After 14 years as an invaluable member of the Monadnock Conservancy team, Rick Brackett has left the Conservancy to take a new job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We are a little sad, and a lot proud, that Rick is advancing his career in such an important way. So, before the sun sets on one of our most dedicated, knowledgeable, and passionate team members, we wanted to share a little bit of what we love about Rick.
In 2008, Rick, then a graduate student at Antioch University New England, joined the Conservancy as an intern. His first assignment was a dual role of supporting both our stewardship program and our Monadnock Community Conservation Partnership (MCCP), a program that aided Monadnock-region communities in identifying consensus-based conservation priorities. He continued in those roles in 2009 as an AmeriCorps volunteer, then, seeing that he wouldn’t leave, it was a no-brainer for us to make Rick a full-time employee in 2010. Throughout this time, Rick’s specialized skills in Geographic Information Systems (GIS, a form of computer mapping and analysis) helped numerous towns to better understand what makes their land base special and worthy of protection.
His accomplishments over the past 14 years are too many to list, but here are a few highlights: Rick led an effort in Dublin, NH to assess the conservation value of every single property in town; he worked with numerous Conservancy partners to design and launch a multi-year research project studying the dynamics of forest regeneration, deer browsing (eating plants and young trees), and the reintroduction of blight-resistant American chestnut trees at our Maynard Forest in Gilsum; and he developed trail networks, trailheads, and associated public-access improvements at the Winchester Learning Center and at Conservancy properties in Jaffrey, Gilsum, Marlow, Peterborough, Keene, Chesterfield, and Fitzwilliam.
In 2013, Rick was promoted to another dual role of managing both the properties the Conservancy owns and our GIS mapping technologies. Then, in 2016, after the departure of a key member of the stewardship staff, Rick temporarily assumed responsibility for all Conservancy-owned land and conservation easements, performing as one person a job now covered by three. He might have lost some sleep, but he never complained and always came through when we needed him.
Besides being a knowledgeable and hardworking member of the team, Rick is also a leader. To forge bonds between the Conservancy and the hunting and fishing community, for two winters he organized a free ice-fishing day, providing equipment and instruction to adults and children interested in the sport. He led countless hikes, and, although he does not like public speaking, he captivated many an audience with his knowledge and stories. He mentored new employees, volunteers, and interns, and he became a leader in our efforts to embrace the values of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, believing that a connection to and love of the land can come in many forms.