under and MMRG members; all events are included in the admission price. Proceeds and business sponsorships support MMRG’s land conservation and educational outreach mission.

MMRG is grateful to its festival underwriters, the Siemon Company, Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust, and D. F. Richard Energy and to its early major sponsors, Norman Vetter Inc. Poured Foundations, Carl and Beth Ann Siemon, the Wyatt Family, and Philip Zaeder and Sylvia Thayer. Thanks are due to many more business, organizational, and individual sponsors, co-sponsors and supporters and to the dedicated volunteers who have already signed up to help out. More volunteers as well as business sponsors are needed! For more information, call 603-978-7125, email info@mmrg.info or visit www.mmrg.info/festival.

Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills is the venue of the annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival, presented with Moose Mountains Regional Greenways.

Poles and bait are available for kids to try fishing in the Branch Hill Farm pond

Nature experts from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center fascinate adults and kids with rescued wild New England creatures and discussions of their habitat.

 

 ‘Moose Mountains Trail Race’ got enthusiastic response

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

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Date: 6/8/2019

 

 ‘Moose Mountains Trail Race’ got enthusiastic response

 

The first annual Moose Mountains Trail Race took place on June 1 at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills, NH with an enthusiastic assortment of runners eager to try out a new scenic 10K course. The Trail Race organizing committee was pleased with the turnout of 26 participants for the first iteration of this fundraiser benefiting Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG).

 

The first place male finisher was 24-year-old top regional runner Cameron Cook of Dover, NH who finished the 10K course with a time of 37:39.  The top female winner was another experienced racer from Dover, Deanna Ruland, at 54:15. Participants ranged in age from thirteen to sixty, with times up to 1:45:30.

 

Locals who ran the race include Jonathan Miller (Sanbornville; 40:21), Jason Denver (Sanbornville; 42:26),  Deborah Miller (Sanbornville; 54:45),  Julie Andrews (Wolfeboro; 55:17), Barbara Malm (Sanbornville; 56:14), Thomas Zotti (Wolfeboro; 59:09), Paul Haines (Wolfeboro; 1:05:51),  Kaylie Tek (Wolfeboro; 1:11:7), and Kelly Colby (Milton; 1:14:24).

 

There was much enthusiasm expressed by racers for the event as a whole and for the race course,  which traversed fields and woods roads, with one particularly scenic section following the Branch River. Kaylie Tek remarked that “the event was very well organized and the course was beautiful.”  Others commented “thanks for the great event!” and “loved it!”

 

MMRG Board Chair Nicole Csiszer volunteered at the race and expressed appreciation for the many people who helped out, saying “There was a bunch of really good volunteers who showed up early and braved mosquitoes, wet grass and mud to help make the event run smoothly. Sarah Canney in particular did a great job overseeing the race and taking charge of the registration and timing.”

 

The Moose Mountains Trail Race was presented by land trust Moose Mountains Regional Greenways in partnership with Branch Hill Farm (BHF), on a route traversing conservation land owned by BHF, a portion of which is open to the public year-round – the Siemon Access property on Applebee Road. The event will help raise funds to create a continuous regional greenway, connecting existing pathways and developing new trail systems to increase recreational opportunities in the Moose Mountains region. Topo Athletics donated the winners’ athletic shoes prizes; Cabot Cheese, Darn Tough, Grandy Oats and LL Bean donated other prizes; Trager Massage and the Pink House donated food items and ice cream certificates.

 

They’re off! (photo- Dan Coons)

Winner Cameron Cook out front from the start (photo- Dan Coons

Cameron Cook winner (photo – Kari Lygren)

Branch River Paddlers enjoyed the day and learned about stream ecology

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways

Box 191, Union, NH  03887

603-473-2020

info@mmrg.info

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Submission Date:  5/31/2019 

Branch River Paddlers enjoyed the day and learned about stream ecology

On Memorial Day weekend, approximate forty paddlers turned out for an opportunity to glide down the lovely winding Branch River in Milton Mills while enjoying sightings of wildlife and basking in the sunshine of one of the first warm days of the season. The Branch River Paddle is offered annually by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (CSFCT).

Colin Lawson and Joel DeStasio of Trout Unlimited were guest presenters. The two work to restore Eastern brook trout habitat in key New England watersheds and were a wealth of information about stream ecology.

Lawson pointed out that while all the fish species seen that day were warm water species (bass, sunfish, shiners, and fallfish, including pebble nests), the significant amount of undeveloped and protected landscape along the Branch River means that there is likely cold groundwater influence on the river. In forested land, where rain water can sink slowly into the soil rather than running off the surface, the water cools and adds to the groundwater resource. He also talked about how healthy river systems require unimpeded flow and the importance of installing the correct size infrastructure, such as culverts, under roads or other stream crossings.

