Volunteers already preparing for this year’s Woods, Water & wildlife Festival

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:  June 28, 2017

A new permaculture garden installation at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills got many helping hands as volunteers started preparing for the 15th annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm. MMRG is now seeking more helpers to assist with preparations and at the Festival on Saturday, August 12 at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills.

Amy Gardner and her two young sons were among the volunteers helping transplant vegetables into new permaculture raised beds built by Sheehan Gardens, an heirloom vegetable business in Milton Mills. Amy remarked afterwards, “As a mom, I appreciated the opportunity to get kids involved in gardening. They dug holes, mixed in compost, and had fun planting. Anytime you put kids and dirt together, it’s a happy combination! Thomas (age 5) came to life planting melons into the prepared mounds; he did an awesome job patting the soil carefully around the delicate melon roots. And of course they enjoyed the free lemonade and cider donuts for volunteers!”

Prue Thresher, a first-time volunteer for MMRG, enjoyed meeting others involved with the organization while planting, mulching, and watering the new gardens. Sheehan Lygren, co-owner of Sheehan Gardens, was pleased at what the helpers had accomplished in a few short hours. And MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren praised their efforts. “They all worked really hard and did a great job. And I think they appreciated getting to take home a couple heirloom veggie plants from Sheehan Gardens as a token of our thanks.”

More help is needed to finish the permaculture garden, including building, planting and mulching a few more raised beds. Call Sheehan Lygren directly at 603-828-9343 to volunteer spontaneously on a convenient day.

2017 WWW Festival volunteers will be organized once again by Cheryl Giguere in coordination with Education Coordinator Lygren. Giguere, a dedicated MMRG volunteer herself, serves in many capacities at the organization and was recognized at MMRG’s Annual Meeting in April as MMRG’s ‘Volunteer of the Year’. Giguere says the Festival is her favorite volunteer job. “Especially now that I’m a new grandmother, I’ve become even more aware of the need to teach youth about taking care of wildlife and nature. I believe in everything that MMRG stands for and the Festival is one place we do that for children. I hope my grandson will come up for the Festival on August 12. We make a point of giving Festival volunteers time to go to the day’s activities, so I want to take him on a Hayride or to ‘Let’s Go Fishing’.

Many Festival volunteers are needed to pitch in on festival day, Saturday, August 12, or to help set up on Friday, August 11. Volunteers can set up hay bales, tents, and tables, assist with parking cars, sell food and raffle tickets, help kids have fun with crafts and other activities, and especially to help clean up at the end of the day. Please call Kari Lygren at (603) 978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info. For more information about the WWW Festival, see www.mmrg.info/festival

Adds Giguere, “If lots of people can pitch in just a little, nobody will get burnt out. It’s work but it’s fun and you reap more than you sow!”  Lygren adds, “Volunteers get free admission, some time to enjoy festival events and a free festival salad or dessert. And we’ll thank all our volunteers with a lake house cookout on Sunday afternoon, September 10. We couldn’t do it without all our wonderful helpers and we want them to know how important they are to us!”

Donations and festival proceeds support MMRG’s land conservation and educational outreach work. Business sponsorships of festival events are still available; please contact Amy Gardner at amy.mmrg@gmail.com or call 603-473-2020. MMRG extends thanks to its major sponsors: Carl Siemon, the Hays-Dombrower Family, and the Wyatt Family. The Siemon Company and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust generously underwrite the festival by matching sponsorship donations up to $20,000.

 

Amy Gardner and sons helping

Amy Gardner’s sons take a break

Sheehan Lygren and volunteers planting permaculture gardens at Branch Hill farm

Volunteers planting

Grand Opening of Trails in Milton

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:  June 7, 2017

It’s not often that the town of Milton has a grand opening event and the one held on a Saturday morning in mid-May wasn’t your typical store or restaurant opening but was titled ‘Grand Opening of Plummers Ridge Forest and Farms Hiking Trails’. The event was extremely popular, with over 80 attendees packing the yard of the NH Farm Museum, which offered a staging area for celebratory remarks and complimentary food.  After tasting cider donuts from McKenzie’s Farm, participants headed out on some of the newly-blazed trails, starting at the new Branch Hill Farm trailhead kiosk just across the road (White Mountain Highway / Route 125), then returned for a hearty chili lunch

Almost seven miles of trails meander through 400 managed acres of forests and fields and along the Branch River, connecting the adjacent Plummers Ridge lands of Branch Hill Farm, McKenzie’s Farm and the New Hampshire Farm Museum. To keep the hiking parties of manageable size, Cynthia Wyatt and Kari Lygren of Branch Hill Farm each guided a subset of participants along a different trail loop, Mark Foynes of the NH Farm Museum took a group on a tour of Farm Museum trails, and forester Charlie Moreno of Moreno Forestry Associates led the largest group. He showed hikers the new scenic overlooks on a trail following the Branch River, while stopping en route to talk about forestry practices recently implemented at Branch Hill Farm to improve the forest quality and wildlife habitat.

