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Congratulations to our 2022 Conservation Award Winners!

Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2022
— eNews

On Saturday, the 10th of September, Monadnock Conservancy held its 32nd Annual Celebration at the Shattuck Gold Course in Jaffrey. The annual celebration is a night to gather with our supporters, review the year, celebrate successes, and discuss land conservation and the environment. 

President Ryan Owens of the Monadnock Conservancy spoke first on the growing importance of land conservation in a changing climate. "Climate scientists have come to recognize that, alongside energy and transportation reforms, so-called 'natural climate solutions' can and must be huge part of combating climate change. Natural climate solutions are conservation, restoration and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions. Simply put, it is allowing or helping nature to do what it does best. It’s like an engineer trying to invent a machine that sucks carbon out of the air, only to realize that machine already exists: a tree. So, while we at the Conservancy are not about to invent the next great electric car battery, conservation and improved land management are squarely in our wheelhouse."

Ryan then presented the conservancy's financial position and key moments of the past year, including the conservation of the Wildwood, Kroka Expeditions, and the Mattabeseck Wildlife Corridor. Presenting maps and selection tools, Ryan also outlined the organization's strategic priorities for 2023. 

Following Ryan's presentation, Monadnock Conservancy gave out the 2022 Conservation Awards. The first award, the Abe Wolfe Land Protection Award was presented to Amanda Littleton. This award honors individuals, groups, or organizations that demonstrate outstanding leadership in land protection in the Monadnock region. 

Amanda is one such leader. As the District Manager for the Cheshire County Conservation District, Amanda works with farmers in the region to improve on-farm sustainability and profitability. Her approach to grant writing has opened new distribution pathways for local farm products, created a farm equipment rental program to bring down up front costs, and bolstered partnerships to conserve important agricultural and forest land.  

The Volunteer of the Year was next and presented by land manager Rick Brackett to Mr. Norman Hassel. Norman is a trail steward for the Monadnock Conservancy's Calhoun Family Forest Trails and has demonstrated a consistent willingness to go above and beyond for the conservancy. Norman started volunteering with Monadnock Conservancy in 2016 by adopting a long and remote section of the Wantastiquet to Monadnock Trail. He transitioned to the Calhoun Family Forest trails even after a knee injury. Volunteers are normally tasked with quarterly monitoring of trails. Norman goes monthly, and usually doesn't have much to report because he takes care of problems like downed branches, brush growing in, and litter on his own. He is a model volunteer and we are lucky to have him. 

Finally, Monadnock Conservancy was honored to be joined by NHPR Climate Reporter Mara Hoplamazian. Mara shared their experiences as a new climate reporter for NHPR and how those experiences highlighted the reality of climate change and its impact on this region. Mara also spoke about the more hopeful aspects of their work.