DeStasio called attention to large-wood structures present at different locations along the river, which resulted from natural processes of trees falling and jamming as they floated downstream, so that they are now secure during high flows. He explained the habitat benefits for fish of such instream wood, including refuge from predators, the development of deep scour pools, and relief from higher velocity flows.

Paddlers were delighted to spot a mother mallard duck and her many fuzzy-looking chicks in the reeds at the edge of the stream and bright yellow marsh marigolds on the river banks. One father and son team energetically scooped up an old tire and other trash into their canoe, greatly appreciated by those who live along the Branch River. Another young man couldn’t resist trying out a rope swing hanging over the water.

After the Paddle, local Governor’s Inn owner and paddling enthusiast Herman Ejarque expressed his pleasure. “We really enjoyed the Paddle! A very well planned and organized event. The Branch River is beautiful and it was a fun day. Count us in next year!”

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; see www.mmrg.info. MMRG thanks business sponsor of this event, M&M Boat Storage of Sanbornville.

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.

 

Photo taken by Amy Gardner

Mallard duck and chicks – Photo taken by Amy Gardner

Photo taken by Amy Gardner

Weeds in current – Photo taken by Amy Gardner

 

‘Moose Mountains Trail Race’ on June 1 for the whole family

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887

603-473-2020

info@mmrg.info

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Date: 5/3/2019

 ‘Moose Mountains Trail Race’ on June 1 for the whole family

A new local trail race for the whole family, the first Moose Mountains Trail Race, will take place on Saturday morning, June 1 at Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Road, Milton Mills, NH. A 10K Trail Race starting at 9 am will be immediately followed by a Kids K around 10 am. Volunteer opportunities are plentiful for those eager to participate in ways other than racing.

The 10K Trail Race traverses a loop course of woods roads appropriate for both seasoned and beginning trail runners. Volunteer race assistant Sarah Canney, an avid trail runner and champion racer, encourages runners of all experience levels to come try it out. “Test your mettle against the woods roads of rural New Hampshire! Are you bored with your usual route or tired of treadmills? This course has winding trails, moderate elevation change and unique features like an active beaver pond. The race promises fun and a supportive atmosphere for all. Whether it’s your first time competing on woods trails, or you want an experience for the whole family, or you’re here for a warmup race and a high energy way to start your day, please join us for the first annual Moose Mountains Trail Race.”

The Kids K immediately following the 10K Trail Race gives a chance for the whole family to participate in this fundraiser. During the 10K, children can try out the 1K fun run course or explore ‘Nature’s Playground’ in the Branch Hill Farm woods, under adult supervision.

10K Trail Race registration is $25 in advance or $35 on race day. Awards will be presented to the top 3 finishers in each gender and 10-year age groups, as well as to overall winners. Kids K registration is $5 and all children who finish their race will receive small prizes. Advance online registration is available at www.mmrg.info/moose-mountains-trail-race/. Race registrants may order exclusive race T-shirts with the Moose Mountains Trail Race logo for $12 from Calico Graphics, with a pre-order deadline of May 24. A post-race party will feature complimentary food for racers; food trucks will also be available.

The Moose Mountains Trail Race is presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) in partnership with Branch Hill Farm (BHF) on BHF’s private conservation land. The event will help raise funds to create a continuous regional greenway, connecting existing pathways and developing new trail systems to increase recreational opportunities in the Moose Mountains region.

Volunteers are needed in many capacities to help the race run smoothly and make it a successful fundraiser. Help will be needed with parking, registration, road crossing safety, directing and timing racers, water stops, food, cleanup and recycling for the BHF Zero Waste Initiative. Interested volunteers may contact MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at 603-978-7125 or info@mmrg.info. MMRG is grateful for the time and effort donated by volunteers and holds a Volunteer Appreciation event each year.

 

Sarah Canney running

Boys running at MMRG family activity (photo by Emily Lord)

 

Paddlers invited to annual Branch River Paddle with Moose Mountains Regional Greenways on May 25

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways

Box 191, Union, NH  03887

603-473-2020

info@mmrg.info

 

Paddlers invited to annual Branch River Paddle

with Moose Mountains Regional Greenways on May 25

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. This 4-mile paddle along the scenic and winding Branch River will take place from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, May 25. Participants and their boats will be transported back from the upper end of Milton Three Ponds to the launch site for a complimentary picnic lunch.