One of Moreno’s first stops was at the ‘Tree Cookies’ sign, on which are affixed several thin slices, resembling cookies, cut from trunks of different tree species. By counting the visible tree rings and examining their spacing, much can be learned about the conditions in which the tree grew. Tightly spaced rings indicate slow tree growth that may be characteristic of the species or else caused by detrimental conditions such as drought or over-crowding and lack of sunlight. As pointed out by Moreno, a forest of trees needs to be thinned to promote their best growth, just like any garden.

Milton Mills resident Rachel Towne was enthusiastic about the event and the new trails. “I really like to see this kind of collaboration and the Grand Opening event to celebrate and inform people about the trails was a wonderful idea,” she said.

The public is welcome to walk, snowshoe or ski these trails connecting the three privately owned farms, but asked to please stay on the trails, which have been carefully routed to protect sensitive areas such as wetlands and stream banks that could erode. Visitors are also requested to leash and clean up after pets. Multiple trail loops offering options for distance, scenery and destination are shown on a detailed map with color-coded trails and marked points of interest, including the ‘Tree Cookie’ sign, the scenic overlooks, the old Jones and Plummer Family Cemeteries, and some cellar holes. Printed maps are available at McKenzie’s Farm, the NH Farm Museum, and at the trailhead kiosk across the road from the Museum.

The event was co-sponsored by regional land trust Moose Mountains Regional Greenways. The Farms thank Eagle Scout Stephen Steer and Milton Boy Scout Troop #155 for constructing and installing trail signs and a kiosk.

 

Photo: Rachel Towne

Photo: Cyndi Paulin

Photo: Rachel Towne

Branch River Paddlers Enjoyed Fast Water

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:  June 7, 2017

Kayakers and canoeists found exceptionally high and fast-moving water in the Branch River for the annual paddle event presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (BHF/CSFCT). Approximately fifty participants made the bumpy but exciting 4-1/2 mile trip down the Branch River to the upper end of Milton Three Ponds this year, where they were transported back to the launch site in Milton for a picnic lunch prepared by Chef Gracie of Sheehan Gardens.

Before they headed out onto the river, MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren spoke to the paddlers about boating safety as well as about MMRG’s mission to conserve lands and educate the public about the value of our natural resources. Consulting forester Charlie Moreno challenged paddlers to pay attention to the abundant wildlife along the stream banks, and in particular to watch and listen for birds, which are always present in great variety and entertaining with their vibrant colors and song. At the end of the trip, Moreno collected a list of thirty bird species identified by participants, including a Barred owl that was heard hooting from the woods for the second paddle year in a row.

Also at the introduction, guest Wayne Sylvester of Three Ponds Protective Association (TPPA) mentioned the importance of the riparian (stream-side) zones along the two rivers that feed into the Three Ponds, the Branch and Salmon Falls, for ensuring the quality of the downstream lake water. (Implicit in his remarks was the fact that) forested riparian areas, like those along the Paddle route, help maintain pristine water by preventing erosion of stream banks and by filtering runoff water before it drains into the river. In addition to supporting best land use practices through monitoring for soil erosion and offering small grants for amelioration work, TPPA samples and analyzes lake water quality, performs courtesy boat inspections to monitor for invasive species that can infiltrate a lake, and is building an emergency fund to deal with a potential invasive species outbreak such as the European naiad recently discovered in Northeast Pond.

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways is a land trust serving Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. MMRG has helped conserve more than 5,000 acres in the region and holds monthly educational outreach events to inform people about the importance of its land conservation work. 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-sponsors of the Branch River Paddle: M&M Boat Storage, the Land Bank of Wolfeboro-Tuftonboro, and Access Sports Medicine of Rochester.

 

 

15th Annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival

Branch Hill Farm, 307 Applebee Rd, Milton Mills, NH

Saturday, August 12, 10 am – 3 pm

This family-friendly celebration of the natural world features fun and educational outdoor activities including hayrides to the river, rescued wild animals from Squam Lakes Science Center, fishing in the pond, a petting zoo, demonstrations of traditional rural skills, a kids’ discovery walk in the woods, guided nature walks, a permaculture garden, and much more! Rain or shine; no pets please. Presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways and Branch Hill Farm. $5/adult or $10/family. FREE for kids 12 and under. 

