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2021 Conservation Awards

Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2021
— eNews
John Kondos and Ben Haubrich

Two local conservationists were honored recently for their decades of dedicated work at our 32nd Annual Celebration in mid-September. Congratulations to John “Jack” Kondos of Spofford (at left in photo), who was named the 2021 Volunteer of the Year, and Ben Haubrich of Francestown (at right), who received the Abe Wolfe Land Protection Award.

Volunteer of the Year

“I am really honored and grateful for the opportunity to participate in the legacy of the Monadnock Conservancy’s land conservation efforts,” Kondos said, in accepting the award.

Kondos has been volunteering for the Conservancy since 2006 as a land steward, which means visiting and walking the boundaries of conserved properties to document any natural or man-made changes in the land. He monitors three to five places each year.

“I searched through our records and, other than many complete and on-time monitoring reports, there isn’t much trace of him. This speaks to his steady dependable nature. He simply completes his assignments,” said Richard Pendleton, stewardship coordinator for the Conservancy. “He’s also helped us with trail building, and he volunteers with the Friends of Pisgah, an organization that supports the State of New Hampshire in managing Pisgah State Park.”

“We are fortunate to have Jack contributing his time and talents to the Monadnock region’s environment. Thank you!” Pendleton concluded.

Kondos was presented with a framed photo as his award, an image of a rocky slope at a conserved property in Hinsdale, which he monitored for many years. The very steep, south-facing slope is excellent habitat for bobcats and reptiles, but it is extremely challenging to hike.

Land Protection Award

“This is not an award that we give out every year, but this year we found somebody we thought really deserved it,” said Alex Metzger, stewardship director for the Conservancy.

“Ben Haubrich seems to be everywhere and seems to have worked with everyone [in the conservation world]; he’s held just about every volunteer position you can for a land trust.”

More than that, he is honored with this award for his leadership — organizing people, chairing committees, leading field trips, and taking on additional assignments.

“He doesn’t just do the work and go home. You can tell that this region is his home, and that’s how he treats it,” Metzger said.

Haubrich’s dedication to conservation and caring for his community extends well beyond the Conservancy. He retired from the New Hampshire Division of Parks & Recreation after a 32-year career serving as park manager (Monadnock State Park), region supervisor, and director of recreation services (which included administering the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund in New Hampshire). He volunteers with the Piscataquog Land Conservancy, the Harris Center for Conservation Education, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the Francestown Conservation Commission, and the New Hampshire Coverts program. He also serves as a board member and volunteer land manager for the Francestown Land Trust, tending the trust’s 580-acre Rand Brook Forest and other conserved properties.

“I want to thank the Monadnock Conservancy for this recognition, but more than that I’d want to thank the Monadnock Conservancy for all that they do to protect our future — we are so lucky in this region to have so much land protected,” said Haubrich as he accepted his award, a framed photo of Mount Monadnock as seen from Peterborough.