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Congratulations to our 2022 Conservation Award Winners!

Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2022
— eNews
Amanda Littleton receiving a 2022 Conservation Award
Norman Hassel receiving a 2022 Conservation Award

On Saturday, the 10th of September, the Monadnock Conservancy held its 32nd Annual Celebration at the Shattuck Golf Course in Jaffrey. The Annual Celebration is an opportunity 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 a 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 recapped key moments of the past year, including the conservation of the Wildwood, land owned by Kroka Expeditions, and the Mattabeseck Wildlife Corridor. Presenting maps and photographs, Ryan also outlined the organization's strategic projects and initiatives for 2023. 

Following Ryan's presentation, the 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 Conservancy land manager Rick Brackett to Norman Hassel. Norman is a trail steward for the Conservancy's Calhoun Family Forest and has demonstrated a consistent willingness to go above and beyond for the organization. Norman started volunteering with Conservancy in 2016 by adopting a long and remote section of the Wantastiquet-to-Monadnock Trail. He then transitioned to the Calhoun Family Forest trails despite a knee injury. Volunteers are normally tasked with quarterly monitoring of trails, but Norman goes monthly, and he usually doesn't have much to report because he takes care of problems like downed branches, overgrown brush, and litter on his own. He is a model volunteer, and we are lucky to have him. 

Finally, the 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.