Photo credit: David O’Connor

Branch River paddlers enjoyed birds, learned about riparian ecology

View Original from fosters.com

MILTON MILLS — Despite forecasts of showers on Saturday morning, about 30 intrepid paddlers set forth on a 4-1/2mile scenic trip along the Branch River through lush wetlands to a pullout and picnic spot on Milton Three Ponds. The day turned pleasant and sunny for this 10th annual Branch River Paddle presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (CSFCT) and co-sponsored by M&M Boat Storage/Sunshine Acres Campground. A couple of paddle stops with nature experts provided an educational aspect to the outing.

Guest presenters Nels Liljedahl and Don Keirstead of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) parked themselves on a sand/gravel bar midway down the river and talked to passing paddlers. Liljedahl drew attention to some trees that had fallen from the opposite riverbank into the water.

 

He commented, “Such fallen trees create excellent habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms. There are many benefits to allowing these natural processes to occur.”

Keirstead pointed out how the river had changed course over time, leaving dry some sections of the sandy gravelly riverbed, which now support the rapid growth of numerous shrubs. These shrubs in turn support numerous insects and a host of birds and small animals that feed upon them.

The loose sandy nature of the river bank soils make them at risk for erosion if the stream side vegetative buffer is lost due to development. Thanks to the fact that the lands on both sides are conserved, the pristine quality of the water and scenic value of the area have been maintained. However, the Salmon Falls Watershed (including the Branch River) is one of the most endangered in the country, due to potential loss of forested areas to residential development, lending a sense of urgency to local conservation efforts.

MMRG Executive Director Virginia Long was stationed in a kayak near the mouth of the Branch River, where it widens into open wetlands dotted by islands of cattails, shrubs and a few water-tolerant trees such as silver maples. She helped participants identify various birds, including the ubiquitous red-winged blackbirds that thrive in cattail habitats and several flitting yellow warblers that tend to inhabit riparian areas. Paddlers were also delighted to see a Baltimore oriole on its hanging nest in the silver maple.

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways, a grassroots land trust serving Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro, has helped conserve more than 4,400 acres in the Moose Mountains region. For more information, go towww.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 on CSFCT, visit www.branchhillfarm.org.

 

CSFCT/Branch Hill Farm Board of Directors Annual Meeting

Several members of the CSFCT/Branch Hill Farm Board of Directors traveled from Connecticut to NH a day early for the scheduled Annual Meeting on May 19th to visit the new Plummer’s Ridge Hiking Trails at Branch Hill Farm. From left to right are Cynthia Siemon Wyatt, Managing Trustee; Thomas Costello, Board Member; Carolyn Settzo, Financial Advisor; Beverly Siemon, Board Member; Attorney Jim Strub, Secretary; and Charlie Moreno; BHF Forester.

 

Plummers Ridge Forest and Farms hiking trails open in Milton

View Original from fosters.com

MILTON — It’s not often that the town of Milton has a grand opening event and the one held on a Saturday morning in mid-May wasn’t your typical store or restaurant opening but was titled ‘Grand Opening of Plummers Ridge Forest and Farms Hiking Trails’. The event was extremely popular, with over 80 attendees packing the yard of the NH Farm Museum, which offered a staging area for celebratory remarks and complimentary food. After tasting cider donuts from McKenzie’s Farm, participants headed out on some of the newly-blazed trails, starting at the new Branch Hill Farm trailhead kiosk just across the road (White Mountain Highway / Route 125), then returned for a hearty chili lunch

Almost seven miles of trails meander through 400 managed acres of forests and fields and along the Branch River, connecting the adjacent Plummers Ridge lands of Branch Hill Farm, McKenzie’s Farm and the New Hampshire Farm Museum. To keep the hiking parties of manageable size, Cynthia Wyatt and Kari Lygren of Branch Hill Farm each guided a subset of participants along a different trail loop, Mark Foynes of the NH Farm Museum took a group on a tour of Farm Museum trails, and forester Charlie Moreno of Moreno Forestry Associates led the largest group. He showed hikers the new scenic overlooks on a trail following the Branch River, while stopping en route to talk about forestry practices recently implemented at Branch Hill Farm to improve the forest quality and wildlife habitat.