Colin Lawson and Joel DeStasio of Trout Unlimited (TU) will be guest presenters. Lawson has a Masters degree in Environmental Science and is the Project Coordinator for TU’s New England Culvert Project, the purpose of which is to restore Eastern brook trout habitat in key New England watersheds, where currently degraded or poorly engineered road stream crossings constitute impassable barriers to trout. DeStasio has a B.S. in Environmental Science and as serves TU’s Habitat Restoration Field Manager.

At the Paddle, Lawson will talk about fish habitats and the process of reconnecting streams 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 their potentially devastating consequences. DeStasio will discuss the goals and process of restoring stream habitats for freshwater fish and describe some recently completed restoration projects in New England.

MMRG Board member Art Slocum is one of many Paddle devotees. Slocum explains, “My wife and I have only missed one Branch River Paddle in the last ten years because we love paddling through the quiet woods in springtime.” Birdwatchers are also keen on this event; 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 23; 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 at the event is suggested. 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; see www.mmrg.info. 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.

 

Colin Lawson

Joel DeStasio

Branch River (Photo: Kate Wilcox )

Branch River (Photo: Kate Wilcox )

 

 

 

Chris Schadler’s talk on coyotes attracts standing room only crowd

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: March 14, 2019

Chris Schadler’s talk on coyotes attracts standing room only crowd

Conservation biologist Chris Schadler spoke about ‘The Real Eastern Coyote’ to a standing-room-only crowd of more than 70 at the Middleton Town Hall on a rainy Sunday afternoon in March. This free public presentation was co-sponsored by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (BHF/CSFCT).

A canid expert with 30 years of wolf and coyote research, Schadler is the NH representative of Project Coyote and a co-founder of the NH Wildlife Coalition, which fosters co-existence with coyotes and more generally advocates for responsible conservation of predator species. In accord with her experience, Schadler presented copious information about eastern coyotes, a widespread but commonly maligned species throughout New Hampshire.

Coyotes are not native to New England. This highly adaptive animal migrated from the western U.S. to our area in the middle of the 20th century, filling the void left by the extirpation of wolves. Eastern coyotes are hybridized with red wolves and larger than their western coyote relatives but smaller than wolves, having have bigger ears and longer tails.

Schadler emphasized that coyotes play a valuable natural role and provide ecosystem services. Although their diet is very adaptable, they frequently hunt smaller predators, including raccoons and foxes, which benefits populations of ground birds such as quail and waterfowl. Coyotes also consume carcasses and keep rodents in check, which helps control ticks and associated diseases. As with any predator, coyotes cull out the sick, which benefits the health of the prey species population.

Although it is common for farmers or pet owners to claim they need to kill coyotes to protect their animals, Schadler asserted that it is possible for us to co-exist with coyotes. Keeping in mind that coyotes hunt both day and night, preventive measures, such as electric fencing, leashing pets, and denying access to pet or bird food, are effective if used consistently. In contrast, killing one or more of a dominant coyote pair will disrupt the family structure, disperse the pack, and cause an increase in the coyote population and the number of coyote attacks. Left intact, the pack’s population is self-regulating based on availability of food and habitat. Only the dominant monogamous pair will reproduce, an average of 4 to 6 pups with 50% natural attrition of the litter.

April and May are when coyotes birth their pups, during which time a dominant male guarding the den may be particularly testy. Schadler advised that if a snarling coyote is encountered, “Stay calm and retreat slowly and quietly.” On the other hand, the sound of coyotes howling should not worry humans; it generally means that pack is being called in.

The take-away message from Schadler’s presentation was that the eastern coyote is a desirable predator species in our ecosystem and does not deserve its current status as the most persecuted carnivore in NH. The complete lack of restrictions on killing coyotes by any method and the common practice of killing contests were obvious sources of distress to Schadler, who devotes much effort to increasing public understanding of and respect for this unique species.

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.

 

A full room listening to Chirs Schadler (Photo by Jeff Tarbox)

Chris showing slide of coyote family howling (photo by Katharine Cundill)

Chris Schadler taking quesitons from the crowd (photo by Cynthia Wyatt)

Apple Tree Grafting Workshops on April 13

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:3/29/2019

Apple Tree Grafting Workshops on April 13

On Saturday, April 13, Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust will offer two apple tree grafting classes: 10 am — 12 pm and 1 — 3 pm. The classes will take place rain or shine in the barn at Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Road in Milton Mills. Jared Kane, owner of Jug Hill Orchards, is the instructor.

Kane taught the same popular workshop last year. He is the owner of a cider specific apple orchard in Milton Mills and has won national awards for his hard cider. For these workshops, Kane will teach the art of grafting apple trees and the basics of pruning and care. The workshops 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, using a scion (living shoot) collected from one of several varieties of local trees. 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 10 and earlier registration is advised since each 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 (center) demonstrates grafting techniques