By Drew Parker and Alaina Rogers, Nature Groupie Summer '18 Interns. Drew and Alaina are both Environmental Conservation and Sustainability majors at the University of New Hampshire.
We have had an incredible summer working with Nature Groupie and their partners in Southern New Hampshire. Here is a recap of our last few weeks and thanks to all those who made it possible.
Easement Monitoring in Rockingham
At the start of August, we partnered with the Rockingham County Conservation District. The Conservation District’s mission is to help preserve farmland, maintain or improve soil and water quality, and serve as a local resource for farmers and county landowners regarding conservation. We got right to work with the office, monitoring conservation easements on agricultural lands. This was an awesome experience for us as we got to explore the backroads and backyards of Rockingham County, NH; areas where we would never normally travel.
To monitor a conservation easement requires walking around the boundary of the property and looking for violations, usually from the general public or neighbors, who might not understand that this large parcel of field or woods is not for dumping their trash or cruising around on off-road vehicles. We bush-whacked through bogs, swamps, wetlands, dense underbrush, and along hayfields, cutting our way through heat and humidity so thick at times it felt like we could drink the air.
Lucky for us, several of the farms we visited had farm stands and we would get to go in, soaked in bog water and dripping sweat, to try out the local produce and enjoy the A/C for a few minutes. It might seem like a strange combination, but apple cider donuts and a bottle of cold chocolate milk were a welcome treat on sweltering August days.
For our last week of our Nature Groupie internship, we had the privilege of working with Phil Auger from SELT again. Our goal was to finish two bridges at Stonehouse Pond in Barrington, NH, to complete a new trail on the property. For bigger projects like these, Phil gathers a larger group of volunteers and this time, employees of the company NEMO came to help. NEMO is an outdoor gear company based in Dover, NH, and they were extremely helpful with our bridge building project.
It was amazing to see this pile of lumber...
...turn into a sturdy, finished bridge in a matter of hours.
In one day, we were able to build a 16-foot bridge, a 20-foot bridge, clear a new trail, and remove a decaying bog bridge. It was incredible!
As the summer is drawing to a close, we are saying good-bye to our internship with Nature Groupie. It was an amazing summer, brimming with new experiences like working with cottontails and seagulls. We’ve learned a load of practical skills, from using an impact driver to identifying trees from their bark, to orienteering. We want to thank our fellow intern, Diane DeVries, for taking amazing on-the-job pictures of us, Malin Clyde, our supervisor, for putting together an adventurous summer full of unique opportunities, and the NH Charitable Foundation for making this internship possible.
If you are intersted in some Nature Groupie gear like we are wearing here, check out the store here!