 

One of Moreno’s first stops was at the ‘Tree Cookies’ sign, on which are affixed several thin slices, resembling cookies, cut from trunks of different tree species. By counting the visible tree rings and examining their spacing, much can be learned about the conditions in which the tree grew. Tightly spaced rings indicate slow tree growth that may be characteristic of the species or else caused by detrimental conditions such as drought or over-crowding and lack of sunlight. As pointed out by Moreno, a forest of trees needs to be thinned to promote their best growth, just like any garden.

Milton Mills resident Rachel Towne was enthusiastic about the event and the new trails. “I really like to see this kind of collaboration and the Grand Opening event to celebrate and inform people about the trails was a wonderful idea,” she said.

The public is welcome to walk, snowshoe or ski these trails connecting the three privately owned farms, but asked to please stay on the trails, which have been carefully routed to protect sensitive areas such as wetlands and stream banks that could erode. Visitors are also requested to leash and clean up after pets. Multiple trail loops offering options for distance, scenery and destination are shown on a detailed map with color-coded trails and marked points of interest, including the ‘Tree Cookie’ sign, the scenic overlooks, the old Jones and Plummer Family Cemeteries, and some cellar holes. Printed maps are available at McKenzie’s Farm, the NH Farm Museum, and at the trailhead kiosk across the road from the Museum.

The event was co-sponsored by regional land trust Moose Mountains Regional Greenways. The Farms thank Eagle Scout Stephen Steer and Milton Boy Scout Troop #155 for constructing and installing trail signs and a kiosk.

 

Photo: Rachel Towne

Photo: Cyndi Paulin

UNH Thompson School student visit

UNH Thompson School Forest Technology Students visiting the Branch Hill Farm Demonstration Forest on May 11th . Branch Hill Farm Forester, Charlie Moreno pictured on the left and Professor Matt Chagnon is third from the right.

 

‘Moose Mountain RunAround’ to Benefit MMRG

Is it really possible to run on snowshoes in snow? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ and the proof will be on Saturday, January 21 at Branch Hill Farm, the new site of the 3rd annual Moose Mountain RunAround snowshoe race. The race is a benefit for Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and enthusiastic onlookers are encouraged to come cheer on the participants. Volunteers are also needed.

Snowshoe racers will traverse 4 to 5 miles of open fields, snowmobile trails and single track around the 3,000-acre Branch Hill Farm at 307 Applebee Road, Milton Mills, NH.  The snowshoe race will begin at 10 am.

The suggested donation for the race is $20 in advance and $25 on the race day. Dion Snowshoes will have loaner snowshoes available for an additional $5 on a first come first serve basis.  Racers will be eligible for prizes in standard categories. Registered walkers are also welcome to enjoy the trails. To pre-register, reserve snowshoes, or for more info, go to http://trailrnr.wix.com/moose-mountain-ss or call 603-520-8533.

Volunteers are needed in advance to help prepare the course and on the day of the race to help with set-up and tear down, serving food, parking, directing racers along the course, working the finish line, photography, and compiling results.  All registrants and volunteers receive refreshments and a custom buff. To volunteer, call MMRG Education Coordinator, Kari Lygren at 603-978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info.

The race has been created as a fundraiser for Moose Mountains Regional Greenways and takes advantage of the excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation in this region. Protecting such opportunities through conserving open space is part of the mission of MMRG, a non-profit land trust serving the towns of Wolfeboro, New Durham, Brookfield, Wakefield, Milton, Middleton and Farmington; see www.mmrg.info. MMRG is grateful to Ilex Wetlands Consultants and Wolfeboro Oil for sponsoring the event and Beveridge’s Beer and Soap, Nordic Skier, and The Works Café for donating prizes and food. 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.branchhillfarm.org.

 

Special Thanks from Milton Resident

The Siemon Family appreciates this expression of thanks from a resident of Milton, NH, recently posted on Moose Mountains Regional Greenways Facebook page.  Our family is always happy to hear from folks who enjoy recreating on our conserved properties.

New Hampshire Fish and Game has just reminded the public of the need to thank private landowners for public access to their lands for recreational opportunities. Without their generosity, the Granite State would indeed be a far poorer place to live.

For my wife and me, access to Branch Hill Farm is especially important – it is essential for making Milton livable for us. So thank you, Cynthia Siemon Wyatt  and the rest of your family, for this marvelous gift that your father established and you manage so well!

http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/newsroom/news.html?news=547

Thank you, and please accept our warmest wishes to you and your family for a happy holiday season!

Charlie